Tag Archives: MediaStorm

Interview with Walter Astrada, photojournalist

17 Oct

In his desire to show through photography that “Violence against women is not only the most widespread example of a human rights violation, but probably the least evident,” (more here) three times World Press Photo winner Walter Astrada has already documented femicide in Guatemala and sexual violence in Eastern Congo.   His latest project is ‘Undesired’, a multimedia documentary funded by the Alexia Foundation and produced by MediaStorm.  Watch the full video, as well as his commentary, by clicking the image below:

Along with an incredible series of photos, the film explores the economic pressure for women to give birth to boys in India, and the subsequent abortion, neglect and murder of girls and women.  It is a piece about people who are undesired and denied social worth and freedom from conception, and the inspiring women who refuse to comply.

After watching the film transfixed and wondering what had happened to the feminist I used to be, I contacted Walter.  He kindly found time to chat to me, put up with my increasingly embarrassing Spanish and answer a few questions.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a photographer?

When I was thirteen I saw a photojournalism exhibition in Argentina and decided that’s what I want to do when I grow up.  After I finished secondary school I started studying photography, and about two and a half years later started work for an Argentinian daily newspaper.

photo: Walter Astrada

Did you always want to focus on human rights?

When I worked for the newspaper, my photos were of wide-ranging, general subjects.  But I wanted to do more photo stories, so after about three years at the paper I quit, went travelling and started working for an agency, which meant I could photograph more of what I was interested in.  I was lucky to start working for AP, but I also wanted to do projects that were more personal, so I quit again and I started working as free lancer and doing assignments for AFP, first in Haiti and later in Eastern Africa.  I actually still work as a freelancer, represented by Reportage by Getty Images.

What made an Argentine male photographer decide to document violence against women in India?

To answer that, I’ll ask you a question first:  If my project had been on Child Labour, would you have asked me the same question?  People often ask me that, and my answer is always ‘Why not?’  I see no contradiction in being a man and wanting to document such an important subject. Continue reading