WATCH | How this photographer is setting the record straight about women in Somalia

In Somalia, local photographer Fardosa Hussein stands out.

“Photography isn’t a career many Somali women find themselves pursuing, and yet here I am,” Hussein says.

There’s a common theme in her work – people are content. But images of her home country in mainstream media have painted a narrative of unrest and suffering.

“I want people to imagine Somalia outside of that lens,” Hussein says.

In a nation that has endured civil war, people are limited to a singular perception of both the place and its citizens. Hussein’s work is remedying this by focusing on women’s stories.

A journalism graduate, her decision to pursue a career in media was fuelled by the fact that it’s a typically male-dominated industry.

Social and cultural structures hinder upliftment, and with many narratives reported from a man’s perspective, women’s voices and issues are often sidelined.

“Male storytellers don’t want to go out and cover stories about women,” Hussein says.

For this reason, she decided to photograph women and give them the visibility they’ve been longing for.

Through this cathartic process of self-expression, Hussein captures a truthful image of life in Somalia.

“These women that I interview are telling their stories for the first time, and it’s a privilege for both ends because we are making each other feel like we belong,” Hussein says.


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Journeying from markets to coastlines, she documents the joy of her nation and people’s resilience.

More than anything, Hussein hopes audiences will recognise her country as any other – rich in history, culture, and community.

“Somalia is a place that’s healing and it’s important to capture the positivity in this process,” she says.

“I find that telling everyday life stories and sharing it with people all over the world can help them relate with normal people in this normal place called Somalia.”

Footage and images by Fardosa Hussein were used in the creation of this film.