Looking beyond things between us: the Afghan Pamir Salutes
Looking back at the portraits I shot during several trips in the Afghan Pamir, it felt as if my interlocutors were looking beyond myself and camera. Drawn by their gaze, I began to wonder to whom and where their eyes were eventually turned. While peoples' attitudes were many (smiling, greeting, fleeing the camera's intrusive gaze, questioning, challenging, ostensibly welcoming, scrutinizing, suspending or displaying boredom), each picture conveyed a sense of intention and reflection. Visibility, fame, or curiosity might have motivated the various reactions, it became but sure that I was not alone realising the photograph. Putting therefore the problem of staged or realistic documentary aside, our portraits became ways to present and articulate together a certain image of self and encounter to a third and unknown public. Looking beyond the things that stood between us, I realised that the portraits tied us to a common documentary and communicative intention. From the remote valleys of the Afghan Pamir, we were tacitly trying to reach out to the world.