This Ugandan Photographer Is Challenging the Way the World Sees Women With Disabilities BY SARAH SPELLINGS / VOGUE

Esther Ruth Mbabazi. This work is supported and produced by the Magnum Foundation and American Jewish World Service. / Vogue

“As a documentary photographer, Esther Ruth Mbabazi is tasked with sharing an unflinching look at reality, whether she’s turning her lens on the objects South Sudanese refugees brought with them to northern Uganda or children in the country affected by a mysterious disease known as nodding syndrome. The Kampala-based photographer is known for capturing her fellow Ugandans as well as the changing political, social, and economic conditions on the continent. She’s often tackling difficult public health subjects, like giving birth in rural areas after the government banned traditional midwives. Made possible by the Magnum Foundation and the American Jewish World Service, her latest project brings a collaborative focus to her work. With the help of the Gulu for Women With Disabilities Union (GUWODU) in Gulu, Uganda, she partnered with seven women on a portrait series that was a celebration of individuality and personal expression “I was tired of the images I was seeing out there, especially here in Uganda, where [people with disabilities] are robbed of their personalities,” said Mbabazi. “They’re photographed as people who can’t do anything. I didn’t want my images to look like that.” ”

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