I was never attracted to conflict per se. It’s not like I woke up and said, “I want to be a war photographer.” It was never like that. For example, I was living in India in 2000 and I had a roommate at the time. I was renting a room from the Dow Jones Bureau Chief, Ed Lane. He came back from a trip to Afghanistan and he said, “You’re a woman and you care about women’s issues, why don’t you go to Afghanistan and photograph women living under the Taliban?” And I thought, “Yeah, you’re absolutely right. That’s exactly what I should do.” It never dawned on me that I should be scared because I thought, “My intentions are pure. I’m literally going to speak to women about how they feel.” And I got a visa, so I went with permission.
I went, and so it was more curiosity. That was the first time that I went into one of those situations, and it was fine. And then, after September 11th, it made sense to go back because I had all this experience in the region. So I went to Pakistan right after September 11th and then I ended up going under cover at the fall of the Taliban in Kandahar. And then, by the time the Iraq War was on the horizon, I just thought, “Okay. Well of course I’m going to go there because I’ve already been in Afghanistan and this seems to be a continuation of what’s happening in my generation.” So I went.
So before I knew it, I was going from conflict to conflict. But it wasn’t really war, it was more the humanitarian issues, the human rights abuses — being there to bear witness to everything that’s happening, and providing a document for people back at home who didn’t have access to these places.