Simon Norfolk

The work Simon Norfolk produced in Afghanistan is a body of work which massively inspired me, to the extent that hours after seeing just one of his images I bought his book and never looked back. This Man’s perspective of war is refreshing and admiration.

The reason why I feel his work has inspired me to such a great height, even though it isn’t in a field which overly interests me is his mentality behind the images. He went to Afghanistan with the mindset of living there and experiencing what its like to be in this war-zone, to hear peoples stories and to literally feel the pain the people are going through. This gives his images an almost empathetic feel to how he’s shown the place. Not the stereotypical approach we seem to be feed from the modern day media. Whom quickly venture out of the compounds of places like Camp Bastian and snap away at the most horrific things they can find, while under huge protection from the military.
Norfolk has taken an almost parallel approach to Afghanistan, he hasn’t gone out there to snap the complete opposite to exactly what he hates that the media portray, because he is almost admitting in his images that this horrific side to a war zone can definitely not be avoided, but he has portrayed it in a way which almost finds unseen beauty about the places where this devastation has occurred.

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This can be seen to its full potential with the covering image for his book “Afghanistan Zero” This image incorporates the story of this man, who is a balloon seller, which was illegal in Kabul at the time of this image. However now they line the streets, only making pennies, but making many children happy. (1)
The second thing to note when looking at this image is pretty obvious, the massive destroyed building to the centre of the image. This is something Norfolk cant hide from his images, and would be very wrong to avoid, but by not making a massive deal out of it makes the destruction seem more depressing and morose.
Finally is the beautiful dramatic sky and general colours of the image, this adds a strange feel of warmth to the feel of this picture, making one confused as an image of this magnitude and story would normally be portrayed in a much colder and depressing status. 

Is his work Art Photography or Docummentational Photography? I came to the conclusion that his work is definitely Art Photography. This is due to the mannerisms he has in the photographs, he hasn’t taken advantage of the Afghan people or the surroundings, he has shown many different aspects to this war zone, both beautiful and disgusting.
Now that is something I want to open up to debate with everyone on this blog…
Is his work Art Photography or Docummentational Photography?

You can find this book on Amazon for just £40

(1) – Afghanistan Zero, Simon Norfolk, 

(All rights to these images are reserved and are the property of Simon Norfolk)

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