Conversations Magazine ~ All About BOOKS

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Professional photographer, Peggy Kelsey traveled to Afghanistan in 2003 and 2010 to photograph and interview women. In Gathering Strength, Conversations with Afghan Women these interviews come together under different topics creating conversations that illustrate the women's different stories, concerns and issues. 

The various perspectives help readers make sense of seemingly intractable social issues in a similarly intractable nation. Peggy's own story and comments serve as a bridge between the reader and Afghan women. 

Dynamic, candid photographs reveal the infinite variety of women who are too often portrayed as an homogenous mass. Although the book addresses intractable issues and situations that the women face, it is ultimately hopeful.

Peggy Kelsey's Book Helps Us Look Forward While Gathering Strength

by Cyrus Webb

We sometimes think that our circumstances are unique just to us and that others will never know what we are going through. If there is a book out there that proves just the opposite it is GATHERING STRENGTH by Peggy Kelsey.

I don't see how anyone can read this book and not be grateful for the opportunities afforded to them or the possibilities ahead of them. What Kelsey was able to do through pictures and the powerful narratives is give us a look at a group of women who weren't just waiting on the world to decide their fate. They were taking the initiative in bringing about the lives they wanted for themselves, their families and their larger community.

What I really thought was fascinating was that they could have easily looked at where they were and said that they couldn't do any better. There are examples of women who were taking the lead in building businesses, pursuing professions that were sure to make a difference or even provide an avenue for others to have a voice.

Kelsey succeeded in not just telling a story of a people. She also gives us hope and the tools needed to have our own resolve strengthened when we are faced with difficulties. It's not about life's challenges. It's about the solutions we and build together.

The book GATHERING STRENGTH: Conversations with Afghan Women is available now wherever books are sold. You can find out more about the author and the project at

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