Thomas Abercrombie and Alison Wright

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The lives of women is a constant theme in Alison Wright’s work. Her work as a humanitarian photographer has brought her to communities where the so-called ‘modern’ world has barely infiltrated, places where traditional roles and rituals are the scaffolding of daily life. Wright, a fiercely independent American photojournalist, is drawn to the young women and girls of these communities. With her lens she documents how they navigate the competing demands of modern and traditional life and thrive.

Decades earlier, Thomas Abercrombie chronicled the changing role of women in the Muslim world in the 1960s. At the time, Abercrombie felt that women were gaining more freedom, all of which was retracted by the 1970s. Born in 1930 in Minnesota, Abercrombie had a typical American childhood. His extensive coverage of the Middle East first exposed him to the tenets of Islam, which deeply resonated with him. Eventually he converted to Islam and made Hajj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. For photographers Alison Wright and Thomas Abercrombie, shifting gender roles in evolving or endangered cultures are a driving theme in their body of work.