I made this picture of a Wakhi grandmother harvesting barley in Chipursan Valley, northern Pakistan. This fertile valley region is home to the Wakhi people – prosperous, well educated, and self-sufficient farmers of barley, potatoes, vegetables, meat and dairy, with a profitable export market for disease-free seed potatoes.
I got up at dawn to meet Bibi and photograph her working. She works six days a week from dawn to dusk and I was sore and exhausted long before her day ended from following her around.
Because the Wakhi are Ismaili Muslims – a branch of Shia Islam whose Imam is His Highness the Aga Khan – I was allowed to photograph their women. Among the Ismailis, women are free, educated, independent and unveiled. Ismailis do not practice gender segregation and the women are encouraged to participate in all social and political affairs.