"Afghanistan" is a splendid production by the photographer Chris Steele-Perkins in collaboration with the Afghan poet Sayd Bahodine Majrouh.
Steele-Perkins's has created a profoundly personal homage and celebration of Afghanistan, a place he visited numerous times in the course of five years. "It was heroic, beautiful, violent, twisted, gracious, and tragic," Steele-Perkins explains. "The experience of being their works its way narcotic ally into one's being; an infection of the soul demanding that you return." Throughout that time, the country was ravaged by a succession of wars, as it continues to be today. Steele-Perkins has sought to capture the continuing cycles of everyday life despite the reality of war, resulting in a collection of images of wonder and violence, terror and joy.
In order to do justice to this long-suffering country, Steele-Perkins felt the appropriate response was not a book of photojournalism, but a photography book that transcends journalism. His 'message' is one of hope and as a result, the photographs are unforgettable rather than sensationalistic. Excerpts from the masterpiece of the greatest Afghan writer of the 20th century, Sayd Bahodine Majrouh, who was assassinated in 1988, deepen the significance of this book in a way that no journalistic commentary ever can. All of the photographs are reproduced in miniature and appended at the end with captions by the photographer.
Revealing and poignant, "Afghanistan" is a visual and aural testament to a fascinating country.
Size: 12 3/4 x 9 1/2"
Publisher: Westzone Publishing, Ltd. (London, 2001)