This is another re-post of an old picture. I first uploaded it here in December 2007. It was among the first pictures I ever scanned and I thought the not so good result was due to my lacking knowledge of scanning. Lately I realized the problem was mainly sloppy post-processing. This time I have adjusted the colours, used the shadows/highlights to bring out more details in shady areas and sharpened it a bit.
Last week I made another re-post and was surprised that many of you prefered the old version where the colours were quite bad, according to my judgement. This time I really think that the new verson is superior to the original.
Here is my original note:
This is a girl I met in a street in the town of Balkh in northern Afghanistan in May 1973. The little metal box stitched to her dress is a talisman containing most likely a quotation from the Quran to protect her from evil.
Nowadays Balkh is a small town of muddy streets and mostly simple houses with little to remind a visitor that in ancient times this was one of the great cities of the world.
To this I can add that this photo is among my personal favourites. I have a larger-than-life copy of it at home, scanned professionaly for an exhibition two years ago.
I scanned this myself from a Kodachrome slide.
Critiques | Translate
tyro (23020) 2012-11-29 3:48
Yes, this time I definitely agree with you!
Whereas with your picture of the traders in Kabul I actually preferred your original version, in this case I think your recent re-scan and processing has worked wonders and that this picture is a great improvement over that which you posted five years ago.
Above all, I think it is the better light on the girl's face which really brings out her features much better. The colour and textures of her dress are so very much more vibrant and detailed too.
But there's some things which no re-scanning nor further processing would affect - the perfect posture of the girl, her marvellous facial expression, the fact that she is pin-sharp against a beautifully out of focus background and that enamelled metal bowl which she holds out in front of her - is she offering something to the photographer or is she begging to be given something? That is the real question which this picture asks!
Your note, written nearly 40 years ago, is wonderful, but how much different would that note be if it were to be written today?
A Stunning Photograph!
yquem46 (38750) 2012-11-29 4:19
Anther good one from your old files
Maybe I'd crop the upper part for a tighter portrait
have a nice day, cheers
bayno (18344) 2012-11-29 5:02
This new version is definitely your best of your previous picture I like very much, nice expression a little surprised and a little puzzled, beautiful light and colors, I enjoyed making a WS, not because I did not like your ... but ... just out of curiosity...
my best regards,
Nicou (133510) 2012-11-29 5:06
Charmante jeune fille avec ces beaux cheveux sueprbe compo et iamge elle porte cette cuvette quel portrait et scène mervielleux.
Braov et amitié
abmdsudi (48830) 2012-11-29 5:15
Surprisingly this looks 'new' to me, credit to your pp treatment, where the shadows areas have more highlights now and softened to better viewable level and the color is as always vivid and brilliant. Another good shot from your dry box and something of interest to share and the talisman really takes the eye. The visual quality and clarity lifts it way above the usual 'old' shot, she has a great expression and I love her pose and shooting angle low to her eye level. This picture is meant to convey the way of life and strong tradition then. Tx for sharing another excellent photo journalism, Congrats.
Sergiom (70678) 2012-11-29 5:20
Il n'y a pas beaucoup de différence pour les jeune filles entre cette photo prise en 1973 et une jeune fille du même endroit en 2012. Comme quoi la vie ne change pas vite dans cette région du globe.
Glint (6171) 2012-11-29 5:40
I can see why this is a personal favourite although I suspect not everyone would be quite so discertning. The fashion is always for the beautiful in the sense of how beauty is perceived in the west. This child and image does not accord to western, airbrushed and posed notions of appeal. The girls squints her eyes against the sun and her mouth at the corner lifts up in sympathy.But real, very real in her red and ragged garments and talisman.What a glorious crimson and such an interesting image and original note.Balk ? -well I learn something everyday day.
wolf38 (31284) 2012-11-29 6:36
Hello Gert. I see the picture, then I read the detailed text. Yes, a scan of these old pictures can be very good if the technology is controlled. If I reproduce an old paper image, I set the resolution of the scanner mostly to 1600 dpi. This is a good starting point for further processing. I think you've made it similar. The scan is fine in any case.
