AFGHANISTAN, NO STRINGS ATTACHED

by Sumit Dayal

Afghanistan

2007

Before leaving for Afghanistan in the Spring of 2007, I began to notice a sameness in the look of most things I was shooting. It was this idea that sparked me to carry along with other equipments, a plastic Holga camera to Afghanistan.

With this camera there were no expectations and therefore no pressure. I recorded scenes without an agenda. Unfolding scenes of daily life, static-ness of objects, childhood memories etc., … anything that would trigger somethng inside me, I would click and move on.

Three months later as I gazed into the Holga contact sheets, I found frames with vignettingm blur, light leaks, and other distortions. The camera ‘s inability to be controlled precisely had resulted in the creation of surrealistic scenes.

For me the low-fidelity aestethic of the camera ironically did justice in depicting my experiences in Afghanistan. Feelings of being alienated, of unanswered questions, of blurred moments and of a time vacum.