14x11 in. March (2005). Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan

Doves-Gazelle Samizay_2
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“When I went there in March 2005, Mazar-e Sharif was more intact than Kabul. It was more conservative than Kabul. There weren’t very many women walking around and those that were all had burqas on. I was probably one of the only people wearing a scarf whereas in Kabul, you see more women around and they are wearing both burqas and scarves. We went there for the Afghan New year, which is typically celebrated in Mazar-e Sharif. I was a little bit scared to go, but really excited to see a different part of Afghanistan.

In general, Afghans did not care if I took pictures of them. Some even posed and were willing to talk to me.

I should note that I was not supposed to bring a camera into the mosque. I didn’t know this and had 3 cameras in my bag. My mom was with me and told me not to give them my cameras because they would steal them and not give them back. We told the woman that wanted to take them that we were going to ask someone else. Then we snuck past the next security person.  So this picture […] was taken incognito without anyone knowing. The soldiers were there to keep the peace. There were many people at the mosque celebrating and it was a security concern.  In general, there are soldiers at checkpoints when you are driving but really, there is not enough security in Afghanistan, and I think it’s a joke.

I do think that the West has a misconception of Afghanistan. Mainly because all they see is war and terror. […] War is a reality of Afghanistan’s history, but it’s not all there is to the country.  There is peace and beauty as well as unrest. At the end of the day, people are just trying to get by like Americans are here [in the US]. I think that this photo is political, cultural, social and also has a message.

People are struck by the beauty this image evokes, which is in such strong contrast to the other images of Afghanistan they are aware of.”

Gazelle Samizay (2007)


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