Reporters Without Borders
Zalmaï has been travelling around the world for the last 20 years. From Africa to Asia, from Cuba to the USA. In the field he takes his time, engages people he wants to photograph in conversation, waiting for the instant when a look, a silhouette or a gesture suddenly ring true. Goind beyond the seductiveness of his photos, he keeps asking himself: which ones are true and which ones are false? Always trying to get people closer to each other, since they are seperated by so many clichés. Quite naturally, it is Afghanistan, his home country, which attracts him again and again. But Zalmaï wants to transcend the images of violence so as to "open people's eyes to a reality which is much richer than war and to place the beauty of mankind in the middle of all this misery."
Languages : English, French, German, Italian
SILENT EXODUS: Portraits of Iraqi Refugees in Exile
In early 2008, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that an estimated 4.4 million Iraqis had been displaced from their homes as a result of the war. While nearly half were uprooted internally, the remaining citizens escaped to neighboring countries. The New York Times called the escalating crisis the largest exodus since the mass migrations associated with the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Today, the situation of most refugees remains dire; months and years into forced flight, many are running out of money, food, and the good will of their hosts. In Silent Exodus, Zalmaï chronicles the plight of Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Over the course of several trips made in 2007 with the support of Human Rights Watch, Zalmaï interviewed refugee families, collected their individual stories, and photographed them in their homes, where many remain in uncertainty. Although frequently harassed by neighbors, they are still afraid to return home, given the instability and violence that lingers in Iraq. Rarely told and under-reported, this is a compelling story, which deserves a wider audience.
No. of Pages: 96
For more than a quarter of a century, Afghanistan has been ravaged by war, drought, and famine. In this magnificent volume, Afghan-born photographer Zalmaï returns home after twenty-three years in exile to rediscover his homeland at a crucial moment of transition. Working in rich color, and frequently using a panoramic format that embraces the vastness of the sky and sand, Zalmaï immerses us in the ravaged landscape and the bustle of reconstruction. My project tries to capture the resilience of a people who have rarely known peace, their optimism in the face of overwhelming odds and the very real worry that the country remains on a knife-edge and could easily slip back into a nightmare from which it is still trying to escape.
11.75" x 8"
80 four-colo and 5 duotone
Zalmaï's photographs capture the slow, distressing drift of exile and dispossession: spectral figures against a stormy sky, a sheared row of peaks framing a figure like a sacred relic, horizons of men, both of this world and of some timeless land. This is a documentation of a journey through ambiguous territoriesfrom Cuba to India, Mali to the Philippines, Indonesia to Egypt, and a return to Zalmaïs native Afghanistana search for place when ones own land has been destroyed.
The changing interplay of composition, light, and faces infuse the photographs of Zalmaï in this book, which speaks of transformation and disenfranchisement not just of place but of spirit. Most of all, his work is about the fragility of presence.These are photographs that have been shaped over centuries by ideas carried in mens soulsnot places given by the gods in their placid beauty. Instead, the interiors of these photographs are tangled and jagged, meandering and menacing, of this earth even as they reach to the sky. In the aggregate, they sketch a fragmented story of dispossession, of a voyage of the spirit, of the complex emotions of return. Paris-based Afghan novelist, Atiq Rahimi, contributes an original preface, The Memory of the Mirror. In Eclipse, these two voices offer insight into an Afghanistan lost, but not forgotten, and of the enduring legacy of exile.
An exhibition of the work opened at the Musée dElysée, Lausanne in Fall 2002, before traveling internationally. Daniel Girardin, Curator of the Museé dElyseé, curated the European exhibition and contributes an essay to this volume.