Archive for October 19, 2009

Preposterous Grandeur

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 19, 2009 by stevemccurry

In Christopher Kremmer’s  book, The Carpet Wars, he writes this about Afghanistan:

“A landscape might be denuded, a human settlement abandoned or lost, but always, just beaneath the ground lies history of preposterous grandeur. . . They are everywhere, these individuals of undaunted humankind, irrepressibly optimistic and proud.”

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Herat, Afghanistan, 1992

The beautiful city of Herat has been inhabited for over two millennia and has been fought over by invaders from Alexander the Great to the Soviets which picked Herat as one of their first battlefields.

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Bala Hisar Fort, Herat, Afghanistan, 2002

When I photographed there, it looked like Dresden after World War II.  But the war with the Soviet Union had ended by the late 1980’s, and families had started to return from Iran and other countries to rebuild their homes.

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A young man returns to his hometown of Herat, 1991

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School boy, Herat, 1991

Herat has always been considered to be a cultural center where the arts, literature, architecture, and knowledge flourish.   Herat is a treasure trove of ancient forts, citadels, mosques, and minarets.

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October, 2009

It is a privilege to have an exhibition of my photographs going on now at the Charhar Suq Cistern in Herat.  The Aga Khan Foundation is rebuilding the huge caravanserai in Herat which has four big branches.  Right in the intersection is the place called the Charhar Suq cistern.

Herat women looking at picture, 2009

Herati women looking at my picture of an orphan from Kandahar, October, 2009

During the first week, more than 1,800 people visited the exhibit along with 800 local high school students  field trips organized by the Afghan ogranization, Education Support Organization.

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