Dr. William Podlich traveled to Afghanistan with his family in 1967, taking a leave of absence from his position at Arizona State University to teach at Higher Teacher’s College in Kabul. With his wife and two daughters, Podlich took up residency in the country for two years, over a decade before the Soviet invasion of 1979. Before the rise of the Taliban and religious extremism, Afghanistan had been a more moderate, cosmopolitan state, and these late 60s color photographs taken by Podlich clearly emphasize a side of this world seldom seen by western eyes.
Viewing these photographs side by side with the more contemporary western-generated imagery of bunkers, tanks, fatigues and other signs of desert warfare, and it’s fascinating how our impressions can often be guided by the types of images we most commonly see. This speaks to the power of photography, of images, and how they evolve our understanding of people and places. Podlich’s archive consists of unpolished travel photos and yet with the world having undergone so much change since these were recorded, they now take on a new meaning as historical documents, breathing life and intrigue into a place that for over a decade has been defined so narrowly.
For more images visit his gallery
Denver Post blog post about Dr. Podlich