x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Photo essay: Life in a conflict zone

Louie Palu's photographs of Kandahar record the realities of everyday life in the besieged Afghan town.

Children in the Maiwand District. Most homes in Afghanistan, particularly in the rural regions, are made of mud.
Children in the Maiwand District. Most homes in Afghanistan, particularly in the rural regions, are made of mud.

Louie Palu's panoramic photographs of Kandahar are remarkable portraits of a city and, indeed, an entire province under siege.

His images, taken over a five-year period that began in 2006, provide an in-depth and individual perspective of the Afghanistan conflict, from the very heart of the city to the narrow, muddy streets of the villages that surround it. In between, these shots represent the realities of daily life in a place that is regarded as the birthplace of the Taliban: from the barely recognisable skeletons of cars that have been stripped for scrap, to the young boy caught as he jumps into a canal; from the Afghan national police guard resting up in a compound while out on a routine patrol, to a group of young boys reciting the Quran during a school lesson.

Palu, who was born in Toronto, is an award-winning freelance photojournalist whose Kandahar collection has most recently been on display at the Kinsman Robinson Gallery in his home city. Once a staff photographer at The Globe and Mail in Canada, a grant from The Alexia Foundation helped fund this project. "Finding funding for these assignments is extremely difficult," he said, "but I really believe in what I am doing there." So do we, Louie.

An interview with Louie Palu and further images are available online at www.thenational.ae/national-blog/national-view