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Farzana Wahidy August 19, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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From a story on Women in Afghanistan. Jawzjan Province 2010

Editor’s note: Farzana is one of the photographers featured in ‘Frame by Frame’, a documentary film project that follows four Afghan photographers to explore the recent revolution of local photojournalism in Afghanistan. It looks like a worthy project now up on Kickstarter.

Farzana Wahidy (b.1984, Afghanistan) grew up in Kandahar and moved to Kabul at the age of six. After the Taliban came to power and prohibited the education of women, she secretly attended an underground school located in an apartment with 300 other girls. When the Taliban were defeated, Farzana continued her education, completing high school, then enrolled in a two-year program sponsored by AINA Photojournalism Institute. In 2004, she began working part-time as a photojournalist for Agence-France Presse, becoming the first female Afghan photojournalist to work for an international wire service. Her work has been published  in The Sunday Times, and Le Monde.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was made in a rural area of northern Afghanistan where a number of Afghan women who are not able to work outside of their homes are busy weaving carpets. They start learning to weave at a very early age when they are still children and continue until they can hardly see or even sit any more. Some of these women not only use hashish themselves but also give it to their kids to fall asleep so they aren’t bothered by them while they are working.”

Lorenzo Tugnoli May 9, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Planting wheat in Sorubi province. Afghanistan 2011

Lorenzo Tugnoli (b. 1979, Italy) is a documentary photographer based in Kabul and a member of the photographic collective Razistan. His work has been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, TIME Magazine, as well as several Italian magazines. Since 2010, Lorenzo has been working on the production of photographic books for development organizations in Afghanistan, including the UN and The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He’s currently working on two photographic book projects, one focussing on the Pashtu tribe in Afghanistan and another on the artistic scene of Kabul.

About the Photograph:

“This image is part of an on-going project that focuses on the daily life of Pashto tribes in rural Afghanistan. This is a part of Afghan contemporary history that is significantly under reported – most Pashto tribes, in fact, live in areas of the country where the insurgency is still very active and access to foreign reporters limited. I visited the village of Lagubu, in eastern Afghanistan, a number of times and have now become familiar with the local farmers. Working in this environment is particularly hard. People are suspicious and scared to be found giving hospitality to a foreigner. The day I took this photo, I was enjoying the setting sun. The only way to get such a light is to sleep in the village, but nights are pretty dangerous in Taliban controlled areas. The sun was setting and the farmers were repeating old gestures. It was a moment frozen in time, it could have been a century ago. It was a moment in which, after a long day photographing them, they stopped being concerned about me; perhaps they were also feeling the magic of dusk, and I felt I was able to get a glimpse of their real life.”

Varial July 11, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan 2011

Varial (aka Cédric Houin, b. 1978, France) is a visual artist living between Paris, New York and Montreal.  Self taught, his work is a constant visual exploration – mix of creative and art direction, photography, video and illustration – inspired by demanding experiences both physically and spiritually which questions our relationship to images. He has received over twenty prizes with photographic and interactive works and has collaborated with the National Film Board of Canada, Telefilm Canada, TV5, Quebec Council for Media and Arts, the Society for Arts and Technology and numerous creative agencies in North America. His recent works about the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan have been published in the New York Times and have been awarded by Exposure and the  PDN annual 2012.

About the Photograph:

“This image was shot in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, where I traveled last year working on a documentary/art project called Wakhan: Another Afghanistan. The intimacy of this everyday life moment, shot inside of a family yurt, is in total contrast with the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live in. Here a married Kyrgyz woman in a white veil, and her non married daughter (in red veil) are sewing with a machine (The Butterfly) made in China. On the right we notice a television and a sound console. These tribes live weeks away from any village by foot. In spite of being located at an altitude of 4,300 meters in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan they are equipped with solar panels, satellite dishes and cellphones. Ancestral ways of living, with touches of modernity.”

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.”

Seamus Murphy Interview November 20, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan, MediaStorm, Multimedia.
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A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan is one of the finest multimedia pieces I’ve seen recently. Over 30 minutes in length, the images, audio and editing weave a gripping and poetic story. Partially told in the first person by Seamus (the multiple points of view are what make it so effective), I was transported to Kabul. This is what multimedia is meant to do. Seamus has spent over 15 years covering Afghanistan. His book A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan was published in 2008.

