How do people come to feel so passionately about fairness and freedom that they will risk their livelihoods, even their lives, to pursue justice? A few years ago, I became fascinated by such people—people for whom the “rule of law” is no mere abstraction, for whom human rights is a fiercely urgent concern. I wanted to give a face to social justice by making portraits of human rights pioneers. I am a photographer. I understand by seeing. Peering through the camera lens, I hoped to gain an understanding of how they had become so devoted to the rights and dignity of others. The subjects I chose live in a multitude of countries, in both open and closed societies; they range widely in their ancestry and social origins. Some have been advocates from an early age. Others came to their crusades unexpectedly, even unwillingly. Several were simply doing their jobs, and then realized that doing so can, under certain circumstances, be a radical act. To photograph and conduct interviews with these people, I traveled to countries around the world, often accompanied...
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