Is photography luck? I would say at least 50% absolutely. But you make your luck by anticipation, experience, knowing your gear, empathy with the circumstances you find yourself in and understanding the people that surround you by being in synch with the energy of the moment. For me at least photography is a spiritual connection.. call it Zen perhaps? The whole point of Zen practice is to become fully aware, here and now. This shot is nothing more than a happy accident. Had the boy remained still I would have been happy still.. but to move and create movement blur connects him to his elders and for me becomes an image that has more impact because of him. What does the portrait mean to you? Well only you have that answer..
Down a side alley in Herat I came across a group of children playing with a ball. I framed this young girl who just stood there completely unfazed, smiled at me and I raised my camera and she just stood as she is in the image minus the smile.
She was about 10 years old and she must now be around 21. After the fall of the Taliban the people of Herat were full of a positive outlook with great promises being made by the West. Some said that nothing would change and in time the Taliban would make a return. Ive wondered many times what has happened to the children in Herat I photographed for Warchild.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed” Dwight D Eisenhower
Street portrait taken in Herat, Afghanistan early January 2002, weeks after the ‘fall’ of the Taliban. The boy and I never spoke, merely smiling at each other as I gestured to take his photograph. He may have only been around 13 years old but his energy was of an older man. He was gracious and far from what some people in the West think of Afghanistan, Afghan’s are wonderful people. Now aged around 23 I often think of him and his wonderful energy he gave me with no words.. just a smile. I wonder what became of him?
Later on the same day I spoke to a shop owner and he spoke of his hopes that Afghanistan “would settle into peace and there would be no more war” but he said even though that was his hope the reality would be that “if the West stayed there could never be a real lasting peace anywhere in the country”. In 10 years his country has not moved one inch forward to peace because of outside influences but then again outside influences have never left Afghanistan alone.