Freelance photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair has won the 2007 UNICEF photo of the year award for her striking portrait of a 40-year-man and his 11-year-old bride in Afghanistan.
Sinclair was featured prominently in the 2004 POV documentary, War Feels Like War, which documented the lives of reporters and photographers who circumvented military media control to get access to the real Iraq War. We interviewed Sinclair on the POV website later that year to find out more about her work.
Since 2004, Sinclair has continued to live and work in the Middle East, based out of Beirut, Lebanon. The winning picture came out of a series on child brides that Sinclair shot in Afghanistan, Nepal and Ethiopia. According to the UNICEF site:
During her stay in Afghanistan, it consistently struck American photographer Stephanie Sinclair how many young girls are married to much older men. She decided to raise awareness about this topic with her pictures. Particularly as the official minimum age for brides in Afghanistan is sixteen and it is therefore illegal to marry children.
Early marriages are not only a problem in Afghanistan: worldwide there are about 51 million girls aged between 15 and 19 years who are forced into marriage. The youngest brides live in the Indian state of Rajasthan, where 15 percent of all wives are not even 10 years old when they are married. Child marriages are a reaction to extreme poverty and mainly take place in Asian and African regions where poor families see their daughters as a burden and as second-class citizens. (link)