Afghanistan in Panorama, March 2011

Every month, I dedicate a post to the continuing conflict in Afghanistan. In this installment, I'm happy to share a distinctive set of panoramic images by photographer Louie Palu. These were tricky to get. "With the growing threat of targeted attacks against journalists and their Afghan fixers [guides and translators] in many of the areas I wanted to visit, using a camera openly was too dangerous -- so I had to come up with an invisible way of taking photos," Palu explains. That meant being able to hide his equipment on his body: "I began using a super-wide panoramic camera, which allowed me to photograph scenes with the camera wrapped in a scarf or hidden under my arm. The lens has a small motor in it that starts at one side and revolves 120 degrees to capture a cinematic view of what I was seeing. The resulting pictures, shot on black-and-white film, are sometimes-distorted, long-and-narrow panoramas, but they also capture the environment in an unguarded and authentic way." In 2010, Palu was awarded a grant from the Alexia Foundation for his project on Kandahar. These photographs were taken during 2009-10 in Kandahar's Zhari, Panjwaii, Spin Boldak, and Maiwand Districts, Kandahar City, Nimruz and Farah Provinces. (For wider screens, be sure to click the "1280px" option at right.)

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