In March 2004, when award-winning photographer Lana Šlezić went on assignment to Afghanistan from her native Canada, she never dreamed she would stay for two years. At the time she believed that since the ousting of the suffocating Taliban in 2001, Afghan women and girls were living under considarably less oppressive conditions. She soon discovered that life for Afghan women was not as she expected and felt compelled to stay and document their story. With the help of a young female Aghan as her friend and translator, Šlezić photographed women all over the country. Over endless cups of tea in sitting rooms from city to village, she learned that Afghan women are still living in a harrowingly oppressive society where forced marriage, domestic violence, honor killings, and an unpalatable lack of freedom still exist. Even today many are not allowed to leave their houses or go to school, and the burka remains a common sight on the dusty streets of the war-torn country. Forsaken is a collection of photographs and vignettes that documents Šlezić’s journey over the two-year period during which she lived and worked in Afghanistan.
Lana Šlezić was born in 1973 in Toronto, Canada to Croatian parents. She was selected for the World Press Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gold National Magazine Award of Canada for Photojournalism (2005), the International Photography Award for an editorial feature story (United States, 2006), and the Luis Valtuena Humanitarian Photography Award (Spain, 2007). Forsaken is her first book.