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14-MAY-2006 Gul Chotrani


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Phil Douglis14-Jul-2006 16:33
I was weaned on the Family of Man as well -- perhaps the most influential photographic book (based on Edward Steichen's amazingly popular 1955 exhibition) about the role of human values in various cultures ever published.(The book is still being sold on Amazon at I think Gul's image is as thought provoking as any in that book.
Tim May14-Jul-2006 16:20
The reason that I wonder about these as garments under the burka is that by current "Western" standards those are fairly modest garments (except for the voluptuous line up of breasts). I, as an American, am trying in these trying times to understand the culture that seems so at odds with ours - I believe that humans are a their core very similar and so this current conflict of Islamic fundamentalism and Western modernity is troubling to say the least - where is the common ground, where is the hope for peace - I guess all this musing is partly what Phil means by expressive photography - using images to stir thought and feeling. This image certainly does this for me. Also, I realize that one of my early photographic influences was a book called "The Family of Man" which emphasized the unity of humans across cultures and I suppose this understanding of cultures has been a theme of my life. (Quite a lot of musing for one image.)
Phil Douglis14-Jul-2006 15:55
I agree with Tim -- this image asks questions of the viewer and demands answers. Something you can, and should, try to do more often, Gul. On one level, this is simply an image of a woman trying to keep cool in the shade of some dresses. Yet on another level, you create an incongruous juxtaposition of cultures, virtually burying the moslem woman in a sea of western temptations. It is as strong a statement on the place of women in Afghan society as I've seen. Tim wonders if this woman wears such elegant dresses under her burka. I wonder if she is wishing she could.
And that is the essence of expressive photography, Gul -- to trigger the imaginations of your viewers. And with this image, you certainly have.
Tim May14-Jul-2006 15:22
What a powerful image! It causes me to wonder about the culture - are these relatively provocative dresses what the women wear under their outer garments? Amazing image.