A man kneels at a grave in the ruins of a Sufi shrine to Bibi Jawindi in Uch Sharif, Pakistan. Sufi poetry and music brought me back to Pakistan many times over the last two decades. Watch for a whole Sufi series (including old video and audio recordings) over the coming weeks in my stream.
30 minutes before we were ambushed by the Taliban in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan our convoy drove by this young boy holding up a flower. The rest of the day was spent running and hiding in ditches and under trucks in a rain of bullets. You can read the story of how it turned out in the link in my header.
A portrait taken of me on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan by a box camera photographer using a paper negative technique (2007). The kamra-e-faoree or “instant camera” as it’s commonly called, is a big wooden box on a big wooden tripod that almost looks like a large format camera. But the inside of the camera works like no other! The wooden box is both a camera and a darkroom, with small trays of chemicals and the photosensitive paper stored within the box itself. The focusing is done manually by sliding a wooden plate with photo paper attached inside the box until the projected image is sharp (a light tight arm sleeve allows the photographer to reach inside to do all these tasks). The paper is exposed to the light through a lens with no timer - only a cap that’s pulled of and put back on. The paper negative is developed inside after being exposed then fixer is applied to keep it from fading before being removed from the box. It is then placed on another wooden plate, wet with water, this time outside the camera, to act as the subject of the next photo and the process is repeated to make the positive. Very few of these artists remain in Kabul and have been replaced over the last decade by digital photography and printing. #AfghanBoxCamera
I found original video of my 2007 tank wedding this week on an old hard drive! (See my IG story today) I’d never seen it before. The wedding was officiated by The New Yorker magazine staff writer Jon Lee Anderson who was ordained online days before. The wedding happened a week after we were both almost killed in a Taliban ambush in Oruzgan whole cover drug eradication efforts there. Written account in the link in my header. “The day we were ambushed by the Taliban, I was wearing a 45-pound flak jacket but no helmet. It weighed me down as I ran through empty villages, choking on fear, far from the DynCorp mercenaries we came with. Major Khalil was screaming into his radio as we raced deeper into the battle with a captured Taliban prisoner in tow. As I ran, the poppies coated my pants with raw opium stains...”
Winter in Kabul, Afghanistan. A government building near the former Presidential Palace at Darulaman, destroyed in fighting between Rabbani and the Hazaras in the early 1990's. More Kabul images coming!
The son of kite maker Noor Agha flies a kite in their yard on the edge of Kabul (which is also a graveyard). Every Friday on Nadir Khan Hill hundreds gather to fly and fight these kites, and chase those that fall.
To make the kites “fighting kites,” the strings are often coated in glass and glue to cut the competitor's string in mid air.
Another role in this game is "kite running," which seems almost as important as kite fighting. Once a kite is cut, the #Kite Runner chases after the fallen kite and tries to run it down to retrieve it. See the previous post to see Noor Agha with his more elaborate kites.
Noor Agha, in his living room with his children, is widely acknowledged as the best kite-maker in Afghanistan.
The key to a good kite, Agha says, is in the glue he uses: a green paste with several secret ingredients + rice paste. The this magic glue allows him to make a kite with no wrinkles in the tissue paper, keeping it perfectly flat and extra light.
The most simple kites he sells to traders for pennies each, but he charges hundred of dollars for his large kites with elaborate designs. (Next post shows his son flying the kites!)
Sunset in a Soviet tank graveyard on the Jalalabad Road outside Kabul, Afghanistan. In 2007 I married my wife Kristin on one of these tanks, it was the only isolated and quite place we could find. See the photo in my post from May 13 of this year.
Matt Redd in the last rays of hero light at the Dugout Ranch in Indian Creek, Utah (now Nature Conservancy land). Shot on assignment for @natgeo while documenting the land rights struggle of the former #BearsEarsNationalMonument.