Pulitzer Center Update

Amy Toensing Visited Guilford College to Present 'A World of Widows'

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Elderly widows cook next to their beds at Tarash Mandir, a short-stay home for young women and permanent facility for elderly widows in Vrindavan. Image by Amy Toensing. India, 2016.

Elderly widows cook next to their beds at Tarash Mandir, a short-stay home for young women and permanent facility for elderly widows in Vrindavan. Image by Amy Toensing. India, 2016.

Award-winning photojournalist Amy Toensing visited Guilford College to present her work on a Pulitzer Center-supported project, "A World of Widows." 

At Guilford, Toensing shared her project photos and described the lives of the various women she met in Bosnia, India, and Uganda. “I like to put the human in everything I do. I’m very attracted to the emotional power of the visual language,” she said, according to The Guilfordian.  

Her project, which she worked on with Cynthia Gorney and Jessica Benko, explores the lives and struggles of widows in these three countries. In the Balkans, women have spent decades fighting for the identification of the remains of their husbands who were killed in mass executions. In India, thousands of impoverished widows live in concentrated communities of exile because their families feared women who outlived their husbands. In Africa, newly-widowed women can be stripped of their homes, forced to drink the water in which their dead husbands were cleansed, or handed over like inheritance chattel to their own brothers-in-law.

After her presentation, The Guilfordian received feedback from the audience: “I was amazed and inspired by her work,” said Janet Starmer, visiting instructor of foreign languages.  “The photos themselves were stunningly beautiful, but I think what was more important was that she was really telling a story. I think that each image really tried to capture a moment and an idea, but then, of course, Amy herself was able to share more of the ideas than you might get from the image itself.

A full account of Toensing's visit is available on The Guilfordian's website