My strength is looking for composition and light, and I think those things come in the quieter times of war or photographing people affected on the margins of war - civilians, refugees; that is where I really excel.
If people really saw what was happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, then they might be marching in the streets to end wars. But you know, I think that no one ever sees because we're not allowed to see, and we're not allowed to publish what we do see. So it's quite difficult.
For me personally, I'm constantly trying to really re-negotiate how I'm going to make a living because I can't make a living solely off editorial. And I'm also still trying to tell long feature stories that are harder and harder to get assigned, you know.
As a woman, I have tried to take advantage of the extra access I have in the Muslim world: with Muslim women, for example. Many people underestimate women in that part of the world because, typically, they don't work.
When I first started out, I really felt like, 'I'm a journalist; I will be respected as a neutral observer.' And I don't feel like that holds true anymore. I don't think people respect journalists the same way they once did.
I remember the moment in which we were taken hostage in Libya, and we were asked to lie face down on the ground, and they started putting our arms behind our backs and started tying us up. And we were each begging for our lives because they were deciding whether to execute us, and they had guns to our heads.
It's very hard to turn your back once you're aware of what's going on, and you're aware of the injustices, and you're aware of the civilian casualties. It's much easier if you have no idea and you've never seen it.
I'm constantly struggling. You know, the stories that I feel like I could cover, do the work that I want to do and being a mother. That's really where my struggle is - and being a wife and having a life - and for me it's really hard to find that balance. I'm always struggling to find that balance.
Obviously I am a photographer and I believe in my medium: I do think that powerful photographs can force change. It doesn't take long to look and be engaged in a strong image whereas, with a story, you have to actually sit down and pause and be involved in it.
I was undeterred by the danger of traveling as a single American woman through Taliban-governed land. I believed in the stories I wanted to tell, the stories I felt were underreported, and I was convinced that that belief would keep me alive.
By the time the United States went to war with Afghanistan in the fall of 2001, I had made three trips to the country. I covered the fall of the Taliban in Kandahar and have been returning routinely for the past 14 years.
I was lucky because I had parents who have enabled me to do whatever I was passionate about and never held my siblings and me back from anything. But I think a lot of people don't have that experience.
The truth is, the difference between a studio photographer and a photojournalist is the same as the difference between a political cartoonist and an abstract painter; the only thing the two have in common is the blank page. The jobs entail different talents and different desires.
Family is such a fundamental part of Islam, and women run the family. I had to force myself not to impose my own definition of political and social freedom on women in Islam, and approach each story objectively.
I wanted to continue doing my work, but I had to figure out how. And so what I have basically come up with is that I still go to Afghanistan and Iraq and South Sudan and many of these places that are rife with war, but I don't go directly to the front line.
You have two options when you approach a hostile checkpoint in a war zone, and each is a gamble. The first is to stop and identify yourself as a journalist and hope that you are respected as a neutral observer. The second is to blow past the checkpoint and hope the soldiers guarding it don't open fire on you.
I just immediately connect everything to the wars I have been covering overseas, and that's not the case back home. I wrongly assumed all Americans at home were as consumed with our troops in Afghanistan as I was abroad.
I interviewed dozens and dozens of African women who had endured more hardship and trauma than most Westerners even read about, and they ploughed on. I often openly cried during interviews, unable to process this violence and hatred towards women I was witnessing.
I do think my childhood is one of the fundamental reasons that I'm able to do my job. We were raised in this totally nonjudgmental family. We never knew who was going to walk in the front door. And as a journalist and a photographer, you walk into so many different scenes that you have to be open to everything.
If publications want to publish images and stories from a certain person, they should put that person on assignment, cover his or her expenses, make sure they have access to security briefings and experts, someone to administer first aid, etc.