The Afghan girl is at the center, - without unnecessary trappings. The traditional dress, the jewelry, the white bowl, the hairstyle - everything is perfectly. But the key is the way, as she looks into the camera. Overall, an interesting photo of timeless natural.
eldancer1 (33953) 2012-11-29 7:42
Beautiful portrait of this young girl and thank you for the wonderful information. Good lighting and dof with sharp details. Love the colors. Well done, tfs.
Fis2 (92215) 2012-11-29 10:29
Good frame and super colors.
ourania (39016) 2012-11-29 13:01
I like very much the way the girl stands out against the blurry background that provides some kind of reference regarding the place and conditions of living but also is quite neutral chromatically and allows us to concentrate on our intriguing tete a tete with her. While we are stdying her face and clothes she is studying us back and seems to wonder about what we think. I like very much the contact you established with her, the excellent colour treatment and the freshness her look has preserved through the years. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely evening,
aliabazari (16091) 2012-11-29 21:13
Hej Gareth s
Denna dokumentär porträtt, mycket vackra och charmiga rekord. Utmärkt komposition. Exponering, skärpa och fina färger.
Tack för att du registrerar dig för denna fina bild
trevormoffiet (3112) 2012-11-29 21:59
I had to switch back and forth many times before I decided (again) that I like the original better. The skin tones of the original are smoother and much better than than after post processing (see neck area). While there is more detail in the clothes, I think that the smoother look of the original clothes works better for me. The out of focus background also appears to be better in the original.
Still it is a very good photo.
Graal (101108) 2012-11-30 0:11
another nice portrait from Your archive. Fine natural pose and glance of girl. Good quality of scan. Photo I like. Also interesting note.
Have a nice day.
Miguel82 (27024) 2012-11-30 1:05
This is a strong and authentic portrait, so ancient scanned picture you accept to show us.
Like so much her traditional red dress, we can immagine her hard life in her village
Sharpness is excellent, fine colors
dkmurphys (54499) 2012-11-30 1:27
A spectacular portrait caught in the dynamic of everyday moments. Well seen, enjoy a fine weekend.
saxo042 (37730) 2012-11-30 1:28
Intressant att studera skillnaden mellan de två versionerna. Hur blev "proffsversionen" egentligen? Speciellt syns skillnaderna på hennes hår, nu noterar man skärpan väldigt tydligt. Detta är ju fortfarande en väldigt bra bild.
notrap (6037) 2012-11-30 5:09
diese Version ist besser, allein schon die Details in den Haaren sind soviel besser zu sehen. Den workshop von Valter finde überhaupt nicht gut, es fehlt Lebendigkeit in dem Bild, wenn es auf rot und schwarz-weiß reduziert wird.
pajaran (56646) 2012-11-30 7:37
Dobar dan, popodne.
Lepa fotografija uradjena skeniranjem.
Uradili ste lepu seriju starih fotografija skeniranjem.
Sve najbolje za vikend.
Good afternoon, this afternoon.
Beautiful images taken by scanning.
You did a nice series of scanning old photos.
All the best for the weekend.
Tigerlily (3301) 2012-11-30 9:55
Nice DOF, i really love the vibrant red colour and excellent clarity..the light is beautifully controlled as well... A vivid picture.. I wonder what she was doing..
kato (11630) 2012-11-30 10:49
You're capturing well this little girl by a good composition and excellent tone/clarity, so it's interesting and impressive to see her traditional red dress, the little metal box stitched to her dress and lovely/pure face. It is also impressive to have attached accessories to the head.
ACL1978 (7511) 2012-11-30 13:24
Easy to see why you'd count this as a favorite, Gert. A wonderfully bright and evocative shot that has held up very well as an old slide and made the digital transition nicely. The clarity is outstanding as well - perfect DOF, and she stands out beautifully against the blurred background. The expression you've captured from her is funny, charming, and wonderfully childlike, but it's clear from her dress, her hands, her bowl, her hair that she's something more than a child at this point. Wonderful shot - it's great to see so many of your old scans of worlds gone by.
mesutilgim (90766) 2012-11-30 14:15
Hello dear Gert,
Another "top" oldie !
Very good captue with good pov and very nice sidelight.
