Stephen Dupont’s Afghanistan photos – Live In the warzone

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Stephen Dupont - Northern Alliance soldiier, Bagram, Afghanistan, 1998

Stephen Dupont – Northern Alliance soldier, Bagram, Afghanistan, 1998

Published: October 7, 2019

Last updated:

Introduction

Australia has a couple of documentary photographers and Stephen Dupont is one of the most renowned and awarded. He’s also a photojournalist that has participated in several risky photographic scenes. He has an edge of the world, which also focuses on producing extraordinary photo essays from some of the most dangerous countries such as Afghanistan.

Ahmed Shah Massoud with Stephen Dupont, 1998. Jean-Mare Montali

Ahmed Shah Massoud with Stephen Dupont, 1998, photo: Jean-Mare Montali

Dupont’s Afghanistan photos

In his Afghanistan photos, Dupont leaves from the traditions of war photography that makes the war bigger or amplifies the drama of war. In his career, he wishes to reveal which forces are in play and at the same time, understand the reasons for and possible resolutions to the historical conflict.

To facilitate this, he employs an unusually varied visual grammar, using different cameras. One is his medium format Polaroid camera. His Hasselblad camera provides him with panoramic observations and almost 19th-century style portraits of Afghan locals. The cast members of the ongoing war are the Afghan citizens, both members of the public and the armed fighters, and also the soldiers and peacekeepers.

Stephen Dupont - An anonymous portrait on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006

Stephen Dupont – An anonymous portrait on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006

Stephen Dupont - An anonymous portrait on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006.

Stephen Dupont – An anonymous portrait on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006.

Stephen Dupont - An anonymous portrait on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006

Stephen Dupont – An anonymous portrait on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006

Inspired by Philip Jones Griffith

His observations belong heavily on the traditions of the late Philip Jones Griffith’s epic book Vietnam Inc.. Dupont himself revealed that he’s a great fan of Jones Griffith. He adores him because he went beyond the closed doors into the battlefield to uncover the soul of the U.S. military machine. Jones Griffith revealed what it should be like to be a US soldier. His actions gave a humanistic standpoint to something very inhuman.

Philip Jones Griffiths - G.I.'s with Wounded Vietcong, Vietnam, 1968

Philip Jones Griffiths – G.I.’s with Wounded Vietcong, Vietnam, 1968, photo: magnumphotos.com

Dupont’s decade-old interest in Afghanistan

Dupont has been observing the war in Afghanistan for a long time since they went into combat with the Russians in December 1979. He said that he got an inspiration to go and see for himself after the revolution of the Mujahedeen. He continued to say that Afghanistan’s history had some impact on him though Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King1. He adds that he never expected that photographing Afghanistan would affect him so much.

Dupont had a close connection with this country and wanted to be versed in whatever was happening. He believes there’s no other place in the world that is like Afghanistan. He got inspired to photograph the country for the people, especially those that didn’t have the voice.

Dupont says that Afghanistan got into his nerves and has never left. While he was living in London in the 1990s, he wanted to find an excuse to visit Afghanistan and see what is happening. Though by this time, the whole world’s attention was in Bosnia & Herzegovina, he chose to turn to Central Asia.

He read in a newspaper that in 1993, thousands of refugees in other countries were fleeing their homes regarding a civil war that was going to Afghanistan. Dupont felt that they were running from one conflict to the other, which inspired him to go and cover the story. With his camera, he would capture every detail of the on-going events.

Dupont was not disappointed by his several trips to Central Asia. He states that Afghan citizens have a beautiful country. He adds that it seems that now the citizens of this country have known nothing else rather than war.

Stephen Dupont - Afghanistan.

Stephen Dupont – Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont - One car, three coffins. The entrance to Jamhuriat Hospital at the time of the occupation during the Afghan Civil War, Afghanistan, 1993

Stephen Dupont – One car, three coffins. The entrance to Jamhuriat Hospital at the time of the occupation during the Afghan Civil War, Afghanistan, 1993

Stephen Dupont – The destroyed idyll; soft light, green slopes, a quiet river, a woman on a donkey, a combat helicopter, Yangi Qala, North Afghanistan, 1998

Stephen Dupont – The destroyed idyll; soft light, green slopes, a quiet river, a woman on a donkey, a combat helicopter, Yangi Qala, North Afghanistan, 1998

Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars

His last documentation, Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars, 1993-2012 features a couple of images from Afghanistan. The photos cover everything from civil wars to the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s. He also shows the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom. His work also relates to the ongoing war against terrorism in Afghanistan, conducted by the US and others.

Stephen Dupont - The Grand Buddha Cave at Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2005

Stephen Dupont – The Grand Buddha Cave at Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2005

Stephen Dupont – Oruzgan, Mazar, Afghanistan, 2002

Stephen Dupont – Oruzgan, Mazar, Afghanistan, 2002

A voice for the Marines

Dupont also asked soldiers to write in a small moleskin journal. He would ask them a simple question: Why am I a Marine?. The journal has since been acquired by the U.S Library of Congress.

Stephen Dupont - Why Am I A Marine?

Stephen Dupont – Why Am I A Marine?

Stephen Dupont - Why Am I A Marine?

Stephen Dupont – Why Am I A Marine?

Analysis

Dupont’s remarkable body of work mainly focuses on marginalized people and fragile cultures. He captures the main subject of photography with great intimacy, even while working under challenging circumstances. Dupont wants to send a message to the broader community and at the same time, help get solutions. His pictures irradiate the timeless aptitude mortality has to seek the last option of government; war as a solution for political differences.

