I first visited Afghanistan in 2003, soon after the ousting (relocation) of the Taliban by the international coalition. Back then, Kabul seemed empty, after years of wars; refugees had left for Iran and Pakistan and had not the confidence yet to return. But those who were there were welcoming, and I grabbed a few portraits along the way. Taken on film, boxes of which lie in my garage, they were mostly rubbish.
Between 2009-2012 I spent a year living in Kabul, and travelled the country extensively, taking portraits amongst much else. In 2010 I was commissioned by the Government of Afghanistan to create a body of work for the Kabul International Conference. During the final editing of the portfolio, I was asked by the then Minister of Finance, why were there no pictures of women in the portfolio. I replied that the photo essay was entirely representative of Afghanistan.
So this portfolio is representative of the 50% of Afghans who can be photographed. I can't say I am ashamed, I tried repeatedly to photograph women but alwlays failed. But what these images do show are the beautiful faces of some of the wonderful people I met, drawn from five major ethnicities that range from the farthest lands of northern Asia, west all the way to Iran.