From the artist:
‘I was in West Africa while the outbreak was still new. For us—it was of course not new for them. Still, people didn’t seem quite sure how to respond. They seemed to be either terrified, or totally nonchalant. And I thought you could see that in their eyes. Eyes are always expressive, but especially so when they’re the only part of a person’s face you can see, as they are when a health worker goes in to care for patients. And even when health workers weren’t in their protective gear—even when I wasn’t even shooting health workers—I found myself watching peoples eyes. It felt like that must be what the experience is like for patients, who are deprived of almost all human interaction, except for eye contact.’
Jeffrey Stern is a Washington DC-based writer. His photography and reporting most recently appeared in Vanity Fair. His book, about Afghanistan’s most vulnerable ethnic group preparing for the departure of foreign troops, will be published by St. Martins Press in the Fall, 2015.
All images © Jeffrey Stern