Masrat Zahra, a Kashmiri woman photojournalist speaks about dealing with the shackles of state and patriarchy, especially since 5 August.
On the morning of 5 August 2019, Masrat Zahra, a young Kashmiri photojournalist, woke up confused. Her phone was not working and the street outside her house looked eerily different. Soon, she learnt that the Narendra Modi-led union government had abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the state into two union territories. From that day till at least 30 August, Zahra went out almost every day to shoot in Kashmir to document the restrictions on movement and communication that the government had imposed, reactions to the move and its human cost. The photographs featured in the gallery are a selection of her work from this time.
I guess what I miss most is the solitude. I remember standing alone in the pitch black of a hotel road darkroom after a dangerous day, with my arms thrust deep into a sink of 68-degree wash water for no reason while I waited for the fixer to clear my film. There, in the absence of every sight, of every sound, it was peace.
TIME of course paid more. They always had more budget than Newsweek. As my friend Jimmy Colton, then an editor at NW and now at SI, was fond of saying, “TIME is a hospital. Newsweek’s a MASH unit.” Below is the first cover I shot for TIME, and if I recall, they paid about 3 grand. Other shooters, the real premier cover guys, got more dough, for sure. I was definitely not in that group. If I got a cover, it was either an accident or a last ditch phone call by a desperate editor.