Project Background: From the Soviet invasion and the Mujaheddin resistance to the Taliban and the American occupation, A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan examines thirty years of Afghan history. It is the story of ordinary citizens whose lives play out in the shadow of superpowers. There are tales of violence to be sure, but there is also love and even romance. Based on 14 trips to Afghanistan between 1994 and 2010, photojournalist Seamus Murphy (b.1959. Ireland) chronicles a people caught time and again in political turmoil, struggling to find their way. Outsiders often see Afghanistan as a problem in need of a solution: a conflict region that needs more troops or another election. But in seeing Afghanistan as a problem, the people of the country, and their desire for self-determination, are often overlooked.”

Seamus Murphy interview with Geoffrey Hiller :  (more…)

Benjamin Rasmussen September 6, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan 2010

Benjamin Rasmussen (b. 1984, USA) spent his childhood with an indigenous group of people on an island in the southern Philippines, his university years were with evangelicals in a small town in northern Arkansas, and a year with the descendants of Vikings in the Faroe Islands, a nation of 45,000 residents in the middle of the North Atlantic. Ben’s  work has been selected for the American Photography 26 Annual, shown at the Annenberg Space for Photography, chosen as one of Photolucida’s 2010 Critical Mass Top 50 and awarded first place in the 68th POYI Science/Natural History category. His clients include the New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is based in Denver, Colorado.

About the Photograph:

“This image of a Wakhi mother is from a story I shot in the Wakhan Corridor, located in the northeastern corner of Afghanistan. I was drawn to the people in this area because they are so different from the Afghans I was used to seeing in the media. The Taliban has never had a foothold in the region, and the people are isolated from much of the turmoil in the rest of the country. This photograph was taken in the late afternoon in the town of Gaz Khan on my last day in the Wakhan. I was wandering through the tiny village and speaking with people when I saw this woman. She reminded me of the renaissance depictions of the Madonna, and she summed up the beauty that I felt was missing in the way the public views Afghanistan.”

Cheryl Diaz Meyer December 15, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Khoja Bahauddin in northern Afghanistan 2001

Cheryl Diaz Meyer (b. 1968, Philippines) won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2004 with fellow staff photographer David Leeson for their images depicting the U.S.-led war in Iraq.  Her work there was also awarded the Visa D’Or Daily Press Award in Perpignan, France.  Diaz Meyer also covered the war in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 and her war portfolio was awarded the John Faber Award from the Overseas Press Club in 2001. Diaz Meyer is a freelance documentary photojournalist based in Washington, D.C. She was formerly a staff photographer with The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis for five years.  Diaz Meyer’s work has been published in newspapers and magazines internationally as well as in numerous books.  Her work is exhibited at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

About the Photograph:

“Only partially exposing her face, Momo Juma begs from men as they leave Friday morning prayers at Jamay Mosque in Khoja Bahauddin in northern Afghanistan.  Internally-displaced women have little opportunity to work and simply hope for men’s generosity in the war-ravaged country. Afghanistan is an oppressive place for women, especially those who do not have menfolk to support and protect them.  I was once told while traveling there that a woman who does not cover her face in public is like a prostitute offering herself to men. As a woman, and a non-Muslim, I was as good as a dog in the eyes of Afghan men.  I wanted to interview Momo Juma, but my translator, a male, thought it would not be respectful for him to speak with her.  We were stuck in the country’s logic-defying contradictions.”

Rafal Gerszak November 1, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Afghanistan, 2009

Rafal Gerszak (b.1980, Poland) and his family were forced to flee their home during the Soviet era and lived for sometime in a West German refugee camp. After immigrating to Canada in 1990, Rafal began to identify with socially displaced groups and photographed the drug culture in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside before moving to Afghanistan to pursue documentary photography. A graduate of Langara College in Vancouver, Canada, Rafal’s documentary work and short films have been recognized by the NPPA and the News Photographers Association of Canada. In 2010, Rafal was selected as one of the winners of The Magenta Foundation Flash Forward competition.

About the Photograph:

“March 4, 2009 was the last mission  I spent with soldiers from America’s 101st Airborne Division, 506th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Delta Company, 4th Platoon. I was accompanying the soldiers near a village in the mountains of Khost province, eastern Afghanistan. This photograph was made after an armored vehicle accident that nearly rolled the truck off an embankment. The soldiers and I were stranded in the area for hours until locals from a nearby village gathered and worked as a team with American soldiers to free the vehicle. Although I captured the image of an injured soldier, for me, when the villagers came to the soldiers aid, there was no more war and no more division between cultures. It was simply one human being helping another.”

