Friday, November 21, 2008

Answering Some Questions

I'm going to start this post answering a couple questions that came up on the previous two posts. Ello asked if people minded getting their picture taken or if they didn't notice me.

It depends. Younger people are less hostile to picture-taking (the under 30 crowd) than the older generations. As I try to take mostly candid shots rather than poses, I try to be inconspicuous and I'm usually not noticed. Some situations can be downright dangerous taking pictures, such as when photographing a warlord and his security team. That is best done at long range with a concealed camera.

Ello also commented that my pictures contrast to the reported violence. On purpose for sure, but violence also isn't as widespread as often reported. Typically there is a flurry of activity, and then weeks of relative quiet...apart from the normal crime one would expect in a big city filled with people trying to scape a living together.

For a while the Karzai government was trying to bow to Westerners who did not want the death penalty in Afghanistan. A week ago he basically said he didn't care what Westerners thought and hanged ten criminals convicted of multiple murders and three serial rapists. In the eyes of the locals, that was justice. Sorry, but they just don't care about liberal ideas when it comes to convicted violent criminals. The general attitude here was that finally some criminals got their due.

Now what did she want me to get?

Security team outside a house.
Even people who are not "warlords" employ armed security
if they can afford it.
There is no shortage of armed men willing to provide security.

Waiting for a ride.

Donkey dumpster diver having a snack.
With all the trash on the streets you'd think there were no dumpters.
In reality what happens is that the dumpsters get dumped
to feed the goats and other livestock.
The humans take anything else useful.
This donkey's owner was collecting soft drink cans.

Veggie vendor having a snack.
Note the size of the red cabage!

Road up into the cliff houses.

This driver tried to take a shortcut around the "roadblock."
This was a dirt road that was being paved.
They often use dirt or other debris to block off construction.

Getting the meat to market.
Any and all means of transport are used.

Market at the lower end of cliff house neigborhood.

Big sis and little brother.
Little brother seems surprised by something.

I've had a bad day!
Man on "beggars row."


Vodka Mom said...

I've been wondering how you are!!!! The shot of the meat in the trunk of the taxi creeped me out a bit. However, these trips to your "neck of the woods" always fascinate me. and scare me. for you.

Be safe, and please keep these shots and this incredible information coming!!!

Charles Gramlich said...

I agree, the taxi hauling meat was a bizarre image. That one will stay with me.

debra said...

I love the contrasts---colors, textures, cultures. Thanks again.

Barbara Martin said...

The photo of hauling the meat creeps me too. I can imagine the mess in the trunk.

I'm glad you're posting this information about Kabul, otherwise we would probably never know the real story about the citizens' lives.

Love those donkey photos.

Dawn Anon said...

Love the photos and I enjoy visiting your blogs. My oldest son is likely to be deployed to Afghanistan in a year -- so i enjoy seeing/reading more reliable depictions of what's going on there.

Thank you for sharing.

M ary said...

Thanks for the photos. Stay safe!

Travis Erwin said...

I'd wondered myself about the models for you shots. Great pics as usual.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Thanks for some terrific pictures and the accompanying information.


The Muse said...

Hi J.L!

It's a given the media blows things out of proportion, always have, always will. It is for this reason I rarely watch the news anymore.

The image with the cab is interesting to say the least. I don't think we'd get away with that here.

I've never liked having my picture taken. I don't consider myself photogenic at all. Perhaps those in Kabul feel the same? I think you do an awesome job capturing real to life images for us. I feel enlightened every time I visit.

I hope you have a good Thanksgiving. I hope you will get some of the traditional dishes of home with your meal. I'll be thinking about you.

Do take care.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Hope you get some Turkey on Thanksgiving and don't get too homesick!

Ello said...

Great photos! I love that first one! Great candid shot. The one of the meat didn't bug me as much. It almost looked like stuffed animals anyway!

And that last shot, is that graffiti on the walls?

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving dinner and praying you safe and get home soon.

J. L. Krueger said...

Vodka Mom,
Our Internet connection has been flaky of put it mildly. Makes staying in touch more difficult.

Sometimes it gets hard deciding which bizarre image to post. I have so many!

Yep, this land is a land of contrasts.

They did have the front halves wrapped up.

The east and south are the "hot spots" with scattered violence everywhere else, but nothing is as bad as the media makes it seem.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks and my models thank you.

Thanks and thanks for stopping by.

Long time no see! Thanksgiving was nice given the circumstances.

Yep, got the turkey! And some Roast Beast too!

You see lots of phone numbers on the walls. For a good time call? And some other graffiti too, I'm working on a graffiti post. Pretty good Thanksgiving too.

aryaman bhatnagar said...

Dear sir,

I work for an organisation called The YP Foundation which is a youth organisation based in New Delhi, India. It aims to empower young people by engaging them with social issues.

Im currently heading a project known as "Bridge The Gap", which is a cultural exchange project working with Indian and Afghan students based in the city. We aim to engage the two communities through the medium of literature, films and discussions as an important first step towards promoting cultural understanding and sensitisation between the two communities.

As part of the project we are publishing our own magazine "The Bridge: Understanding Afghanistan Today". We seek to project an alternative image of Afghanistan than the one which is promoted in the media by focussing on the post-2001 developments of Afghanistan; its culture, heritage and history; the role of media, terrorism and external forces in shaping its current situation; the personal experiences of people on working with Afghans or in Afghanistan; the relations of Afghanistan with other countries etc.

Since you maintain a blog and write about Afghanistan we were hoping you would be able to contribute something for our magazine as well!

For more information on the project, magazine or organisation please feel free to contact me at

Thank you so much and hoping to hear from you soon with a positive response!