Twenty years of career in over twenty thousand photos in Afghanistan. This is the immense legacy that Shah Marai, chief photographer of the local editorial board of Agence France Presse (AFP) in Kabul, left to history following his death last April 30th. Another nine journalists lost their lives following a double bomb attack on the same day.
Pictures that are often unique and captivating, and we will especially treasure those that do not evoke war, a paradox in this country devastated by more than thirty years of conflict. Smiling children, coloured balloons, tired workers, discreet or conquering women: Marai’s sky blue eyes, famous among the journalists who lived in or passed through Afghanistan after the end of the 90s, preferred to dwell on the daily life of his compatriots. Faces, situations, landscapes: facets of a young and misunderstood country that does its best to cope with a daily onslaught of fear and deprivation. Smiles and despair frozen in time that this self-taught photographer who had taken his first photographs challenging the prohibitions of the Taliban instinctively knew how to capture.