Photographer's Note

For the past few weeks I have been posting photos from Yemen in 1998. I have received several comments that photos from 15 years ago are not very old. So for those who prefer much older photos this one takes you back more than 41 years, to late August 1972.

This is from one of the main streets of Herat, the major city of western Afghanistan, close to the border with Iran.

Entering Afghanistan was like taking a giant step back in time, into an undefined past. Some places looked like the 19th century, other things made me think of the 1930's, but in my hotel in Herat records by artists like The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel were played in the restaurant.

Herat overwhelmed me with its almost total lack of cars. Instead of the smell of exhaust fumes there was the fragrance of resin from the trees lining the streets or fresh bread in the many bakeries. Instead of the noise of engines I could hear the gentle sounds of bells from the horse-carts or birds singing in cages hanging outside shops.

I should not romanticize the Afghanistan I met so many years ago, but the impressions it made on me, a young man from northern Europe being very far away from home for the first time, have stayed with me ever since and will remain in my memories for the rest of my life. Afghanistan was not an entirely safe country even then, but I got out of it relatively unhurt and returned the following year. In the 2000's I have gone back a couple of times and met a depressingly different country.

In August 1972 I hadn't even started using Kodachrome films, so this was scanned from an Agfacolor slide. You can see a larger version here.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6964 W: 407 N: 13781] (65278)
  • Genre: People
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 1972-08-00
  • Categories: Daily Life
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-02-15 4:22
Viewed: 3942
Points: 90
Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6964 W: 407 N: 13781] (65278)
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