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Will Baxter June 4, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Air Assault on Marzak, Afghanistan 2009

Will Baxter (b. 1978, USA) is based in Cambodia, where he is the photo editor at The Phnom Penh Post. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism in 2000 and got his start as a photographer stringing for Reuters in Southeast Asia. Will was a finalist for the 2010 Alexia Foundation Grant for professional photographers. He won 1st place in the Spot News category in the 2008 FCCT Photo Contest with an image from his story about the Cyclone Nargis aftermath in Burma. He was nominated for the Joop Swart World Press Photo Masterclass and Unicef Pictures of the Year in 2009. An exhibition of  his work depicting the lives of Cambodian garment workers who are making Adidas apparel for the 2012 London Olympics is currently traveling in the UK and the Czech Republic.

About the Photograph:

“In 2009 I spent five months documenting the war in Afghanistan. Part of what I wanted to explore is the growing divide between the security forces and the general population. This photograph was taken during a search and clearing operation in the village of Marzak, Paktika province, in February 2009. During the operation, US and Afghan security forces detained several Afghan men with the intention of keeping them overnight for questioning. The photograph shows a group of elders who have come to a compound that security forces had set up as a temporary base of operations. The elders were told to line up outside the wall to wait for an opportunity to speak with a member of the security forces about the possible release of the villagers. The juxtaposition of the soldier on one side and the elders on the other is what struck me about this image, and I think it is quite effective at illustrating the sense of distrust and the overall divide between the security forces and Afghan civilians.”

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