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    They were very young Taliban, so they all had cell phones. Some of them had Britney Spears ringtones on them. They started taking some selfies with us, so I thought then that I could take some pictures of them. The first half an hour everyone was stressed and looking at each other without doing much; it was very tense. After I took out my camera and started taking a few pictures, and I showed them, it was easier….when I know a picture is important I don’t really think that much about anything else.

    Reportage by Getty Images photographer Veronique de Viguerie recounts her first meeting with the Taliban in 2006. Hear more on BBC World Service.

    Afghan kids play with a prosthetic hand in south Kabul city, October 2010. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Reportage by Getty Images)

    Saeedi’s Life in War, which examines the effects of persistent conflict on daily life in Afghanistan, will be on exhibition at Bronx Documentary Center this week. More info here

    "What are the advantages of using an iPhone?"

    Photojournalist Benjamin Lowy talks to Richard Aedy, of the Australian Broadcasting Company Radio Network, about the virtues of using a mobile phone in the field. In the above video, Lowy, who has made mobile-phone images while working in Libya, Afghanistan, and his own backyard of New York City, explains how he chooses the right tool for the job. As for the question above, Lowy says:

    When you shoot with an SLR or rangefinder or any type of camera, you’re taking this huge black box and throwing it in front of your face. And you’re blocking out your ability to interact with your subject. Sometimes that can be good if you need if you need to cut your empathy off, so like if you’re at a funeral and you need to pull yourself emotionally out of a situation. But a lot of times I’m just talking to someone out on the street, and all of the sudden I am cutting the level of empathy and the level of interaction and intimacy with people by putting a camera against your face. So by using the phone I can keep eye contact with the people I’m photographing.

    Hear more segments from ABC RN’s ‘Media Report’ on the show’s website.

    Lathmaar Holi celebrations in the Indian village of Barsana in 2013. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

    Join Reportage by Getty Images and the Australian Consulate-General in New York to celebrate the opening of “Daniel Berehulak: Afghanistan, India and Pakistan,” at Site/109 in New York on June 18th. Daniel, an Australian native, was based in New Delhi for over five years and the exhibition features a wide array of his work from the region, from Pakistan’s 2010 floods to India’s Maha Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest gathering of Hindu pilgrims. He has received several awards for his work including this year’s prize for POYi’s freelance/agency photographer of the year.

    The exhibition will be on display through June 27th. The opening reception is scheduled as follows:

    Wednesday, June 18th, 6-9pm
    109 Norfolk St, New York, NY

    We look forward to celebrating Daniel’s achievements and viewing some great photography.

    A young soldier in the Afghan National Army carries out operations in Mazar-i-Sharif, North Afghanistan. This week, President Obama outlined plans for continued United States military support in Afghanistan through 2016.

    Photo from Life in War, by Majid Saeedi.

    Robert Nickelsberg at UC Berkeley on April 15

    As a photographer for Time Magazine and the New York Times, Robert Nickelsberg gained a close-up look at the last 25 years of Afghan history, as it emerged from war with the Soviet Union to civil war to Taliban rule and, finally, to America’s war after 2001. His collected work appears in his new book “Afghanistan: A Distant War.” On April 15, he will be speaking about his work in the country with UC Berkley journalism chair Lydia Chavez and Tim McGirk of the school’s Investigative Reporting Project.

    Read more and RSVP here.

    Remembering AFP Reporter Sardar Ahmad

    Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of colleague Sardar Ahmad, the 40-year-old Afghan journalist with Agence France-Presse, was shot dead along in Kabul with his wife, his 5-year-old daughter Nilofar and 3-year-old son Omar. His youngest son Abuzar, not even two, is in a coma.

    Caption: Afghan soldiers carry the casket of slain AFP reporter Sardar Ahmad as they leave a local hospital during funeral ceremonies in Kabul on March 23, 2014. (Photo by Roberto Schmidt, AFP/Getty Images)

    AFGHANISTAN: 8-month-old Samiullah, suffers from what doctors call Marasmus, a sign of advanced malnutrition. Daniel Berehulak/Reportage by Getty Images AFGHANISTAN: The body of a suicide bomber killed by ANA personnel lays on the ground at a police station. Daniel Berehulak/Reportage by Getty Images SOUTH AFRICA: Young parishioners offer prayers during Sunday mass in commemoration of the late Nelson Mandela. Daniel Berehulak/Reportage by Getty Images INDIA: Naga sadhus bathe on the banks of Sangam during Kumbh Mela. Daniel Berehulak/Reportage by Getty Images

    Reportage photographer Daniel Berehulak was recently honored with POY’s Photographer of the Year award. We spoke with Daniel about the stories that mean the most to him, and how he brings a new approach to his daily news coverage:

    What do you feel is the most important story that you worked on this year?

