This evening Commerce & Culture will be traveling to Kabul to conduct a workshop with New York Times staff photographer Jan Grarup. The workshop marks the beginning of a new cooperation between C&C and several Afghan photo agencies and leading independent Afghan photographers. The project is supported by Danish Center for Culture and Development and the Embassy of Denmark, Afghanistan.
Decades of war have shifted the focus of photography in Afghanistan from capturing the vast landscapes to covering the war and its often tragic aftermath. Since the 1970's, photographs of Afghans and Afghanistan have represented a nation preoccupied with war, a nation lacking opportunities or resources to represent itself.
When the Taliban came to power they did not allow any depiction of living beings. In fact, since 1996 they banned most photography altogether. The Taliban even went so far as to alter advertisements or signs that showed human and animal heads. After the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, press restrictions were gradually relaxed and private media grew, but photographers and journalists in the new Afghanistan operate in one of the world's most complex and contested information environments. Insurgents, NATO forces and the Afghan government are competing to control the dominant storyline. At times, the lines between propaganda, intelligence and journalism blur.
In this turbulent media landscape it is more important then ever that the voice of the Afghan photographers are heard, both internationally and domestically. Afghan photographers have the possibility to gain access to and create editorials about people and places that might be inaccessible for outsiders. Using an insider perspective they can present a more nuanced portrait of the new Afghanistan to an international audience.
Please mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries about the project.