Magazine Publications

"What the end of the war in Afghanistan means to one mother and her family" for National Geographic Magazine (2022)

A year after America pulled out of its longest war, we revisited Hafiza, an Afghan mother who was featured on the cover of National Geographic. Her family’s experience offers a glimpse of life under Taliban rule.
The war divided Afghanistan, literally pitting brother against brother: One of Hafiza’s sons joined the Taliban, while three of his brothers fought with the government forces backed by the United States. For years, Hafiza feared finding their bodies on her doorstep one day. The day after the Taliban took control of Faizabad, the family organized a big reunion. It was the first time in three years the brothers had come together, with the defeated soldiers in the same room as their victorious Talib brother. Everybody hugged and cried.
Magazine Publications

"As Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis deepens, its young people step up" for National Geographic (2022)

Afghanistan is suffering through a humanitarian crisis of disastrous proportions. Three-quarters of the country’s public spending had been funded by foreign aid. When the United States withdrew and the Taliban seized control in August 2021, that aid was cut. Now, nearly nine million people face emergency-level food insecurity, according to the World Food Programme.
While the international community is trying to figure out how to help the Afghan people without benefiting the Taliban, young Afghans, including Amini, realize that they can’t afford to wait for foreign aid to resume at full scale. They grew up during the American occupation with war and hardship, but also with dreams and promises of a better future and more possibilities in life than their parents had.
Seeing that future crumble, they are taking matters into their own hands to help their communities. Some distribute clothes to needy families in northern Badakhshan Province. Others teach underground classes to girls who are out of school in Kabul, the capital. Another group operates an emergency bakery in Bamiyan Province in the central highlands.
Magazine Publications

A Love Letter To Afghanistan for National Geographic Magazine (2021)

As the Taliban return, Afghanistan's past threatens its future. The freedoms Afghans have gained since 2001 are in jeopardy as extremists complete their takeover of the nation, spurred by U.S. exit. Twenty years since the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban have once again seized power of the country. In the months leading up to the fall of the nation’s capital, National Geographic photographer Kiana Hayeri and writer Jason Motlagh heard the stories of young Afghans struggling for a better future.
Magazine Publications

"The Taliban’s Dangerous Collision Course With the West" for The New York Times Magazine (2022)

After barring girls from high school — and harboring an Al-Qaeda leader — the regime now risks jeopardizing the billions of dollars of global aid that still keeps Afghans alive.
Magazine Publications

"What Will Become of Afghanistan’s Post-9/11 Generation?" for The New York Times Magazine (2021)

In June, the photojournalist Kiana Hayeri set out to photograph Afghanistan’s post-9/11 generation, the young people who grew up after the American invasion, in an increasingly open society. She sought to capture their deepening uncertainty about their country’s future as the American withdrawal approached. Instead she wound up documenting the end of life as they knew it.
Magazine Publications

"Afghanistan’s Next War" for The New York Times Magazine (2020)

What happens when the pandemic hits a country already mired in conflict, bogged down by political instability, and deep in poverty? When a system -- corrupt, complacent, and dependent -- finds itself against a swift-moving infection?

One Wednesday in March, 11,627 people crossed the Iranian border into the Afghan province of Herat. A sea of young men formed. Some carried backpacks, others large sacks overstuffed with their belongings. One carried a child’s bicycle, another a string instrument. One had just two blankets folded under his arm, another a canary in a cage.Most of the men were Afghans in their 20s. Their search for a better life in Iran had been abruptly thwarted by the corona­virus, returning them to a border that once took them days to cross in the other direction — squeezed into the beds of pickup trucks by smugglers who sped them through deserts at night, leaving some with bruises and others with broken body parts. The least fortunate were left in the desert to rot.Now, as the men waited to be processed back into a war they had tried to escape, health care workers shouting through a megaphone instructed them in how to wash their hands.
Magazine Publications

"They Killed Their Husbands. Now in Prison, They Feel Free." for The New York Times Magazine (2020)

Violence against women is rampant in Afghanistan. As a Persian saying goes, “a woman enters her husband’s house wearing white and leaves his house wearing white,” referring to the shroud that wraps the dead before burial. That very well could have been the fate of some of these women. Instead, they left in handcuffs and found peace, freedom and hope inside a prison.
This is the story of women who have pushed so far that they saw no other way out of abusive marriages but to murder their husbands. Many did to save their lives and their children lives.

