Shots From the Dark: Life as a Photographer in a Conflict Zone

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Shots From the Dark: Life as a Photographer in a Conflict Zone
From Afghanistan to Sierra Leone, conflict photographer Maria de la Guardia finds beauty and purpose in the misunderstood corners of the world (read about her story here). Scroll through the following images to see images from her life on the ground.
By Ashlea Halpern, AFAR Contributor
Maria de la Guardia
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    Shots from the Dark: Life as a Photographer in a Conflict Zone
    Images from Maria de la Guardia's life in the world's most remote and misunderstood places.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Afghanistan
    Afghans enjoy an early summer afternoon at the amusement parks on Lake Qarga, just outside of Kabul.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Afghanistan
    Afghan men drunk on “forbidden” vodka enjoy their Sunday (Holy Day) on Lake Qarga, just outside Kabul. This is a popular place for families and groups of men to visit on the weekend.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Syria
    Two Syrian brothers lay side by side while their sister greets guests in the courtyard. It is difficult to tell at first, but the boy on the right lost his leg after stepping on a landmine.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Iraq
    Men seek shelter under a water tanker, having recently fled Mosul from ISIS. During Ramadan, temperatures reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Sierra Leone
    A young girl looks up during prayer in Kambia, Sierra Leone. Religious leaders led the fight against Ebola, incorporating messages into their teachings, as they were one of the only sources the population would trust.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Sierra Leone
    A member of a Christian congregation in Kambia.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Mexico
    A Mexican flag waves at a protest rally in Mexico City for the missing 43 Ayotzinapa students assumed killed by the police.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Afghanistan
    Three Afghan boys play in rural Bamyan province, an area experiencing food insecurity due to failed crops. This is a result of climate change and overusing natural resources.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Mongolia
    On the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a boy turns himself into a superhero—using the national flag as a cape and a spring mattress to propel himself.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Bangladesh
    A girl no more than 15 years old is prepared for her arranged wedding in a stateless slum community in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Afghanistan
    Afghan women gather at dusk outside of a typical naan stall in Takhar province. It is common to see them begging from customers.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Yemen
    The Yemeni city of Aden comes to life at night. Food stalls, markets and street stalls line the roadsides as people and workers swarm between slow-moving cars.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Yemen
    A young Yemeni girl in a decorative dress meant for special occasions stands barefoot on a back street in Aden. The Houthi destroyed much of the area.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Afghanistan
    An Afghan tailor sits in the doorway of his shop near Daykundi province, with two jackets hung on display.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Kenya
    An orphan named Martha takes a swim in the Indian Ocean to cool off from the scorching Kenyan heat.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Yemen
    A Yemeni man orders food from a roadside stall in Aden, with the rubble of apartment buildings behind him, shelled by Houthi tanks.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Yemen
    A young Yemeni boy with severe wounds is being treated at a Red Cross hospital in Aden.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Iraq
    An Iraqi girl, having fled ISIS in Mosul, waits with hundreds of others to register with the UN’s refugee agency.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Mexico
    Many indigenous tribes marched in Mexico City, in solidarity with those protesting the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students. They performed traditional rituals as the parents gathered on a nearby stage to speak out.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Bangladesh
    A stateless girl, part of the Biharis ethnic minority in Dhaka, Bangladesh, sits on the bed of the one-room shack she shares with her family in the densely populated slum.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Afghanistan
    Two Afghan women walk past an area in Bamyan province. It was destroyed by the Taliban decades ago.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Afghanistan
    An Afghan man smokes beside a now-landmark tank. It was left by the Russians on the road from Kabul to Jalalabad.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Jordan
    Parents who are all Syrian refugees, now living in Jordan, document their children’s preschool graduation with absolute pride and joy.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Afghanistan
    Women pick saffron in the greenhouse of their women’s garden in Badakhshan, Afghanistan. This is one of the only means the largely illiterate and women-headed households can provide for their families.
    Maria de la Guardia
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    Yemen
    A Yemeni family has a picnic next to some of the only remaining slides, along what was once a vibrant seaside weekend spot in Aden. The Saudis bombed the strip to liberate the city from the Houthi.
    Maria de la Guardia