Afghanistan is a collaboration by the photographer Chris Steele-Perkins and the Afghan poet Sayd Bahodine Majrouh. Steele-Perkins has created a profoundly personal homage and celebration of Afghanistan, a place he visited numerous times in the course of five years. Throughout that time, the country was ravaged by a succession of wars, as it continues to be today.
"It was heroic, beautiful, violent, twisted, gracious, and tragic. The experience of being there works its way into one's being; an infection of the soul demanding that you return.
- Chris Steele-Perkins
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 Bohodine 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.