© Reto Albertalli / phovea

I saw her coming from far. I was on a bridge letting my young students take pictures of the Kabul River. She saw us too, visibly perturbed by the cameras, and wanted to change sidewalk. But it mustn't be easy walking on ice, carrying a child and not seeing much from under that burka. People here don't want you to take photos of women. And I was surrounded by scarfed men I was portraying. I knew her coming and got competely focused. Pointed my camera in her direction from the height of my hips. Positioned myself in space trying to imagine the trajectory, the distance... never looking at her, and shot. Now the outcome is not exactyl how I would have done watching through the viewfinder. And that makes the image a stranger to me. As someone else took her. I look at this and I am impressed by this kind of evel sculpture, kind of floating Dark Vader... hiding nothing else than a mother carrying her child in a cold winter day. It makes me think. I wish I could have a better access to people's lives, for images about the gap between private and public here...

FAITH (17.02.12)

©Reto Albertalli/phovea 2012

Some really nice messages reached me, through and thanks to the strange universe of digital communication. On this blog, e-mailed, per skype and via shortmsg. Virtual head-up s, who do make a difference. Makes you feel alone, still, but never lonely. And you start building up some faith. Again. You desperately want to believe. Beyond religions (...). And as nothing seems to come: you know it's time to give. Stop thinking too much and just give. The rest will come by itself, I believe.


During photoschool I used to read a lot of Bukowsky's (of course). My days were interesting and I couldn't wait to live a photographer's life. A lot of things he wrote marked me at the time (of course). One was that we spend the most part of our life waiting. And waiting. All I didn't want was a waiting life. I wanted to be constantly outside, constantly stimulated. My brain sometimes seems to function like an editing program, like photoshop bridge. He chooses the good frames, changes it sequence and what a great story we can get! Or not. Today I have been so positively surprised discovering this blog has a fallower I don't personally know, form Hungary!! She wrote a comment for the first time telling fallowing retangolo since some years. Wow!! This made me visit my own blog and going back reading my own thoughts. Well that looks like a great time I've had 'til now! With it's ups and downs but constantly going for something. I think I am in the midst of another (boring) crisis. Right here in Kabul. Afghanistan is one of the names who impressed me most. I used t think of the day I will be there as life-changing. I fixed it in my thoughts as others fix goals to reach, like wealth, love etc... and I right now feel that it is so stupid. Pretty unspecific. You just got to get yourself a ticket to kabul. Step out of the plane and here you are. Or not? Am I not seeing the incredible chance anymore of having been that privileged to be here in november with the international red cross, of beeing here now in a centre working with kids and still having friends at the icrc inviting me for drinks and shower? The first time I have seen a woman in burka at the airport, and that's no joke (unfortunately haha) I felt like somebody could, in front of it's superstar. Today I don't see any exotic in it anymore. Wich is a great thing. The best of things, in fact. With the result that I am longing for next steps, setting some new and strange goals for my photography... Phisically suffering of it. Is that normal? Is this passion or just paranoia? How come that everything I achieve gets down to normal? Am I never ever satisfied? Or am I a lazy nut waiting for things jsut to happen? Or I just don't have the nuts for going for the real thing? Or do I predict things that much that I know exactly not wanting to be traumatised for a couple of handshakes and some "likes" on facebook... if ever. Or am I asking myself the wrong questions? For the first time I'm wondering if I shouldn't get myself a real job. Photography is a dying profession. It seems in the next days a swiss mag I have contact with, is sending a journalist. But taking the pics herself. Beside of this being a reflection of our times... I am here and all I am deeply longing for is an assignment in a place like this one. Moving with the red cross jeeps and taking the pictures for a magazine. Probably underpayed. Kinda just for the glory. Is that an unrealtistic dream? Putting the bar to high? I now hope having put this thoughts on the blog will keep em out of my mind. And I want my doubts to be part of this fragile trace I leave with not much attention... I also want to remember all this time waiting, and waiting...

ICE COLD (10.02.12)

Brainstorming on subjects to treat with the kids is fun. We gave them the theme "water". Everyone came up with waterfalls and lakes, wich must be the photographs people here love hanging on their livingroom's wall. Only after came drinking, washing etc... When I asked what happens to water when it's really really cold they said the water gets cold. They knew that by boiling it becomes steam. But the snow all over Kabul? A gift of God.

OUTAWINDO (07.02.12)

When I am not inside the centre's walls, I'm driven through Kabul by taxi. No idea where I am. My eyes can't get enough and I would like to record it all, knowing how much gets forgotten. So I shoot randomly out of the window. The locals with me, keep repeating I can get problems, but since I'm dying to walk the streets I can't hold myself from clicking and clicking. Waiting to get into a subject.
Yesterday we visited very shortly a refugee camp. The conditions with the cold temperatures are worse than they allready are. It's tough seeing this kids bearfeet in the snow, walking to get frozen water to bring back to the tents. It's the consequences of this war. And it's hard to take. I couldn't help but to fix it on camera as good as possible. Nothing but "deju-vu" clichés. Wich makes it even sader. I sent a selection out in the evening hoping that by publishing I could "DO" (...) something. But of course I didn't even get answers to our mails. Today we drove around demanding for permissions for a project I'd like to get done wtih my students. Can't wait to be out again.

SNOW (03.02.12)

I almost felt home this morning. I woke up late, in a warm room, in a big and fresh bed, had a little hangover headake and outside the window everything was under lots of white snow. I had a real italian coffee. Even a real hot(!) shower. This can only happen when you keep contact with friends working in ngo's here! They might invite you to dinner and give you some drinks on thursday night. Fantastic. Feel reborn. And as I arrived back to the centre by cab I found an ongoing huge snowball battle... lots of laughters, lots of fun... It's calvin and hobbes afghan version! It's kids universally.

OUTSIDE (01.02.12)

Had just time to get a coat, put my shoes on and grab my cam. A group of students were going up to the mountains surrounding Kabul. And as yesterday I was "complaining" about feeling in a cage, today I found myself suddenly on top of the world! Wonderful and what fun with the kids!!
In the afternoon I finally started my serious classes and told three girls and three boys (sort of photo dream team here) they have to take responsability for what the world gets to see of the country, and create the stories they feel they want to tell. Can't wait to hear the ideas they will come up with, tomorrow. I hope that way stepping away from the clichées, I admit wanting to capture too.

both pictures Kabul 2012 © Reto Albertalli / phovea