In an interview, Dupont believed that his photography would bring a change and at the same time make it clear on some of the happenings in Afghanistan. He continues to say that photography is the most powerful medium. Some intense or sensitive photography moments can switch down the attacks and eventually make people think and utterly initiate people into taking actions.

Photos

Ahmed Shah Massoud
Stephen Dupont – Ahmed Shah Massoud, Cracked Windscreen, Faizabad, Badakhshan, Afghanistan, 1998

Ahmad Shah Massoud uses the radio speaker in his jeep near Feyzabad. He was one of the leaders in the fight against the Taliban, a devout Muslim and a strict opponent of extremist interpretations of Islam. His troops, the Northern Alliance, controlled only ten percent of Afghanistan at the time the photo was taken. The rest was controlled by the Taliban, 1998

Stephen Dupont – Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the Afghan resistance (Northern Alliance) against the Taliban regime. Talequan, Afghanistan, October 1998

Stephen Dupont – Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the Afghan resistance (Northern Alliance) against the Taliban regime. Talequan, Afghanistan, October 1998

Stephen Dupont – Ahmed Shah Massoud, Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont – Ahmed Shah Massoud, Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont – In the Fayzabad Mountains, Afghanistan, in 1998. Commander Massoud, with his friends in the early evening, just after the prayer.

Stephen Dupont – In the Fayzabad Mountains, Afghanistan, in 1998. Commander Massoud, with his friends in the early evening, just after the prayer

Stephen Dupont – Former Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud in front of a map of the country in his office in Kabul, Afghanistan, 1995

Stephen Dupont – Former Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud in front of a map of the country in his office in Kabul, Afghanistan, 1995

Kabul
Stephen Dupont – Maiwand Avenue in the old city of Kabul, Afghanistan, 1995

Maiwand Avenue in the old city of Kabul. The largest part of the destruction was carried out by militias of the conflicting party Hizb-i Islāmī, who stayed in the mountain slopes during the civil war, from where one can overlook this part of the city, 1995

Stephen Dupont - Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006

Stephen Dupont – Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006

Stephen Dupont - An orphanage for war orphans, Kabul, Afghanistan, 1995

Stephen Dupont – An orphanage for war orphans, Kabul, Afghanistan, 1995

Other portraits
Stephen Dupont - A wounded Afghan boy who had been shot in crossfire during a battle between US soldiers and Taliban in Gonbaz village, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, 2005

Stephen Dupont – A wounded Afghan boy who had been shot in crossfire during a battle between US soldiers and Taliban in Gonbaz village, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, 2005

Stephen Dupont - Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont – Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont - Afghanistan.

Stephen Dupont – Afghanistan.

Stephen Dupont – Fayzabad, 1998

Stephen Dupont – Fayzabad, 1998

Stephen Dupont - Gymnasium, Kabul, Afghanistan, 1993

Stephen Dupont – Gymnasium, Kabul, Afghanistan, 1993

Stephen Dupont - Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006

Stephen Dupont – Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006

Stephen Dupont – Kabul, Afghanistan, 1993

Stephen Dupont – Kabul, Afghanistan, 1993

Refugees
Stephen Dupont - An Afghan woman in a burqa in the Shamsatoo refugee camp near the Pakistani Peshawar, Afghanistan, 2001

Stephen Dupont – An Afghan woman in a burqa in the Shamsatoo refugee camp near the Pakistani Peshawar, Afghanistan, 2001

Stephen Dupont - In the 1993 Saki Tajik refugee camp in Afghanistan. A couple of Tajiks are having their picture taken to celebrate their wedding, Mazar-I-Sharif, 1993

Stephen Dupont – In the 1993 Saki Tajik refugee camp in Afghanistan. A couple of Tajiks are having their picture taken to celebrate their wedding, Mazar-I-Sharif, 1993

Stephen Dupont - Tajiik Girls, Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan, 1993

Stephen Dupont – Tajiik Girls, Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan, 1993

Soldiers
Stephen Dupont - Afghan Army soldiers patrol near the village of Narang with their American allies, Afghanistan, 2005

Stephen Dupont – Afghan Army soldiers patrol near the village of Narang with their American allies, Afghanistan, 2005

Stephen Dupont - Afghanistan.

Stephen Dupont – Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont - Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont – Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont - Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont – Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont - During the war in Afghanistan in 2005, US soldiers of the 173rd Airbourne, seen above, burn the bodies of two dead Taliban militants in the village of Gonbaz, Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont – During the war in Afghanistan in 2005, US soldiers of the 173rd Airbourne, seen above, burn the bodies of two dead Taliban militants in the village of Gonbaz, Afghanistan

Stephen Dupont - Nangahar Province,Afghanistan, April 29, 2008

Stephen Dupont – Nangahar Province, Afghanistan, April 29, 2008

Stephen Dupont - Soldiers leave a home in Gonbaz village near Kandahar after searching for hidden Taliban fighters and guns, Afghanistan, 2005

Stephen Dupont – Soldiers leave a home in Gonbaz village near Kandahar after searching for hidden Taliban fighters and guns, Afghanistan, 2005

Stephen Dupont - US marines on patrol in Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 2005

Stephen Dupont – US marines on patrol in Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 2005

Stephen Dupont – In the Khanashin fortress in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2009. The US Marines of the Delta Company, second reconnaissance battalion, play cards in their encampment.

Stephen Dupont – In the Khanashin fortress in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2009. The US Marines of the Delta Company, second reconnaissance battalion, play cards in their encampment.

More

More Afghanistan

More war photography

All images: Stephen Dupont/stephendupont.com & Contact Press Images/contactpressimages.com unless otherwise noted.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Would_Be_King
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