Friday, 6 December 2013

John D McHugh | Afghanistan, A Tale of Three Cities

Photo © John D McHugh-Courtesy Al Jazeera
I've gone bored with the repetitiveness and lack of imagination of what passes for photojournalism these days, and I was disinterested in featuring any new work that came across my desktop.

However, I thought Afghanistan: A Tale of Three Cities was different. It's a series that filmmaker John D McHugh has been making for Al Jazeera, looking at Afghanistan through the prism of 2014, when international troops are scheduled to "withdraw" from the country. The photographs are in monochrome, and depict life in the Afghan cities of Herat, Mazar-e Sharif and Jalalabad.

I was especially intrigued by the photograph above, showing currency exchange offices surrounding what appears to be a small mosque (top middle). The Arabic script on its wall reads "this is a noble masjid"... places of mammon surrounding a place of worship? Really? But then I remember that Mecca...the holy epicenter of Islam was and is crowded with trading and mercantile activities, and has been so since time immemorial.

John D McHugh is a multimedia photojournalist and filmmaker based in London. He was a daily press photographer, and worked as a regular stringer for The Associated Press and The Guardian before taking a staff photographer position with Agence-France Presse. Since 2007 he has been freelance again and is represented by Reportage by Getty Images.