Many interesting notes makes also this entry a perfect TE entry, which really "teaches" us something, as it should be !
TFS and have a nice weekend
batalay (37451) 2012-11-30 14:49
I can see why this photo would be one of your favorite. It's astonishing that it slide, a Kodachrome, has retained its color fidelity (the vivid red of her dress is unmistakably Kodachrome). There is a sadness in the girl's face, but nothing compared with the fate of young girls in the hands of the Taliban 20-25 years later. You've placed her right eye right in the vertical centerline. I imagine you did it intuitively, but it is compatible with the discovery in 1998 by the English born psychologist, Christopher Tyler, that in almost all great portraits from Leonardo's three portraits of women to Rembrandt's self portraits, that the centerline passes very close to one eye.
Hansaphotos (7621) 2012-11-30 16:13
What an excellent portrait of this Afghan girl. It`s hard to believe that we`re looking at an almost 40 year old photo. Obviously the original must have been of an excellent quality, but you also did a great job during the scanning process. A very good lighting and a well captured expression. Her traditional red dress stands out very well against the blurred background. Excellent work:) Thanks for sharing. Ha en god helg.
Best regards, Erling
milad_abazari (1648) 2012-11-30 22:18
Hello dear friend
This is a very nice portrait. Register nicely done. Good sharpness and exposure. With respect
TopGeo (38216) 2012-11-30 23:17
Hello Gert! Great collection of photos from a remarkable historic district! The girl's expression and impressive processing gave you a portrait capturing color and crisp detail highly professional, excellent though so old! A picture 40 years old! as history! a document like a book with historic treasures! I can understand the life before and now perhaps a picture that speaks a lot! Thanks for your efforts and sharing!
lousat (85018) 2012-12-01 8:43
Hi Gert,the quality of your old pics is impressive,this looks taken today whit a digital camera,magnificent work and great memeory of your incredibles trips,i wish to know where is now this girl..ehehe...have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano
gildasjan (42910) 2012-12-01 9:25
La grimace de cette jeune fille est parfaitement figée.C'est déclenché au très bon moment.C'est bien vu le contraste est très fort avec le rouge.
serp2000 (42558) 2012-12-01 10:37
Perfect quality, Gert!
I like this result, yes, sometime I organize some revision of my old folders and I see another result with my new LCD monitor.
Best wishes from Russia!
emka (89461) 2012-12-02 9:59
Hi Gert, last time I liked the old version, now I prefer this repost. here the girl has anatural colour of the skin and the dress is right saturated. Beautiful shot indeed. I hope that talizman protected her and now she is an adult woman, maybe with grandkids. Good job in scanning and post-processing.
photographydoc (92) 2012-12-03 0:51
Hi Gert Holmertz this is a very beautiful photo of this young girl. Thank you for sharing the story of this photo this was taken a very long time ago way before i was born, it's tragic how over the next decades the country would face horrible wars, i wonder if this girl is still alive? and if so what was her future like living in a war torn country. That is beautiful how you mentioned that metal box she is holding is a protection thing to protect her from evil.
I would like to go to Afghanistan some day and photograph the many interesting people over there it is a country worth exploring hoping the Taliban will die out soon and the country will be at peace some day. We just have to pray for the country, I pray for every Afghan civilians, families and children living over there who can't escape the dangerous situation the country is facing, god bless them all.
Flavia (10352) 2012-12-03 5:22
I like a lot this series of old pictures of yours. Lovelly portrait. Her face protecting form the sun is quite funny and we wonder what is she carring on her pot.
She is a full grown woman now and i wonder what became of her. Was her talisma enough to protect her from all the sufferings that her country went and is still going through?
mohammad_H (9804) 2012-12-03 7:42
Is it a girl, according to a recent wars, after many years is still alive
Portrait of view, economic and cultural, of the tragedy of seeing photographs (politicians, warmongers) hates me
Well you look at social issues
Have a nice day
UlfE (14641) 2012-12-03 11:26
Kunde inte låta bli att titta litet extra noggrant på denna oerhört fina bild. Helt klart är det en väldig förbättring jämfört med den tidigare versionen. Nyanserna kommer fram på ett helt annat sätt Samtidigt är jag benägen att hålla med Trevor att den första bilden har vissa kvaliteter. Jag förstår vad han menar. Det är litet lustigt att säga detta. Om jag inte hade kunnat jämföra skulle jag nog tyckt att den här bilden var helt perfekt. Jag uppskattar verkligen dina experiment med skanning och bildbehandling. De är verkligen lärorika. Stort tack för detta och ha en bra kväll!
