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Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Balloon-Seller of Kabul

Former teahouse in a park next to the Afghan Exhibition of Economic and Social Achievements in the Shah Shahid district of Kabul. Balloons were illegal under the Taliban, but now balloon-sellers are common on the streets of Kabul, providing cheap treats for children. Photograph by Simon Norfolk.

I deliberately waited until the weekend to post this link to Simon Norfolk's website. Norfolk is an English photographer (he was actually born in Nigeria) whose name and work are well-known in Britain but perhaps not known well enough elsewhere. His work is powerful and affecting, and, in addition, serves as a persuasive demonstration of how photography can be made to serve the cause of authorship. Going beyond the coherence of even the traditional photo essay or the documentary portfolio, Norfolk's work, taken as a whole, creates a thesis, even an argument, that is uniquely his. But I urge you to wait until you are in a serious frame of mind—and have some free time—before you visit his website; you could be there a while.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON (thanks to Ailsa McWhinnie)


Blogger Unknown said...

Some of the most arresting photography I've seen in a while. The second to last shot in the Scenes from a Liberated Iraq had me looking at a photograph of a wall, thinking, wondering, just being absorbed. Really powerful.

Beautiful, tragic photography.

4:38 PM  
Blogger imants said...

The simplicty of this presentation of it all is most effective His ability to marry image and text are quite uncanny leaving his audience in virtually no man's land contextually. The work is even more effective if placed within a histotical timeline. I showed the site to my nephew 14 years of age ( not into current affairs, but games etc}, all he said was that he wanted to know more

7:33 PM  

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