Katherine Kiviat October 18, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Kabul Police Academy, Afghanistan 2004

Katherine Kiviat (b.1975, USA) is an award winning  photojournalist who has covered diverse subjects, including American Gypsies, Indian sex workers, the first free presidential elections in Afghanistan, the Palestinian elections that brought Hamas to power and the internal refugees from the fighting in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. In 2007, Kiviat published her first book Women Of Courage: Intimate Stories from Afghanistan with International T.V Journalist, Scott Heidler. For almost three years, she based herself in Kabul, where she taught photojournalism to Afghan women and girls and focused her photography on the changing role of Afghan women.  Katherine has worked for numerous international publications, including Vanity Fair, Fortune, Time, Forbes, Newsweek, Business Week, The New York Times Magazine, The Monocle and The National Magazine.  Her photographs have been included in both solo and group exhibitions in the US, Europe and Asia.

About the Photograph:

“On this day, my husband and I were interviewing and photographing one of the police women at the Kabul Police Academy.  After shooting a portrait we went with the women to see the police cadets’ first day of AK-47 weapon training.  The training took place at a firing range near by the Policharki prison, on the outskirts of Kabul.  It was a hot and miserable day to be out in the middle of the dessert but these women showed no pain, they were fully committed to learning how to protect their people. These women, like all the women in Women Of Courage, are all agents of change in their future, in their country, trying to make a better tomorrow for themselves and their daughters.”

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Kalpesh Lathigra June 11, 2010

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British Soldiers, Afghanistan 2006

Kalpesh Lathigra (b.1971, London, England) was educated at the London College of Printing with a Postgraduate Diploma in Photojournalism. In 2000 he gave up working for newspapers and made the decision to work on long term projects. In the same year he was awarded the arts prize with World Press Photo. In 2003, he embarked on a long term project documenting the lives of Widows in India, receiving The W.Eugene Smith Fellowship and Churchill Fellowship. In 2005, Kalpesh started a new approach to his photographic practice merging fine art and documentary practice being primarily influenced by the American Colourists. He is currently working on the series “A State of Grace” looking a the USA since the election of Barack Obama. Kalpesh has exhibited at PhotoEspana, Noorderlicht, Savignano, Italy and Galleria Contemporaneo in Venice among others.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph was taken as part of a commission I undertook for The Guardian Weekend Magazine and is about the undercurrents of war and those who fight and live in these environments. Putting aside the politics of conflict, when you are in close proximity to these men, who are mostly aged between 18 -25, they are just normal young men reading magazines, smoking, watching tv, laughing, etc but then you also see the mental and emotionally switch when they go on patrol as soldiers. There is an infrastructure of war which is another world and it is these things I am trying to explore. These three guys were with the parachute regiment. I spent a lot of time with them and this was a quiet moment in the evening. One had just come in after having a smoke, the other was reading a letter and the last just relaxing. Take away the context of an army tent and they could be three friends anywhere in the world just hanging out.”

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Michael Kamber May 26, 2010

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Kabul, Afghanistan 2001

Michael Kamber (b.1963, USA) worked for many years as a carpenter and mechanic and made the transition to photojournalism in the last 1980s. In the last decade, he has worked primarily as a conflict photographer and has covered a dozen wars including Afghanistan, Somalia, Liberia, Darfur and the Congo. He photographed the war in Iraq for The New York Times between 2003 and 2010. He is the only journalist to routinely file photos, video and written pieces for The New York Times. His photos have been published in nearly every major news magazine in the USA and Europe. Michaelis the winner of a 2007 World Press Photo award, the Missouri School of Journalism’s Penny Press Award, American Photo Images of the Year and an Overseas Press Club award.  He has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize–twice for photography and once for reporting.

About the Photograph:

“I was one of hundreds–perhaps thousands–of journalists that arrived in Pakistan in the weeks after 9/11. Like many journalists there, I spent about two months writing and photographing feature stories and trying to get across the border into Afghanistan. The fall of the Taliban left Afghanistan with no government, and, consequently, no border controls. The next day I simply walked across the unguarded border in the Kyber Pass and found a taxi going to Jalalabad. On November 19th, I moved on to Kabul in a convoy of journalists. Rushing through the countryside and eager to get to the story, the convoy broke apart; cars lost sight of one another in the thick dust and twisting roads. We rounded a corner on a remote mountain pass and armed men stepped out from the side of the road. I shouted for our driver to stop, but sensing danger, he gunned the engine and shot past the men. They pointed their weapons at us but held fire, perhaps hearing more vehicles approaching. The gunmen stopped the next two cars, pulled four journalists out, and beat and shot them to death. In Kabul, the population seemed to be waking from some long sleep. People pulled TVs and radios from cellars where they had been hidden–the Taliban had forbidden music and moving images–and men sat on the street corner pounding tin cans into satellite dishes.”

