Preposterous Grandeur

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.”


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.


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.


A young man returns to his hometown of Herat, 1991


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.


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.

16 Responses to “Preposterous Grandeur”

  1. Le tue fotografie parlano da sole….stupende ciao da un tuo ammiratore

  2. duncandeejay Says:

    good looking photos Steve. Did you get into the Qala for a look around?

  3. Both landscape and Portraits inspires me a lot.

  4. Congratulations! These are wonderful photos.

  5. What a treasure of photographs that you took of Afghanistan, in the 90’s. Many from around the world appreciate and value them, especially the people of Afghanistan. Thank you for opening the door to this world. I wish this country and people peace.

  6. Truly wonderful that they are able to enjoy your work, for really it belongs to them.

  7. Stunning images Steve – from a photographers perspective, these are art defined, but from a human perspective – your images have always been evocative of truth as it exists.

    Thanks for sharing and all the best with the show.

  8. very stunning images, great job Mr Steve…

  9. andrewgould Says:

    Wonderful series of images, Steve, and it’s great that they’re getting to see your shots from their country.

  10. Robert Pljuscec Says:

    Beautiful! Congratulations on the show Steve…it is nice to see that people of Afghanistan will see your photos!

  11. Thank you for your amazing images. They open my eyes to a world I know little about. Congrats on the exhibition too.

  12. The picture of the orphan is really moving.

  13. How many faces of dead would come in their mind before they smile?

    And will they be able to smile after that?

    Do they really know what is joy, peace, love and happiness?

  14. Thanks so much for the photos. Dark mysterious passionate inexplicable.

  15. Stunning and thanks so much for sharing your images with all of us who regularily visit your blog. Congratulations on the show. I sure do hope that that country can find some peace in the years to come – it sure has known enough war.

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