Winner European Publishers Award for Photography 2002
NOW OUT OF PRINT
‘Afghanistan is unlike Sarajevo or Kigali or any other war-ravaged landscape I have ever photographed. In Kabul in particular, the devastation has a bizarre layering; the different destructive eras lying on top of each other. I was reminded of the story of Schliemann’s discovery of the remains of the classical city of Troy in the 1870s; digging down, he found nine cities layered upon each other, each one in its turn rebuilt and destroyed. Walking a Kabul street can be like walking through a Museum of the Archaeology of War – different moments of destruction lie like sediment on top of each other. There are places near Bagram Air Base or on the Shomali Plain where the front line has passed back and forth eight or nine times – each leaving a deadly flotsam of destroyed homes and fields seeded with landmines.'
The landscapes of Afghanistan are the scenes that I knew first from the ‘Illustrated Children’s Bible’ given to me by my parents when I was a child. When David battled Goliath, these mountains and deserts were behind them. When Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, these fauna and flora were over his shoulders. More accurately, these landscapes are how my childish imagination pictured the Apocalypse or Armageddon; utter destruction on a massive, Babylonian scale bathed in the crystal light of a desert sunrise.’ – Simon Norfolk.