Afghanistan Photographers Association (APA) evolved from Ms. Farzana Wahidy’s decade-long dream for great photographic value and a firm commitment to change the face of photography in Afghanistan. More particularly, Ms. Wahidy’s realization of the huge gap in the knowledge and genuine understanding of the art and science of photography in Afghanistan coupled with a deploring experience of working on a relevant subject with a partner organization drove her passion to bring this ground-breaking opportunity for Afghanistan.
Following her graduation in Photojournalism from Loyalist College, Canada, Ms. Wahidy returned to Afghanistan with an aim to affect change in the society through photography. As passionate as she was, she initiated an extensive photography workshop for Afghan photographers to share her knowledge and experience of studying at Loyalist. In the meantime, Ms. Wahidy was indulged in a series of consultations with a number of professional photographers and organisations, exploring what could be done next to provide a solid foundation for change in photography in Afghanistan. It was also throughout these consultations that Ms. Wahidy realized how basically and poorly is photography perceived in Afghanistan.
In 2014, in collaboration with a partner organization, Ms. Wahidy embarked on an unprecedented two-year project grounded in novel research on the History of Photography in Afghanistan as well as a well-designed intermediate-to-advanced level photography training program for 62 photographers from six provinces of Afghanistan. The project was expected to be implemented in four milestones. However, Ms. Wahidy had to report to the donor and, thus, cease the project due to several challenges during its last milestone, as she inexorably experienced, among many, gender stereotypes and organizational corruption from the partner organization.
Facing relentless challenges during this project and therefore realizing a genuine need for a committed and transparent organization dedicated to photography, Ms. Wahidy took a fundamental and fearless decision to establish an independent organization that would better serve her long-term goals and the dream of affecting change in the society. Thus, Ms. Wahidy founded Afghanistan Photographers Association with the support of an Afghan photographer (who wishes to remain anonymous) and Kim Stinson, a Canadian-based photographer.
It is also worth mentioning that Ms. Wahidy’s strong commitment to service and to the values that helped the photography terrain in Afghanistan earned her the Premier’s Award for Creative Arts and Design, from Colleges Ontario in Canada in 2016.