What do photographs of women, taken by women, look like? In honor of International Women’s Day, March 8, seven female National Geographic photographers shared an image they took that revealed a woman’s experience. In a world where gender equality is still elusive, these photographs tell stories of hope, bravery, hardship, and survival.
Philomene was a schoolgirl in a small town called Beauchamps in the barren northwest of Haiti, where nothing grows except short mesquite trees. It is one of the largest charcoal-producing areas, and the overwhelming deforestation creates an impoverished landscape that beats people down. I photographed Philomene in 1988. By now she is a grown woman. In this photograph of her I see the great spirit and strength of the Haitian people. In Philomene’s face shines the pride in her country’s singular history as the first black republic in the world born of a successful slave revolt. She loved school and had determination to learn. I loved her dress, the tuft of her hair, and an air of possibility that surrounded her.