The other day I found myself in San Francisco City Hall with time to kill. I remembered that my friend SFMike had written up an exhibit of photos from the Afghanistan war. Fortunately for me, the show is still on exhibit in the basement corridors. They will be up until May 13.
The four photographers, James Lee, Eros Hoagland, Teru Kuwayama, and Lynsey Addario, have all trekked with US, other NATO, and Afghan National Army troops. But these are not battle photos, but photos of life, even if life among armed forces. There's a lot of praying, some eating, and a surprising numbers of photos of troops sleeping. In a war zone, grabbing a nap must sometimes be a blessed escape. Many of the images are arresting; most broaden what we can know of that faraway place and those ever-s0-different people.
This photo by Teru Kuwayama especially grabbed me, reminding me of Greg Mortenson's framing story of the Kyrgyz horsemen who invited him to build a school in the Wakhan corridor.
She goes on to describe receiving hospitality in war-torn lands as well as assistance from fixers and drivers, finding a grudging acceptance from male photojournalists and sharing hazards in the midst of the chaotic Libyan battlefield. It's all worth reading.