INGULFED

(Notes for the Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah)

Archive for photography

Rocks and a Canon — الصخور في كانون

Afghanistan: Part Five

[This story has been submitted elsewhere and cannot ethically be published here. Until we can give up on “ethics”, I offer only a poor abridgment below. In order to read the full story complete with Bamiyan political history and portraits of kids: send an email to INGULFED at GMAIL dot COM with a sentence including the words “Rebel”, “aperture”, and “iPhone”.]

My guide had looked at me like I was crazy to walk around on the streets of crepuscular Bamiyan for no reason. Not because it was dangerous, just because… why? I was hoping to take some pictures of people — and I got everything I was hoping for. A dozen children ran and played and strangled each other (quasi-jokingly) and when they refused my offer to photograph them, I gave them my Canon Digiital Rebel XT — certainly the first time any of them had held a camera of any kind. It was their weapon. The tides turned.

The following link is the 97 pictures they took. (View as an automatic slideshow or just click through — these pictures span 5:57—6:07 p.m. on June 12, 2011.)

Pictures, here!

The camera was left on Aperature Priority, so that when they turned a particular dial they underexposed the pictures almost completely to black. Many of them still had information that could be recovered by squeezing the RGB levels. These ones look pretty darn cool. I’m almost positive that’s what the kids had intended.

Below, and at this link, is the video of their exploits, filmed with a concealed iPhone on Sar-e-Aasyab Street in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.

This photo and the following were taken by the children.


See all the photos from Afghanistan here, including more of the photographers themselves.

(Non)essential — غير) الاساسي)

The day after the United States began to evacuate “non-essential” staff from its Embassy in Damascus, I too bought a ticket out of Syria. Except to use that ticket I’d first have to fly in the other direction — I wasn’t even there yet.

I spoke to my parents from the 3:00 am bus leaving Abu Dhabi for an airport three hours away in the north of the UAE. “Do you hear the birds?” they asked. It was May in the suburbs. “Do you hear the air conditioning?” I asked back. While the next week never ceased to the vacation I needed it to be, it felt at first and at moments like a sprint towards a fire. I flew to the Levant to thaw from the sterility of the Emirates. Sure, fire can burn, but it warms until the bite.

So there I was, heading to the places my mother had never wanted me to go, at the times when the world said it was worst to go to them. And it was two days before Mothers’ Day.

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