Monday, 9 May 2011

Simon Norfolk: Afghanistan

"This current war is tragedy, is an imperial game, is a folly...
Following the welcome demise of Bin Laden, I thought it timely to feature photographs or a multimedia essay on Afghanistan. I didn't want it to be of the conflict, or some other cliches, so this short movie on Simon Norfolk's Afghanistan project seemed much more appropriate.

In October 2010, Simon Norfolk began a photo series of Afghanistan, influenced by the work of 19th-century British photographer John Burke. Norfolk’s photographs of "modern" Kabul is presented along with Burke’s original portfolios.

Norfolk is critical of the Afghanistan war and of journalists who report from the safety of armored compounds, and especially of photographers who travel around Kabul with a security details. He was told on his arrival that he couldn't photograph freely in Kabul except with bodyguards, but he did.

The accompanying audio is really wonderful. The Afghan music and songs are hauntingly beautiful, and the call to prayer (towards the end of the piece) accompanied by pictures of Kabul at dawn may give you goosebumps.

A welcome change from the depressingly unimaginative photojournalism work we see out of Afghanistan.