Magazine Publications

"Single Mothers of Afghanistan" for Harpers Magazine (2016)

There is no word for “single mother” in the Pashto or Dari, the two major languages spoken throughout Afghanistan, yet after four decades of conflict— from the Soviet invasion to the war on terror— millions of women in Afghanistan are raising children on their own. These women are one of Afghanistan’s most vulnerable populations. Some have had to flee abusive spouses, others have lost their husbands in combat or terrorist attacks and some became pregnant before marriage and have been charged with “moral crimes.” Widows in particular are seen as morally suspect or symbols of bad luck; In a country where few women are literate or have ever worked outside the home, many widows are forced into remarriage, frequently to a brother of their late husband, and those who choose to remarry outside the family risk losing custody of their children. This is the tale of Single Mothers of Afghanistan told through photographs, a humane story picturing another side of life in a war torn country.
Magazine Publications

Resilience Trilogy (2010-17)

Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Even after misfortune, resilient people are blessed with such an outlook that they are able to change course and soldier on.
Iran, Afghanistan and Syria are three neighbouring countries with superficial similarities. All three countries, which are predominantly muslim with youth (under 35) accounting for more than 50% of the population, have experienced tumultuous recent histories, as a results of international intervention, economic struggles and barriers to progression as a result of socio-cultural norms.
The youth that make up the majority of these countries are those born between 1980 and 2000 - also referred to as ‘the millennials.’ Millennials across the region and similarly all over the world share similar characteristics and attitudes to their lives, politics and futures of their country. They are renowned for their resilience and optimism and are not behind sharing their voices through the use of internet and social media, ensuring the marginalised and vulnerable are not left behind. Another common pattern among these individuals is their adherence to freedom of speech and choice, ensuring they are not entangled with their cultural and religious beliefs. Attempting to accurate represent these realities, the youth in my photographs have strived to push through cultural and political boundaries and live a life other than what has been dictated to them by limiting culture or oppressive governments.
Magazine Publications

"The TransAsia Train" for Polka Magazine (2013)

Assigned by Polka Magazine in April 2013, we took the TransAsia train to discover and capture stories of travellers on this three-day-long journey. The Tehran-Ankara train leaves once a week from Tehran's central train station and crosses Iran-Turkey border at Razi, then it boards a ship to travel through Van Lake and arrive in Ankara three days later.
With very few exceptions, almost all of the passengers were either asylum seekers or families of those who had previously escaped the country. Some fearful for the life and others simply searching for a better time ahead. A few knew how they wanted to proceed upon arrival in Turkey and others were clueless of what was awaiting them. Some families entirely packed their life in small suitcases and others left it behind, hoping that one day, they'll be able to return to Iran.
Besides from tears, laugh and food they shared on this journey, only one other thing linked a political activist, a mom, a student, a lesbian and a baha'i family; hope for a better future. (2013)
Magazine Publications

"May god be with you my daughter..." (2010-12)

In light of economic crisis and ongoing political oppression, the current wave of immigration out of Iran is now greater than at any point in history. There are no official numbers, but many Iranians have already left or are seeking a way out. Some pursue escape without even considering its consequences.

‘May god be with you my daughter…’ is the story of my own migration through the lives of other Iranian teenage girls who have taken the same path that I took years ago. Parmida,Parastou, Melika and Soheila, all immigrated in middle of their teenage years. Parmida and Soheila started this journey along with their parents and families, Parastou and Melika moved away on their own. Facing the battle of fitting into the new culture of their adopted home, this story captures the transformation and liberation of these girls at the age of 17. With the adult personality shaping up, an insecurity and self-consciousness now replaces the carefree world that the girls had lived in so far.
This passage from girlhood into adulthood, with all the complications it entails, takes place within a new culture and environment. The girls on the edge between two worlds try to come to terms with this transitional time in their lives and adjust to the people they are becoming. (Iran, Australia, Canada and United States)

Kiana Hayeri

Iranian-Canadian photographer, focusing on migration, identity and sexuality in societies dealing with oppression or conflict.
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