JOIN ME, A 18 YEAR OLD PHOTOGRAPHER, TO MY AFGHANISTAN!
I am Millad Rajaby, born 18 years ago and raised in Mazar-e-Sharif; a city in the Northern Part of Afghanistan.
My profession is photography; a lovely career, but very risky in Afghanistan. I shoot everywhere and every person, just looking for the best topics to attract the attentions of public and to bring a solution to a problem.
Afghanistan is a beautiful country which has many great landscapes.
Miserably, war has turned my country into pieces; otherwise, we would see thousands of tourists visiting it every day. Maybe they will start coming soon, as the security situation is satisfactory now compared to the dark era under the Taliban.
Being with different people and going to different places taught me new facts about people, life and nature.
Far from war I found the beauty of my homeland in its nature and among its people. War has always been a dominant force in my country, but life has been going on always at the time. That is precicesly what I want to make visible through my photography.
I found that pictures are an effective way to share my view of the country I grew up in. Sometimes it feels like the entire world is laying down on the nearby hills, I watch the sky and blur the lines between it and the dusty ground.
Thinking about the hardships of the Afghan people, I find hope that incites me to picture people’s life and their strife to live.
I believe a photo cannot be a success unless it stems from love and humanity.
I want to show that despite all we have had to endure here, love, in the end, is victorious over hate.
I also believe that in photography even an unimportant subject can be a great subject. Diversity is a God-given gift and Afghan’s heterogeneous ethnicity along with its diverse landscapes are a near perfect representation of it.
Difference is a token of integrity and it is the precise issue I try to prove in my photos. The face of a grandmother covered with the dust of age and the face of a child covered with the dust of earth working in an adobe field. All my photos tell the same story, that life is unstoppable and we are condemned to live.
When my elder sister bought me my first small Sony camera, I only knew how to turn it on and off. Later on, I started capturing photos of everything around me. At home, I used to ask every guest for a photo shot. Finally my father gifted me with a D90 camera.
In retrospect, this might have been the happiest day of my life.
My very first photo shot was from a servant while sweeping the Blue Mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif. When the old man noticed, he shouted on me and I was scared and fled. I was concerned over my camera.Then I stopped and went closer to him and I was told to delete it. I did it. This was how my first day as a photographer came to an end.
That day I realized that photography is not easy and I felt that I needed to learn more and had a long way to go.I didn’t know anything about the camera.I had no idea what automatic and manual system was. But now, I know the functions better.
In my profession, I found quite a few new friends in different ages and classes, many of them street children aged 8 to 15.
One of the most touching things I see on the job is the reaction of the beggars, street children and servants when I take their picture. Frequently they tell me that they had their photo taken many times before, but still nothing had changed for them. I remained silent and had nothing to say.
Photography is not an easy task in a country like Afghanistan. Everynow and then someone will come at you and try to punch your face and break your camera. I frequently had no other choice than to run. People even warned me that they planned to ruin my life.
Some have attempted to steal my camera. I have been followed many times, but luckily I managed to loose them. I have to be cautious, I am too young to die