Afghanistan - to the modern generation the name conjures up images of violence, war and sorrow. People forget that before the Taliban regime Afghanistan was a place of peace, art, culture and joy. However this was a time that predated the selfie fad and the constant need to document daily life so a lot of the physical evidence has been lost. However one University Professor, Dr. Bill Podlich, managed to capture a now long forgotten era.
In 1967 he moved to Afghanistan with his wife and two daughters in the hope of becoming an Expert of Principles of Education at the Higher Teachers College of Kabul. In his free time, Podlich indulged in his hobby, amateur photography, capturing anything and everything on his old Kodaline film camera. His daughters Peg and Jan attended The American International School of Kabul and witnessed firsthand the old Afghanistan. “When I look at my dad’s photos, I remember Afghanistan as a country with thousands of years of history and culture,” recalls Peg Podlich. “It has been a gut-wrenching experience to watch and hear about the profound suffering, which has occurred in Afghanistan during the battles of war for nearly 40 years. Fierce and proud yet fun loving people have been beaten down by terrible forces.”
This is a common condition in countries that are centres of conflict. They routinely get stripped of their culture and heritage, for example these pictures show women in classrooms and in skirts, smiling faces, art exhibitions, things that would never be permissible there today. The long and once proud histories lie forgotten among the ruins with no hope for revival. While it’s far too idealistic to hope that wars will end permanently perhaps these pictures will serve to remind people to cherish and maintain the legacies of their city while they still have the chance.
Click here to view his full works
If you enjoyed reading this piece, we suggest you also read: