Jada-e-Maiwand, a vibrant neighborhood near the center of old Kabul, was a scene of fierce fighting and destruction during Afghanistan’s civil war. Twenty years later, the area remains only partially rebuilt: mud-brick homes flank open sewers, market stalls spill over from broad avenues, and winding alleyways reveal blacksmiths, corner grocers, bolani mongers, and bakers impaling warm fish-shaped loaves on nails above their shop windows.
The ordinary limitations of a photograph's frame hardly do the place justice. In these panoramas, still images are sequenced to create one photograph. Individual vignettes play out across a canvas from left to right in physical and temporal space; each scene is united in a short, thirty-second movie.
James Longley is a documentary filmmaker whose works examine the lives of people in conflict zones, mostly in the Middle East and South Asia. Longley’s 2006 film, Iraq in Fragments, offers an intimate view of the early years of the Iraq War through three different points of view. The film won numerous honors, including three jury awards at Sundance and was nominated for an Academy Award. His short, Sari’s Mother (2007), was also nominated for an Academy Award. Longley was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2009 and a USA Ford Fellow in 2011. He is currently at work on a new documentary about a school in Kabul.