I was in Afghanistan in January for a business trip. It was very cold and the temperature hovered between 2 to -2C.
I flew into Kabul airport after getting tourist visa to visit my customers there.
As I was traveling light, I wanted to bring along a small compact camera that wouldn’t cost me any heartbreak if it got stolen.
I brought along my trusty Olympus 35SP and several rolls of Tmax 400 exposed at 800 but developed at 1600 to compensate for an Orange filter.
This gem was one of the first to introduce spot metering on top of center-weighted metering.
The G.Zuiko lens is a stellar performer.
Afghanistan is a fascinating country, it has never been conquered despite two attempts by the British in the 1800s and the Soviet occupation. Afghanistan also produced the great Mogul Emperor Babur, decedent of Genghis Khan who ruled much of India (and Pakistan) and middle-east, and he was finally buried in Kabul.
Situated in Central Asia, it is a country running along tribal lines, there is roughly 15 tribes of which the Pashtuns are dominant.
Two things struck me:
- How mixed everyone looked, I could find Chinese, Indian, Caucasian and Middle-eastern looking Afghans here, all from different tribes. In fact, if not for my modern clothing, I looked like a bit like Hazaran or Tajik.
Some of the indigenous folks looked like people I know in Toa Payoh.
- How friendly the people were.
Well anyway it was winter and the annual Taliban offensive wouldn’t happen until spring. I guess the Bazaar did not get a lot of tourists, so that smiles I saw were very real. However, I was quite paranoid with kids following me, I kept checking for my wallet.
Photographer: Ray Toei