Upon seeing a photo from an essay titled ’14 Stunning Photos of Afghanistan’ earlier this week, I was reminded of how so many great, hard-to-find photos from around the world are actually shot by the US Army. It turns out (according to some on-line sources) that aspiring army photographers must first enlist, but once in, have access to some of the finest photography training there is available.
Meanwhile, on a related note, I came across another interesting photo essay in The New York Times by photojournalist Adam Ferguson, who creates a compelling story using both words and images from a school based in Afghanistan. I highly recommend reading his thoughts accompanying his photos of Afghan girls in school.
Take this great excerpt for example:
‘.following a group of girls through cathedral-like light, watching faces be illuminated and then dropped into shadow. It was one of those moments as a photographer in Afghanistan when there was no man to tell me I couldn’t photograph the girls, no gatekeeper, and in their numbers the girls seemed to be free of taboos.’
To get some context for this particular piece, I also recommend reading the related article, ‘Hazaras Hustle to Head of Class in Afghanistan.’ It details a ‘new generation’ of Afghan youth, of the Hazara ethnic minority, (which makes up over a quarter of the Kabul population) still greatly marginalized in Afghanistan, but slowly moving towards equal status after the expulsion of the Taliban-in part through education. There’s apparently a particular emphasis amongst the Hazaras on educating women the same way as with men. I think that’s positive news, considering approximately only 1 in 7 Afghan women over the age of 15 can read and write.