Connie Frisbee Houde, a photojournalist, has traveled to Afghanistan beginning in 2003. In 2004 and 2005 she traveled deep into the heart of Afghanistan photographing the National Organization of Ophthalmic Rehabilitation (NOOR), the country’s singular eye care program. Her most recent trip in September/October 2009 meeting with various woman’s organizations brings her experiences up to date. Audiences have been captivated by her depth of understanding of the complexities of the history and current situation in Afghanistan and her ability to synthesize this knowledge into moving audiovisual experiences that bring her lectures about her experience to life. Connie’s impacting work has been shown in dozens of galleries and her informative multi-media presentations depicting the realities of life in Afghanistan have illuminated audiences. Frisbee Houde says, “While in Afghanistan I quickly fell in love with the people I met – the noble faces of the men, the strength of the women and the poignant beauty of the children whose eyes were windows to their souls. I am not simply looking at the Afghans through my lens, I am capturing them looking back at us.”
Connie was awarded a 2006 New York State Council on the Arts Grant to photograph and record the harrowing and untold stories of escape and resettlement in the US, of some of the over 3000 Afghans who now live in the capital district. She began recording, photographing and exhibiting this material in 2005 and has seen the healing effects these stories have not only for the teller, but also for the people of their new country whom have also felt the effect of the war in Afghanistan. Her project has helped to bridge the differences and to recognize the similarities between these two groups whose lives have been affected by the horror of war.
This project is one example of how she uses her vision as a photographer to depict the spirit and sacredness of people and their surroundings. The cultural heritage and way of life of many different people are often threatened by global events, war and industrialization.Connie’s skill as a photographer coupled with her love of humanity enable her to depict the nobleness of these people and their lands as they strive to keep their autonomy, culture and community alive. While each group maintains its own cultural identity many attributes, expressions and concerns of living are universal, creating a sense of brotherhood, a global village.