43,000 Words Worth
October 1, 2009 4:16 PM   Subscribe

43 photographs of Afghanistan provide a striking sense of personal identity to a conflict that is often remote and abstract.
posted by gallois (22 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Man, I hate my job, but DO. NOT. WANT. this one.
posted by dersins at 4:24 PM on October 1, 2009

Absolutely brilliant photos.
posted by Saddo at 4:50 PM on October 1, 2009

Way cool, memories.

I drove through #8 daily.
I taught English to battalions of cute little girls like #10.
Hung around #24 a few times... don't go to the west of there, that district isn't keen on foreigners.

Hope to get back there some day.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:51 PM on October 1, 2009

Meatbomb, did you feel any sense of optimism being over there?
posted by gallois at 5:05 PM on October 1, 2009

Beautiful photos. I pictured A-stan as being nothing but burned out huts and mountain wastelands -- while there's a lot of that, apparently, there's also a lot of beauty. It's still home to someone.
posted by jpolchlopek at 5:22 PM on October 1, 2009

Beautiful. Haunting. I really like 27, the birthday one...

"Hey guys, ya'll care if I just like, yeah, its my birthday, I'm going to light these candles up on my bed and maybe listen to my ipod.... " (He speaks in a southern accent because he is German.)
posted by zach4000 at 5:49 PM on October 1, 2009

nthing #27. that almost brought me to tears... it's an amazing picture, taken at the right moment.

in fact, i found almost all of these pictures to be good, both from an artistic standpoint as well as with respect to social consciousness.

more journalism and reporting like this is what would ideally be covered in major american news institutions. if we had a more steady stream of media from afghanistan, we wouldn't have needed to see a picture like that of the mortally wounded US soldier as much. [which, objectively speaking, was wrong to have been run but totally necessary from a political standpoint.]
posted by the NATURAL at 5:55 PM on October 1, 2009

@the Natural: As I said in the introduction of the entry, I plan to do an entry like this every month now, precisely because of what you say - I agree that there isn't enough of this sort of coverage of the story, and want to do what I can [I run Big Picture, btw]. Glad you guys like the entry, most of the kudos should go to the photographers who risk a lot to make meaningful, artistic images like these.
posted by kokogiak at 6:11 PM on October 1, 2009 [6 favorites]

kokogiak: Congrats and thank you for editing a wonderful piece of reportage/art. it's work like this that gives sense to the deluge of information we receive via network TV sound bites.
posted by gallois at 6:48 PM on October 1, 2009

Still... it will be a grand pipeline someday.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:16 PM on October 1, 2009

#40: Oh, Damn, Canada.
posted by Decimask at 7:17 PM on October 1, 2009

Pornography of conquest, nothing more.
posted by Mr.S at 8:05 PM on October 1, 2009

Pornography of conquest, nothing more.

Either you didn't actually look at many of the photos, or you are an idiot.
Regardless, thanks for playing.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:36 PM on October 1, 2009

#40: Oh, Damn, Canada.

With a setup like that, I would have expected Ricky, Bubbles and Julian to be hanging around there somewhere.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:54 PM on October 1, 2009

gallois: not really, no.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:29 PM on October 1, 2009

Looked at all of the photographs. Personal insult easily ignored. Have a nice day.
posted by Mr.S at 11:40 PM on October 1, 2009

I've gazed at these for quite some time.

#11: learning about the Hazara in Bamyan and how they're threatened by ethnic cleansing I imagine being that man, taking refuge with my baby daughter in a cave at 9000+ feet. A very moving picture.

Thank you.
posted by jouke at 12:34 AM on October 2, 2009

I was thinking of doing a post on something similar, but might as well add it here. If you're interested in reading a very personal account of fighting in Afghanistan, I can't recommend more highly Patrick Hennessey's The Junior Officers' Reading Club.

It's the account of a young British officer of what it's like to join the army, go to Iraq and then - the bulk of the book - fight the Taliban on a daily basis in Afghanistan. Painfully honest, well written and the best [British] book of its type written so far about this campaign.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:39 AM on October 2, 2009

Amazing photos; #31 sums it up for me. As to calling them 'pornography of conquest' - a facile comment which suggests you haven't thought about the situation or the photos very deeply. The set as a whole, and most of the individual photographs, show way too much ambivalence about the West's role there: many seem to me about Afghans and soldiers making do as best they can in a fucked up situation, which they recognise is only going to get worse. What is worrying is that they start to remind me increasingly of the Vietnam photos. Going back in a month: not looking forward to it.
posted by YouRebelScum at 3:48 AM on October 2, 2009

The Big Picture has photo sets like this a few times a week, and I am always really impressed with them. One of my favorite RSS feeds.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:20 PM on October 2, 2009

Peter W. Galbraith: What I Saw at the Afghan Election
posted by homunculus at 12:43 PM on October 5, 2009

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