    One of the most important stories that I covered this year was the worsening hunger crisis in Afghanistan. I accompanied New York Times journalist Rod Nordland to Helmand province and also to Kabul to document the large increase in malnutrition amongst children. It was harrowing photographing so many children that were so malnourished, crying in hospitals sometimes four to a bed, others laying on the floor. Hospitals like the Bost hospital in Lashkar Gah, the capital of war-torn Helmand province, had been registering significant increases in severe malnutrition among children. Countrywide, such cases had increased 50 percent or more compared with 2012, according to U.N. figures. Reasons for the increase were uncertain, and in dispute. Most doctors and aid workers agreed that the continuing war and refugee displacement were contributing factors. Some believed that a growing number of child patients may be at least partly a good sign, as it meant that more poor Afghans were hearing about treatment available to them.

    How often do you experiment with different formats and what made you decide to shoot Kumbh Mela in panoramic?

    I try to approach things differently, especially if the event lends itself to a different format. I am quite active on Instagram, filing pictures of daily life and outtakes from assignments or news events, such as when I covered Nelson Mandela’s farewell. With the Kumbh Mela I wanted to show the scale and magnitude of the event – this was believed to be the largest gathering of people on the planet; over 100 million people visited the area over a 55 day period.  It was difficult on the ground and attempts to cover the story with a drone were not an option due to safety risks. I experimented with my iPhone and an app that had a 17x 6 format, which I felt lent itself to the Kumbh Mela. Along with the daily coverage that I filed to Getty I shot on the side with my iPhone, framing the incredible scenes with the panoramic app.

    What does this award mean to you?

     To be recognised by one’s peers is a huge honour, especially by Pictures of the Year International which is one of the only awards that has a photographer of the year award, and in a time when competition is so fierce with so many great photographers working as freelancers. I am glad to have covered important stories this year which bring some light to the issues. 

    See more of Daniel’s winning images on Getty Images In Focus

    An Afghan woman learns how to knit a dress for a doll at a workshop sponsored by American NGO Mercy Group  A farmer puts his harvest on a tank left behind in war in Panshir, north of Kabul A man gives his children their daily ration of opium. In some areas, parents addict their infants by puffing opium smoke in their face so they will sleep more and give them more hours to work.

    Life in War

    While Afghanistan has been one the most heavily documented countries over the past decade, few photojournalists have approached it with the depth and perspective of Majid Saeedi. Saeedi, a native of Iran, was not allowed to work in his home country for four years, following his coverage of the turbulent 2009 Iranian election. This exile led him to embrace the people of Afghanistan as his main subject. ‘War is not the only thing going on in Afghanistan,’ he writes. ‘Sharing a common tongue, I found that I could live alongside the Afghans, understanding, laughing and crying with them.’

    Saeedi was recently honored with the FotoEvidence Book Award for his work. See more from Life in War.

    Tonight at 10:30 GMT, Al Jazeera English will be airing Reportage photographer John D McHugh’s new documentary “A Tale of Three Cities.” John writes:

    Afghanistan: A Tale of Three Cities is the latest in an occasional series that I have been making for the People and Power strand of Al Jazeera English, looking at Afghanistan through the prism of 2014. Having spent much of the last eight years immersed in the war, I wanted to talk to ordinary Afghans about their lives, and what 2014 means to them. Last year I made a film called Kabul: City of Hope and Fear in much the same vein, but this time I decided to go to examine some of the regional cities; Herat in the west, Mazar-e Sharif in the north and Jalalabad in the east. What I found was a country struggling with unemployment, violence, kidnapping, corruption and drug addiction, but most of all there is a lack of stability, and with the US withdrawal next year it is hard to see how things will improve.

    See more of John’s photographic work on the Reportage Web site.

    Caption: Afghans watch a motorcycle rider perform in a “Wall of Death” in a park in Herat on September 20, 2013. (Photo by John D McHugh)

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