The beauty of everyday life in war-torn Afghanistan
A Turkey-based photographer documents serene moments of normalcy in Kabul
News coming out of Afghanistan is rarely good. Headlines are dedicated to the destruction wrought by the ongoing war; images show families sifting through the remnants of another attack. It's easy to forget, then, that beyond the battles, extremists, and politicians, millions of people are just trying to hang on to normalcy.
Men work at a car wash in the Kart-E Sakhi section of Kabul. | (Monique Jaques)
Girls practice volleyball drills at the Olympic Stadium women's gym. The girls come three times a week to play each other, as there are no other teams in Afghanistan. | (Monique Jaques)
Monique Jaques, a 28-year-old photographer living in Turkey, strived to document the everyday moments over the course of a year in Kabul, Afghanistan.
"I shot this project mostly in 2009 after covering the elections in Afghanistan," Jaques says in an email interview. "At the time, the world's attention was on the war, and I wanted to show the people behind and affected by that war."
Five years later, the photographs still feel unusual.
A father-and-son metalworking team labors downtown. The trade is traditionally handed down through families. | (Monique Jaques)
Businessmen play Snooker at a hall in Haki Yqoob Square. The game is a popular post-work pastime for upper-class Afghanis. | (Monique Jaques)
Day laborers offer their services outside the Pashto Market. | (Monique Jaques)
Jaques found her subjects organically, both during shoots for other assignments and from wandering through her foster city.
"Kabul is a city that's always alive," Jaques says. "Downtown is crowded, so there's always noise and people and animals moving around. Afghanis rarely have electric or gas heating — they rely on burning wood — so during the long winters it always smells of firewood and cold air coming down from the mountains."
Children enjoy their winter vacation at the Shohadaie Saliheen Cemetery. In Afghanistan, cemeteries are commonly used as recreational sites. | (Monique Jaques)
Young women visit a shrine near Qargha Lake, outside the city. | (Monique Jaques)
Families enjoy a visit to Qargha Lake, a man-made body of water offering clean water for swimming and boating. | (Monique Jaques)