Afghanistan has been ravaged by war for more than twenty years; the Soviet Union, the Mujaheddin, the Taliban and the United States have all played their part. Norfolk's powerfully beautiful images reveal utter devastation on a vast and overwhelming scale. Afghanistan is unique, utterly unlike any other war-ravaged landscape. In Bosnia, Dresden or the Somme, for example, the devastation appears to have taken place within one period, inflicted by a small gamut of weaponry. However, the sheer length of the war in Afghanistan, now in its 24th year, means the ruins have a bizarre layering; different moments of destruction lying like sedimentary strata on top of each other. Afghanistan won the Leica-sponsored European Publishers Award for Photography 2002. An exhibition began its US tour in late 2002. Simon Norfolk worked as a photojournalist through the early '90s on projects relating to fascism, the far-right, anti-rascism issues and Northern Ireland. He was assigned to eastern Europe at the fall of the Berlin Wall and covered the Gulf War. In the mid '90s he turned to landscape photography, working for four years on his book For Most Of It I Have No Words: Genocide, Landscape, Memory. This was published to wide acclaim including praise from the novelist Anne Michaels and Louise Arbour, Chief Prosecutor of the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.
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