While at art college, I studied to wildlife illustration. At that time, I was deeply inspired by the paintings of Canadian Robert Bateman—a naturalist, painter and one of the most influential environmental proponents of the 20th century. In many of Bateman’s expansive canvasses, the subject was barely seen, lost in a moment of grand space, leaving it both isolated and vulnerable.

I have often applied this concept in my photography. This series of images from Afghanistan is a reflection of that stimulus.

I lived and worked as a freelance photojournalist in Afghanistan for a year, creating a series of portfolios that attempted to represent the true human condition of a population subjected to 30 years of conflict and agitation. The images presented here, “Isolation,” are just one of many portfolios I created during that time.

—Martin Middlebrook