Friday, 22 May 2009

Alixandra Fazzina: TIME's Pakistan Essay

Photograph © Alixandra Fazzina-All Rights Reserved

A paragraph in the TIME magazine article titled How Pakistan Failed Itself starts off with this:
Pakistan is a complicated country, one of religious and political diversity, fractured by class and ethnicity. Pakistanis like to quip that they have a population of 170 million — and as many different opinions.
It is accompanied by Pakistan Under The Surface, a slideshow of photographs by Alixandra Fazzina. The thrust of the article and photographs deals with the notion that in reality there are two Pakistans; one that is secular and "Westernized" while the other is under the growing influence of the Taliban or local Islamic orthodoxy.

Alixandra Fazzina's photograph of an Afghan woman nursing her child, not only won The Travel Photographer's Photo of the Year, but won innumerable other (and more important) awards. However, this photo essay gave me the impression that the photographs were chosen haphazardly with no logical sequencing, and thus trivialized the issue. All I really saw was images of young women clubbing in Karachi and others of chador-clad women living in squalid conditions (as the one above)...the work of a photo editor whose knowledge of Pakistan and its issues is superficial at best.