Friday, August 13th, 2010

Hey You! Send a Photographer to Afghanistan!

Conceptual photographer Nicholas Grider has started a Kickstarter project to embed in Afghanistan. Grider has extensively photographed "Fake Afghanistan"-the training sites in the U.S. for Marines-and now he wants to photograph the real one. (The "real" one?) Give a little!

10 Comments / Post A Comment

Slava (#216)

"Fake Iraq" I think

Grant G Brown (#3,366)

I have a cousin voluntarily living in Kabul. She insists it's a liveable, decent city. I insist she's deluding herself and there's no reasonable justification for staying there.

carpetblogger (#306)

Why? There are a gazillion photographers embedding in Afghanistan right now.

Nicholas Grider (#6,879)

There are only two of us in a position to embed in both real and fake. (The other is my friend Danielle, who went but who's not a photographer.) Nobody else gets to embed in Fake Iraq because they closed it off.

carpetblogger (#306)

I guess I don't understand why anyone one would pay attention to "fake" more than/as much as they pay attention to "real" coming out of Afghanistan. Which is to say not at all.

Nicholas Grider (#6,879)

The "angle" is smashing together the real and fake, as well as looking at how the US can't physically occupy the Mojave as a way of looking at how it can't physically occupy other locations as well….

Nicholas Grider (#6,879)

Well, the military is spending billions of dollars on building enormous Mideast theme parks where you learn how to kill before you get killed. Fake Iraq is only going to get bigger, which says a lot about US policy in the mideast over the next few decades.

Ultimately though it's different strokes/folks. I mostly can't understand or appreciate painting, for example, because it seems like a stupid idea, but I still understand that other people think it's important.

I don't think it has to be entirely tied to the obvious question of Iran. There should be a focus from Sudan to Somalia to Yemen and on to Pakistan. Cold War training was much more straightforward in terms of terrain and allied governments.

That may be a naive way of looking at it, that we're just "preparing" for any eventuality, but… well, that's why we should see the contrast. From the same lens.

Regardless, I think the West is a fascinating repository of American reach and hubris – from dead mining towns to the toxic debris of the arms race. I don't think people appreciate how little of it has been untouched. We don't know unless we have some sort of record…

Nicholas Grider (#6,879)

No, you're right. The big questions for me are how Fake Iraq/Afghanistan succeeds aesthetically and pragmatically as well as simply what being a deployed soldier (or Marine, etc.) looks like–not the action shots but the wrestling matches over cans of the soda and the book club conversations I've had with bored 19-yr-olds watching the sides of the road for 10 hours at a time for glimpses of (fake) IEDs.

I want to see the same thing that I wanted to see at Fake Iraq: what does this look like, and how does what it looks like relate to how it works? That's not as sexy as left-politicized or rah rah reasons, though. (I mean, I really am a 'conceptual photographer'.) And I'm also expanding beyond the military in the US southwest looking at our civilian/military relationship with the Mojave without inadvertently doing nature photography.

Also, I can't shut up in comment sections.

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