Simona Ghizzoni

Afterdark: Consequences of War on Women in the Gaza Strip

[ EPF 2012 RUNNER UP ]


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. To me it was a big surprise, 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 lives, 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 contest 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 conditions under Hamas government, heading towards an effective gender separation.
Through the stories of the women I met, I am 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.
The funding of this project would help me return to the Gaza Strip on a regular basis for the next year, since I’m planning to follow up with the stories of five of the women I met on my first trip, all of them suffering both physically and psychologically from the traumas they experienced during the war. It would also allow me to start the production of a short documentary about their everyday lives in Gaza, related to the development of the social and political situation in the Strip.




Simona Ghizzoni was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy, in 1977.
She studied with Giorgia Fiorio in  Reflexions Masterclass and attended the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass.
In 2006  she tied for first prize at the FNAC photo contest, with the work “Scars”, an essay on Sarajevo ten years after the end of the war.
From 2006 to 2010 she worked on the project “Odd Days”, about Eating Disoders.
Awarded with  the 3rd  prize single portrait at World Press Photo 2008 and PHotoEspaña Ojodepez Award for Human Values in 2009.
Since 2010 she began a long term project about the consequences of war on women’s lives, working on  Iraqi refugees in Jordan, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and in Western Sahara, thanks to The Aftermath Project.
With the project “Afterdark”, about the condition of female victims of Cast Lead operation in the Gaza Strip, she was awarded with the 3rd  prize Contemporary Isssues at World Press Photo 2012.


12 thoughts on “Simona Ghizzoni – Afterdark: Consequences of War on Women in the Gaza Strip”

  1. Too much post processing for my taste, but heavy post work is the current esthetic, and I acknowledge old guys like me have old ways.

  2. I have to agree with Jim here.

    Congratulations Simona, this topic is very important to get out there, and there are some wonderful images here. However I must say I feel a bit manipulated by the manipulation.

  3. I guess I pretty much agree with most of what was written above, except as an old guy I still strive to learn and appreciate new ways. Anyway, there are what strike me as some powerful images here, particularly #’s 1, 2, 5, 8, 16 and 17 and I do get the idea that by making them unnaturally dark, the artist is making a statement and trying to force us to either move on and not look at the picture at all or to peer deeper into it and maybe think a little more about it. Yet, I think, for me, the darkness of the situation would come through even stronger without the artificial, highlight suffocating, layer placed on top of them.

    Then again, maybe I am being like Jim after all, clinging to my old ways of viewing and thinking, and this effect truly is brilliant after all.

    I don’t think so (though I do think some of the photos brilliant at their core), but maybe.

  4. Micaël Martel

    Very strong essay, both the subject and the images. Yes there is a lot of post-process in there but I think it actually bring a very interesting dimension to this work. I have to say that if well done, post-processing really helps bringing a new look on documentary photography. Although this essay would have been as strong as it is now without the post-process, which is a proof of how good it is.

  5. works well for me there is a great potential of extending……….. hopefully this is done with the minimum support from linear style of text.

  6. Documentary Photography at its best, very good story and certainly superior to most of the disconcerting and introspective stuff that gets published in Burn -not that this has to be necessarily bad, but really, I can relate to (and understand) this story.

    About the post-processing… It might be a bit overdone and in my opinion, all of this would have been even better in black and white. Still, I like it.

  7. Simona Ghizzoni and I are now working on a project about violence against Saharawi women. Thanks to The Aftermath Project (a special grant Simona won last year) we traveled in Western Sahara and Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria to collect women stories. Now we’re doing a crowdfunding campaign to be able to produce a documentary, the campaign will end on November 22. Please, have a look and (if you like the project) support us at this website:
    Thank you
    Emanuela Zuccalà, journalist,

  8. Pingback: Features and Essays | 10 July 2012

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