Kabul living through a military lens

By: Azizullah Hazara

Afghanistan, as most readers may know is an active conflict zone. Throughout history it’s been a land in which the social fabric of the society has been deeply involved with conflict and war. Living in a landscape such as Afghanistan the question of survival is the most significant one, for its people or may be for outsiders as well.

What survived in the landscape after each and every war/conflict was the ending and beginning of another one, this transition was my main interest in the image making process.


Looking for what survived in the landscape takes an almost archeological task for one to work with. Death and pain becomes more and more profound. Since it’s a wounded landscape and much of its effect is due to the ongoing war, I have seen and I have had experience of things/objects/materials which are only meant to be used for military purposes that have become part of the fabric of social life.


Summer 2014, during one of my trips back to the city that I often call home “Kabul” I went to a market where they sell military objects that international troops exchanged mostly for drugs with the locals or many local people have stolen from their camps; were being sold there. Amongst the items I found a military surveillance camera.

As Barthes said: “I was interested in photography… to explore it, not as a question but as a wound: I see, I feel, hence I notice, I observe, and I think” 


I am interested in work with that idea “because generally photography, and the practice of taking images, is highly subjective” if one considers documentary photography as the most subjective form of image making, I am interested in reversing that idea in my image making practice.



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