the big picture, and on March 13, 2006 – the day Stephen Dupont made these
photographs – the big picture in Kabul is more bombs, more drugs, and more poor.
It’s an old story by now: the foreign promise unfulfilled, the failed reforms,
a country immune to money, schools, and eight-part programs, always reverting
to its savage nature. It doesn’t help that Stephen and I spent the better part
of the last three weeks in a mental hospital. Whatever other effects that may
have had, it turned this city into a sort of violent burlesque and in my mind’s
eye I see, as undoubtedly he does too, a kaleidoscopic cascade of junkies,
electroshock patients, and amputees.
This series is not about the big picture. It’s about all the small ones,
the forty-seven like-no-one-elses you see here. As journalists we use
individuals as emblems, symbols, small faces to make big judgments. But
obviously, any single Afghan, any single story, is more ambiguous, more murky