Robin Hammond has photographed strife in Africa for a dozen years, from life in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe to the use of rape as a weapon of war in the Congo. The Paris-based photographer doesn’t shy away from difficult stories.
In January of 2011 he was on assignment to document the Sudanese referendum for independence, which led to the creation of South Sudan. While driving through the region’s future capital Juba, Hammond spotted a young mentally disabled girl on the side of the road that gave him pause. Hammond turned to his driver, a local journalist, and asked him what happens to mentally ill people in Sudan.
“He very casually replied, ‘well, we put them in prisons,’” Hammond told Art Beat. “The story became about, yes, this is a very hopeful time for a potentially new country, but at what price had the people paid to reach this point?”