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Ed Kashi On Photographing Pakistan

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Ed Kashi On Photographing Pakistan

National Geographic

Ed Kashi On Photographing Pakistan

Photographer Ed Kashi has had a busy year.When he wasn't on TV discussing the oil spill — as it pertains to his photo series on oil in the Niger delta — he might have been accepting a Prix Pictet award. Or shooting on assignment in Madagascar. Or shaking hands after joining the prestigious photo agency VII. To top it off, his photos are in National Geographic magazine this month.

Yesterday, NPR photographer David Gilkey phoned in from Afghanistan, where he is embedded with the military, in the thick of battle against the Taliban. Today, Ed Kashi reveals what's happening across the border in Pakistan — in the Punjab region, a breeding ground for the Taliban who. Though they're a small percentage of Punjab's population, the Taliban have a huge membership there.

Kashi initially pitched this story with the intention of photographing the respective Punjab regions of Pakistan and India. His idea was to show how the two countries, though often foes, aren't too dissimilar. But the assignment was narrowed to focus just on Pakistan — and even that proved somewhat unwieldy; the Punjab region of Pakistan, Kashi says, is "the size of unified Germany, with 90 million people."

Kashi describes the photo below

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Ed Kashi/National Geographic
Ed Kashi/National Geographic
Ed Kashi/National Geographic

As a photographer, his goal was simple: show how the people of Punjab live, and how that would be threatened if the Taliban were to prevail. The region may be a hotbed for religious fundamentalism, but it's also home to the more peaceful sect of Sufism, and millions more people just trying to live their lives. Listen to Kashi discuss the assignment and the challenges of being a photographer in a world that can be, let's face it, flat-out depressing.

Ed Kashi On Photographing Pakistan

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