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Kabul Korrespondence

Fresh, factual, and funky view of Afghanistan and the surrounding Central Asian region

Jalalabad Day 1

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I promised the students I would take them on a field trip. They nagged and nagged me until finally we found the time last week. (Thanks to Felix Features for the funding) With only had 12 people in the van this time and we headed off at the crack of dawn. We stopped off at a look out on the Kabul-Jalalabad Road compltete with tank!!

We were in Jalalabad by mid morning, droped off our belongings at the hotel and headed for the streets. Jalalabad is located near the Pakistan border and therefore is a very conservative Islamic city. When 10 photographers part the crowds in the bazaar, snapping anything that moves, they certainly make an impression.

....So, after a group huddle, we decided we could be more inconspicuos if we split up into smaller groups. Our plan worked and we were amazed at how far people continued to follow us. The students relaxed and blended in better with the crowd and the subjects acted more naturally.

I think this is the first ever recorded image of Afghan paparazzi in action.......
We also got a group photo infront of one of the imfamous ISAF billboards. After our hard day on the assignment, we returned to our hotel to fill our hungry bellies.

Now that the students were in the 'zone', they had many technical questions to ask. Late into the night I helped them download and edit their images and taught them related camera methods that they could apply in the field the next day. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the trip, for me, was the fact that rather than wanting to fool around or watch TV, they were eager to learn as much as they could in this short time they had.

posted by Travis, 10:40 pm | link | 5 comments |

Jalalabad Day 2

After a night of rickshaws keeping us in and out of slumber we awoke to a new obstacle in our path. Certain people had expressed concern about the students travelling to districts in the Nangarhar province. After our experiences yesterday with the Jalalabad locals, it was a valid point. Our 'travelling circus' might face more security risks in the povincial villages.

One suggestion was for the women to wear burqas. After some fooling around in the hotel room I took one of the students out into the city to test it out.

The burqa worked a charm in diguising the female photographer, but it also made the task of taking photographs more tricky. Back at the hotel we opted for plan B, which was to head to a more secure district. Out in the brick factories we found a wealth of subject matter. The students interacted with their subjects, explaining to them why there were photographers all over their workplace and one student even had a ride on a horse.

Next we conviced our driver to take us off road and up into the hinterland. Here we found a 5000 year old Hindu village and many curious, yet hospitable locals.

On top of a hill I gave the students a quick lesson in sports photography. Using fast shutter speed they had to try to catch the drying out dung in mid flight and be back in town in time for midday prayer.

Our second night consisted of a fish and chips meal (yes you get them in Jalalabad) and more critiquing of images in to the wee hours of the morning.

posted by Travis, 10:01 pm | link | 0 comments |

Jalalabad Day 3

Even though day three was a wash out which lessened morale a little, I still pushed the students out of the van a couple of times to brave the conditions and come back with "something". I told them emphatically "No matter what the conditions, a photographer always brings back pictures!!"

This week is exam week and then it's graduation! So stay tuned for just one more week to see the students complete the 5th Aina Photojournalism course.
posted by Travis, 9:51 pm | link | 0 comments |

Check it out: Straight outa Kabul!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Late yesterday we arrived back from our 3 Day fieldtrip to Jalalabad and surrounding districts of the Nangarhar province in Eastern Afghanistan. Over 4,500 images were captured by the 9 students who attended. I trawled through them over the last 24 hours and chose the best within the endless thumbnails on my laptop.

Keep in mind that 7 weeks ago most of the students had never used a professional camera, let alone created images worthy of the international image market.

Lets see what you think.......

Images by Hameed Abyoby

Images by Zamarai Fahim

Images by Tamim Wahidy

Images by Sohrab Kabuli

Images by Tamana Wahidy

Images by Robaba Rezai

Images by Jawad Jalali

Images by Sohrab Hakimi

Images by Masoma Rezai

Later this week (when I get time), I will post the images of the trip and the adventures we found on our way, so stay tuned for more!
posted by Travis, 5:28 pm | link | 13 comments |