Continuing to highlight the participating photographers in the 2013 Reportage Festival Projections, the Reportage Team would like to introduce… Simona Ghizzoni who will be showing her work ‘After Dark’ at this year’s Festival.
‘ I reached the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the first time in 2010, on assignement with a friend journalist, to document the condition of palestinian women in the Gaza Strip. At that time, we had the access to the Gaza Strip denied by the Israeli Government. So, I decided to spend a couple of months in Jerusalem and the West Bank in order to see and understand more of the social and political situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories. That was the beginning of my long-term project about the consequences of war on women’s life, Afterdark.
A few months later I got the permission to enter the Gaza Strip, where I stayed as a whole around three months., documenting the aftermath of Cast Lead Operation (ended in 2009) and the life of women in the extremely complex context of the Strip.
Women in Gaza suffer of a double pressure: the isolation from the outside world imposed by Israeli blockade, with all the economical, physical and psychological consequences, and, on the other hand, the worsening of women’s human rights condition under Hamas government, heading towards an effective gender separation.
The latest trip was in December and January 2012-13 right after the Operation Pillar of Defense on the Gaza Strip (14 to 21 November 2012). During the course of the operation, the IDF struck more than 1,500 sites in the Gaza Strip, including rocket launchpads and cache sites, Hamas command posts, the Hamas run interior ministry and other government buildings, as well as dozens of houses and apartment blocks. More than 180 Palestinians died in the operation, with between 40 and 103 of them being civilians. An additional 1,200-1,300 Palestinians were injured. Civilians paid the highest toll during this war, especially women and children who didn’t recover yet from the traumas of Cast Lead Operation (2008-2009).
Through the stories of the women I met, I’m trying to understand what actually happens when a military operation is declared “a success”, how is the return to normality of life, and which normality can be actually restored, in order to avoid to forget the real human toll of any war. ‘
– Simona Ghizzoni
Simona Ghizzoni is an Italian photographer based in Rome, Italy
Her work ‘After Dark’ won second prize for the Emerging Photographer Grant from Burn Magazine and Magnum.