“There is no doubt that women activists played a vital role in the public uprising demanding democracy in the MENA-region. They fought side by side with the men in the underground movements, in the streets and from behind computers.”

One year after the start of the Arab Spring, I was commissioned by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom to photograph a number of activists that had traveled to Geneva from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) area to address and participate in talks at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Many women, young and old from different backgrounds came with just a few minutes spare in there extremely busy schedules of meetings and talks. I set up a black cloth, taped to the wall outside the council chamber. I wanted to keep the images simple and direct so as not to distract from the personality of each individual. For the lighting I used just a single flash mounted on a stand adjacent to the camera. The images came easily as each women sat, with little prompt, starring defiantly with gravitas, strait at the camera.

In 2014 the photographs were displayed in exhibition as Sale Waterside Arts Center in Manchester