War Letters, 2005
Correspondence to family members and friends during wartime chronicles world events through a personal lens. Letters become touch points for the living, recorded memories of past experiences, and a way to process loss and grief. In considering how to photograph images for an article about the written word, Steber “had to figure out how in one picture I could embody the story of this person and the letter and their experience and what they wrote about and what they went through.”
For this portrait of Masuda Mohamadi, Steber photographed her lying next to childhood photos of herself and her father. These images remind Masuda of peaceful times in Afghanistan. She was a child in 1979 when the family fled the Soviet invasion and settled in the United States. Masuda and her father returned in 2002 to help rebuild their shattered nation.