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Lana Šlezić February 22, 2010

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Afghanistan, 2005

Lana Šlezić (b.1973 Canada) has been a professional photographer since 2000. In 2005 Lana was invited to participate in the World Press Photo Joop Swaart Masterclass in Amsterdam, one of 12 young photographers selected world-wide. Later that year she published her first book “Forsaken” which in 2008 was chosen as one of the Top Ten Photo Books of the Year by American Photo Magazine. She has exhibited in Canada, Netherlands, France, United States, and many other countries. Publications include National Geographic, The New York Times, Time Magazine, and Paris Match.

About the Photograph:

“This body of work from my book “Forsaken” represents a very emotional journey that has allowed me to learn about Afghan woman’s lives in an intimate setting. At the worst of times the stories are horrific and at best they are consistent. It is my hope that the final collection of photographs will communicate, influence and inspire others to learn more about the plight of Afghan women. Most Afghan women and girls understand all too well the concept of fear and subservience. As human beings it is our responsibility to not only see and hear, but to listen and act.”

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Nina Berman September 4, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Kabul, Afghanistan, 1998

Nina Berman (b. 1960, USA) is a documentary photographer widely published, exhibited and collected, with a primary interest in the American political and social landscape. She is internationally known for her images of wounded American military, which received two World Press Photo awards and several American foundation grants. She is the author of Purple Hearts-Back from Iraq and Homeland, both published by Trolley books. Her images and book projects have been featured in Aperture, Art in America, Colors, Fortune, German Geo, Le Monde, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Sunday Times and Mother Jones where she is a contributing photographer. She frequently lectures on photography and is on the faculty at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in her hometown of New York City. Nina is a member of Noor Images.

About the Photograph:

“I took this image in Kabul, Afghanistan in May of 1998.  The women were attending a child birthing class organized by the United Nations. It was one of the few classes or social gathering places open to women. I was on assignment for Newsweek magazine with the writer Carla Power. Photographing in Kabul at the time was extremely difficult. Most everything  outdoors was male and off limits to the camera as  the Taliban had imposed strict rules against photography.  But indoors was another world, the world of women. I took this picture a moment after I had entered the room.  Some of the women, the two in the back, were nervous about revealing their identities, and so they covered their faces.  The others were curious about who we were and wanted to share their stories.  They appeared beautiful to me, in their ethnic variety, the shape of their faces. I was surprised by their make-up.   This was the first time I saw a group of women without burqas and I realized how the cloaking of their bodies and faces played with my perceptions and fantasies.  So for me this picture was a huge accomplishment in my attempt to show the individuality of Afghan women and to take them from this place of “the other” to something more accessible and familiar.”

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Stephen Dupont March 18, 2009

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Kandahar, Afghanistan 2005

Stephen Dupont (b. 1967, Australia) began his photographic career in 1989. He has produced photo essays from dozens of countries, including some of the world’s most dangerous regions: Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Congo, East Timor, India, Iraq, Israel, Rwanda and Somalia. Dupont’s reportage has been featured in The New Yorker, Newsweek, French and German GEO, The Sunday Times Magazine and Vanity Fair, and has earned him photography’s most prestigious prizes, including a Robert Capa Gold Medal citation from the Overseas Press Club of America; a Bayeux War Correspondent’s Prize; and first places in the World Press Photo, POY International, the Australian Walkleys, and Leica/CCP Documentary Award. In 2007 he was the recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography for his ongoing project on Afghanistan.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was taken in the village of Gombad, Kandahar, Afghanistan in October 2005. I was embedded with the US 173rd Airbourne as they swept through the village fighting and searching for Taliban insurgents and their supporters. An Afghan special forces soldier appears from a doorway in one of the village compounds after searching it for weapons or hiding Taliban. For me the photograph’s strength lies in the simplicity of the scene and the clash of war and peace. The soldier and the AK-47 clearly iconizes war whilst the child becomes the symbol of innocence, maybe even resistance, the scissors and rice sifter, objects of daily village life.”

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