The Country’s Soul
The relationship that forms between people and their homeland is beyond words. I liken it to a connection between a mother and her child, the land absorbing the latent suffering of her people. The history of Afghanistan has been checkered with unrest. Decades of tribal warfare, the Soviet war, ethnic conflicts and the Taliban insurgency have resulted in extremely difficult conditions for the common man to find security and contentment. I knew about these trying conditions before travelling to Afghanistan. However, after intense conversations with many Afghan people, I came to understand, empathize and admire their situation. Happiness might be elusive, but this does not prevent them from working hard. They dream of a future of unity, peace and development.
Irving Penn, in his series, Small Trades took studio photographs of the working class of London, Paris and New York between 1950-51. Shot against a neutral background, dressed in their uniforms and holding their tools of trade, the portraits conveyed a sense of elegance and nobility, a kind of paean to the working class.
Within the specific context of Afghanistan and its history, I wanted my portraits to contain a sense of the dignity of the workers. The pain and aspirations of the people is obvious in their faces, and yet I wanted to capture the pride and nobility of the very hard working class. The aim is to show an inseparable connection between the workers and their homeland, juxtaposing portraits along with aerial photos taken from different regions of Afghanistan over the span of one month. The photographs were shot between Kabul, Pul-e-Khumri, Baghlan province and Mazar-e-Sharif.
All images from the series The Country’s Soul Portraits: Mazar-e-Sharif Aerial photographs: Pul-e-Khumri, Herat, Kabul and Balkh, Samangan and Baghlan provinces 2013, Digital
*به نمایش در آمده در نمایشگاه عکسAfghanistan Renewal دهلی - هند
*به نمایش درآمده در موزه ملی هنرهای معاصر ایران - تهران
حمید سلطان آبادیان