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Afghanistan war pictures – The Washington Post

Afghanistan war pictures – The Washington Post

Afghanistan war pictures – The Washington Post

An Afghan soldier and a US soldier patrol the poppy fields of Kandahar during the 2011 opium harvest. Details from a 360-degree panoramic made with a toy camera.  (Ben Brody)
An Afghan soldier and a US soldier patrol the poppy fields of Kandahar during the 2011 opium harvest. Details from a 360-degree panoramic made with a toy camera. (Ben Brody)

Suspension

In August 2021, I found myself somewhere off the coast of Alaska on a small cruise ship with my wife and her family. It was a beautiful and quiet time – the trip of a lifetime given to us by my father-in-law. One of the best things about the cruise was the lack of internet or phone access which allowed for some much needed peace and quiet.

Every now and then, depending on where we were along the coast, I’d get a few bars on my cell phone, which allowed me to check into the ship’s free, limited internet, which included a light version of the New York Times. One day, when I logged in, I saw a picture of a Taliban soldier resting on the hood of a Humvee – Afghanistan fell into the hands of the Taliban after the United States left the country.

For a moment, the peace and serenity that surrounded me on that ship shattered. It brought back deep memories of my little time in Afghanistan when I joined the 82nd Airborne Division in Khost Province. I always looked back at the time and wondered what happened to the young soldiers I spent time with. But even more so than them, I’ve always wondered what happened to the Afghan people I passed as I sat in a Humvee raising dust along the valleys of the countryside.

As it turns out, I am, by far, not the only one whose memories have been brought back to another time. Photographer Ben Brody, who served in Afghanistan with the US Army and then returned there to work as a journalist, was also thinking about it. When the country was falling into the hands of the Taliban, Brody’s translator contacted him for a long time, fearing for his life and the future of his family.

Brody and a group of other military vets tried to do everything they could to help in this nightmare scenario. This is Brody in his words:

I and a few war veterans combined our resources and did our best to help our Afghan friends escape Kabul on military planes. Many veterans and experts have done the same, in an effort that has been described as “Digital Dunkirk”. It would have been a more apt analogy had it fogged up the English Channel and most of the boats crashed into each other and sank. For weeks we coordinated sporadic intelligence reports and collected State Department papers that would allow our Afghan colleagues to board a plane to the United States. The problem was navigating the ocean crowds at Hamid Karzai International Airport, managing the violent Taliban checkpoints, choosing the right gate, and presenting the correct password to the correct Marines at the gate.

“For eight days, connected via WhatsApp, we were all agonizing over every meter to get to the airport from 300 meters away (where the crowds started) to the gate itself. It only worked with two of our friends who flew to safety. Most of our friends are still in Afghanistan, dealing with the reality of Taliban rule, and what that means for their wives and daughters’ prospects for education and equality.”

In 2011, Brody caught a toy camera that took 360-degree photos with him during the annual poppy harvest in Kandahar. He mostly took it as an icebreaker to quell any tension that might arise between him, working as a journalist, and the fighters. At the time, he was mainly using digital cameras for his work and had no actual plans for the images he made with the game’s camera.

In the winter after Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, Brody began working on a book of photos he had made with this toy camera. He thinks of the book that followed, “300 m“(MASS Books, 2022) as a sort of conclusion to his very original first book about his time in Afghanistan,”Member attention service. “

“300 AD” is a wonderfully unique book on its own. The images created with the game’s camera are beautifully imperfect. Their lack compounds the chaos of “being there”. The neglect of images creates a kind of poetic and interpretive aura.

“Cheapness” and imperfections in image quality also help convey the feeling of being on the ground. Everything flashes quickly, fragmented, fleeting, fragile and fragile. It evokes the feeling I had while cruising along the arid landscape of Afghanistan in a Humvee with the radio on constantly or dragging into a messy tent to load carbs—everything covered in a thin layer of dust.

The construction of the book is also unique. She collects Brody’s 360-degree panoramas in an accordion shape, and as he told me, “You can flip it over like a regular book, or put it on the ground where it stretches 16 feet. There’s something surreal about the photos, and the structure of the book prompts me to try to make sense of it, which is impossible.”

When you open the book cover, you’re greeted with a agonizing WhatsApp chat from Brody and Co.’s attempt. The latter at the airport gate, a harrowing experience recreated by the cacophony of images inside, shattering one’s sense of peace and serenity. This is appropriate. The war and its aftermath have done much to amplify the pain and uncertainty of many lives.

You can learn more about the book and buy it over here. You can see more of Brody’s work on his website over here.



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