Angshu (56740) 2012-12-06 9:16
I like the grimace like expression on her sweet face. So clear a portrait that it doesn't seem to be a scanned image. Fine scanned result. The bokeh is good. A stunning work indeed
adores (42331) 2012-12-06 16:31
One of your great old ones:)! You're right, it's a great portrait: her expression, the talisman, the bowl... A jewel from the old Afghanistan. You were lucky to see it in the old days!
I like both versions, but this one is very good!
thebest (4276) 2012-12-09 3:23
A very nice portrait of this little girl even though she is not sure of the camera pointing at her... the colours & clarity are great... and I like the fact that the focus is on the little girl.
I would like to wish you & your family '' A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS '' with much love & good health in the New Year.
agjika (3616) 2012-12-09 13:02
A great candide from Afganistan. When I see photos like this one I cannot stop thinking as to what is she doing now that she is about 46 (I can tell by her teeth development!).
Thanks for sharing
Ber (8233) 2012-12-12 9:24
Beautiful portrait of this young girl. Like so much her traditional red dress.
fabbs99 (17129) 2013-01-01 18:24
Another great portrait from you from the days bygone.Great colors and beautiful expressions.Simply superb.
COSTANTINO (61447) 2013-01-12 9:13
I visited your gallery today and I found
a lot of worthseeing portraits of
children,women,men,this one is one
of your best,nice pov and nice
expression of this little child
looking at the photographer
shot welldone and wellseen,
traditional description and
Kamilutka (8105) 2013-02-21 8:57
I keep coming back to this portrait. It is very special in many ways. The quality of the image is excellent in terms of composition, colors and contrast, but I I think the girl's facial expression is very funny and natural. Her robe contrast lovely with her black her and white bowl.
adidas5nb (5743) 2013-04-09 21:00
truly an amazing piece of photography.love the subject,and everything about it.
afghanistan has gone though a lot in the recent times.wonder what was it like when u went there in 1973...
AdrianWrobel (1676) 2013-04-24 12:15
Heil, podziwiam twoje ujêcia fotograficzne, s± sympatyczne , pozdrawiam- Adrian
fritzi007 (9953) 2014-05-07 13:46
sehr gutes Foto und Kommentar, wirklich eine gute Arbeit!
sayeed_rahman (6370) 2014-10-18 14:16
Classic, a portrait from another world, the poise, the eyes, the hair, the talisman which you have talked about.
How does it feel to think about her and that moment when you photographed, sitting in your apartment in sweden ? there must be so much more to this..
unclehotshot (3663) 2015-11-06 2:34
Hej Gert. Ja; jeg gik på opdagelse i dit galleri igen. Det er nogle fantastiske fotos du har fra Afghanistan. Jeg er ganske interesseret i dette land fordi jeg gennem en lang periode gav specialundervisning til en ptsd ramt mand fra Helmand provinsen. I de mange mange timer vi har talt sammen har jeg fået en indsigt i dette land, og jeg må ærligt sige, at jeg ikke har mod på at besøge det. Men så er det jo skønt at jeg har et billedarkiv af høj kvalitet til min rådighed.
Dit foto er meget tæt på perfekt. Det er en styrke hos dig at tage denne type portrætter.
bedste hilsner Frank
PS: du har ret med Ørestaden... man kan kalde den mange ting, men ikke hyggelig (hemtrivlig).
BennyV (15045) 2015-11-09 23:53
I saw this one on the intro page of TE today. You've got a lot of applause already, but I'll glady join in. Let's hope this one makes it to 100!
A great picture of a past era, when you could travel in Afghanistan. With a big part of the world in turmoil, some countries have altogether disappeared as possible destinations. Such a pity.