Kabul snapshots, or, why I'm not paid to do photo work - Macleans.ca

Kabul snapshots, or, why I’m not paid to do photo work



Sayed Majidi, a German-born Afghan architect, talks to Ron Hoffman, Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan, during a visit to the Turquoise Mountain architectural redevelopment site in Kabul, Dec. 5. I was taking too many notes to take many effective photos on this trip; the fruit of all the note-taking will be in the next issue of Maclean’s.

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Kabul snapshots, or, why I’m not paid to do photo work

  1. Paul,

    Is your bicycle suitably armoured?

    Seriously though, will your article cover the redevelopment? That would be fascinating — architecture instead of politics for a change. Building things instead of building angst.

  2. That’s actually where the article begins, archangel. There is angst later.

  3. I’m assuming that with the Ambassadorial presence you were under a full security dome and not doing a Fung.

    Looking forward to the article.

  4. Part of my challenge was picking a pic that didn’t have one of the security guys in it. I assume they’d rather not be made famous right now.

  5. At bit less cushy than Paris, I would imagine.

  6. Better service though.

  7. I’m not looking for spoilers (surely I will get a sub to the print edition soon), but what was it like?

    I mean, I hear about journalists going off to dangerous places, spending all their time in a tiny hotel room, then getting escorted about by soldiers for their own safety, which frankly sounds pretty boring.

    Did you meet people? See interesting things? I’m not so interested in the war journalism but I am interested in your travel experience. You know, the stuff the editors think won’t sell magazines :)

  8. I’m gonna do a fair bit of supplementary blogging on Thursday, including answers to those questions, Steve. Vasically it was mostly briefings, with more than 40 military and civilian officials. Organized by DND, which will put many readers in a snit, but I made many requests for specific meetings and many were accommodated. And we did get out some. More Thursday.

  9. Fortunately, I’ve made it a personal policy to not actually “do” any “work” after Wednesday in any given week, so I’m anxiously awaiting your fair bit of supplemental blogging on Thursday, PW. I’m not sure if my boss is on board for this radical new three day work week policy I’ve implemented, but I can’t imagine he’d object, so long as I don’t tell him.

  10. Likewise psyched. At the time it seemed quixotic of you to be heading off in the midst of FUFU, but now we find you’re several moves ahead on a key topic. It’s almost like you’re playing . . . chess . . .

  11. Paul, I look forward to reading your article. After the wanton destruction of priceless historical artifacts by the Taliban, it’s encouraging to see Afghans like Sayed Majidi who are striving to preserve an ancient and fascinating culture, despite the obvious personal risk.

  12. Cloth merchants and tailors have almost identical arithmetic skills, yet cloth merchants are better able to organize their skills to solve price problems with familiar (and unusual) materials.

    So it’s obvious — armoured bicycles are more valuable. So it follows, crenelated battlements are a superior investment to one bedroom condominiums – especially in Kabul. If the condominium development has a moat, it will prove ineffective.

    Taliban can swim. The IOC is an equal opportunity proponent.

    Whereas, moisture repelling fabric, wrapped around a nascent suicide bomber, could deny enough electrolytic energy to render the bomber’s attempt — futile. Unless he/she is immersed in water.

    For this (obvious) reason, I advocate nuclear quilts. Or, in the absence of funding, oven mitts.

  13. No, seriously again — what is the music? Somehow I imagine flutes or recorders. Bagpipes?

    The echo at the base of the mountains would be awesome, but so would the soul-sucking emptiness of the desert. Like have you ever heard a wild turkey gobble-gobble into that sandy endless void?

    Or a vulture’s wings whooshing down to rend the carcass of a fallen anything?

    Afghanistan. It’s like asking my best friend if I can live again AFTER I’m dead.

    If there is a heaven, I hope the dead soldiers fill me in.

  14. Silly observation, but I noticed that Afghan people are very striking in their looks. A lot of the women and girls are quite beautiful.

  15. Yeah, the beauty of Afghani women got Flashman in no end of trouble.