58 fotografías de Paula Allen que grafican la incansable búsqueda de verdad y justicia de las mujeres de la Agrupación de familiares de detenidos desaparecidos y ejecutados políticos de Calama.
“La primera vez que me interné en el desierto de Atacama junto a las mujeres de Calama fue la Navidad de 1989. Llevando palas y bolsas plásticas, y protegiendo nuestros rostros del viento, seis mujeres nos desplazábamos lentamente por el extenso, árido terreno. Era ese extraño momento antes del crepúsculo en que el calor comienza a atenuarse, se instala el frío y el cielo parece fundirse con el horizonte. Yo había llegado ahí para fotografiar a estas mujeres que buscaban los restos de veintiséis hombres ejecutados, pero pronto me vi ayudándolas a cavar entre foto y foto. Quería encontrar un cuerpo, ayudar a aliviar el dolor de al menos una de esas mujeres, pero al mismo tiempo temía que mis dedos llegaran realmente a tocar un hueso” testimonio de Paula Allen.
Paula Allen is a social documentary photographer. She began her career, 30 years ago, photographing nonviolent revolutions such as the European nuclear disarmament movement, focusing on Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in England and the Solidarity movement in Poland. She has also photographed in the war zones of Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Angola and Afghanistan. Her work has been published in numerous magazines: The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Paris Match, The London Independent Magazine, Art in America, O:The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, Glamour, Photo District News, and London Sunday Times Magazine among others.
Ms. Allen traveled for Amnesty International to Chechen refugee camps in the Russian Federation (November 2001) and to Southeast Asia (March 2005) to document women who were forced to work as sex slaves by the Japanese Military during WWII. For Refugees International, she traveled to Afghanistan (2002) and Angola (2003). She has worked extensively with V-Day, the movement to end violence against women, traveling to Kenya to document the resistance movement to female genital mutilation (March 2002 – August 2011); to Juarez, Mexico to document the murders of women factory workers (February 2004 – June 2007); to Haiti to support the building of a ëSafe Houseí for women (April 2007 – March 2010); and the Democratic Republic of Congo (for V-Day and UNICEF) to document the genocide of women and girls and the building of a community called ìThe City of Joyî (May 2007 – February 2013). For International Medical Corp she has photographed the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi (October 2005) and the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti (June 2010). Her images from all these assignments have been used in human rights campaigns throughout the world. Ms. Allenís photographs from Africa were used as French postage stamps (2010) to bring attention to stopping violence against women around the world.
In June 2013, Ms. Allen published a second addition of her book Flores en el Desierto/Flowers in the Desert (University Press of Florida) which tells the story of a group of women in the northern desert of Chile as they searched for 17 years for their relatives who were ìdisappearedî after the 1973 coup. A book tour of the eastern United States, with Victoria Saavedra from Calama, Chile is planned for September 2013. After, the book will be launched in October by Amnesty International in Santiago and by the women of Calama on the 40th anniversary of the executions of their loved ones.
Other work includes: a book project Homecomings, which follows three families recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and an exhibit The Betrayal of Srebrenica, produced by historian Lisa DiCaprio, which has been shown at universities throughout the United States and at the International Association of Genocide Scholars in Sarajevo.
In 2011, Ms. Allen began working with a group of 200 remarkable women in a tent camp in Haiti (OFEDA, women devoted to action) and has been supporting them on starting multiple creative businesses. Their products can viewed and purchased at www.ofeda.com.
Paula Allen has lectured nationally and internationally on topics such as: women around the world demanding justice, the Democratic Republic of Congo, women survivors of sexual violence breaking silence, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, women living in a maximum security prison, the power of image and intimacy, and the women of Calama, Chile searching for their disappeared relatives. These talks have taken place at institutions such as Columbia University, New York University, University of Massachusetts, Washington and Lee University, Kansas State University, Old Dominion University, Lafayette College, Wheaton College, University of Montana, Cottey College, Sussex University, University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, University of Chile and Central Florida University.
Ms. Allen presently teaches a course at the International Center of Photography in New York City called, Why Am I Photojournalist?
She is represented by Speaking Matters, New York at www.speakingmatters.org.