Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan With Doctors Without Borders

The Photographer is a must read for pretty much everyone interested in politics, recent history (takes place in the 1980's), social issues, or just a really great story.  It follows Didier Lefevre throughout his trip to remote Afghanistan in the 1980's during the war between Russia and Afghanistan.  The book is a combination of the photos taken by Lefevre and a graphic novel adaptation of the story of the trip. 

Lefevre accompanied a Doctors Without Borders group on a trip to a remote part of Afghanistan as the photographer.  He chronicles the entire trip, including crossing the border illegally, being stranded alone on a snowy mountain pass, brushes with death, and imprisonment in Pakistan.  It's an incredible read, made even more fascinating by the unique media used in the presentation.  I recommend this book to anyone, with the caution that the use of images/graphic novel format does not make it a children's book.  Some of the images are graphic and nothing is censored.  If you're turned off by photographs of the effects of violence, war, starvation, and disease, this isn't a book for you.  However, nothing is presented in a sensational way - for me the shocking images are done in the manner of professional photojournalism and serve to depict the reality of a terrible situation. 

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