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Afghanistan, or The Perils of Freedom: Photographs by Stephen Dupont


November 7th, 2008 - March 29th, 2009

Stephen Dupont is an award-winning photojournalist, documentary filmmaker, and war correspondent who is internationally recognized for his work in some of the world’s most dangerous areas, including Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia, Iraq, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Somalia, and Zaire. This exhibition features selected photographs from his work in Afghanistan, where he has covered everything from civil war and the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s to the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom and the ongoing war on terrorism. Also included are photographs from the series Axe Me Biggie, a phonetic rendering of the Dari for “Mister, take my picture.” Dupont made these portraits during the course of one day (March 13, 2006) with a Polaroid camera in a makeshift studio in the streets of Kabul. Together, these photographs tell a story of poverty, warfare, and broken promises, but also of perseverance and hope, as they refocus attention on the state of Afghanistan today. This exhibition, drawn from the Library's Photography Collection, is Dupont’s first solo show in the United States.

Dupont was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1967. His work has been featured in The New Yorker, Newsweek, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, and Vanity Fair, among numerous other publications. He has earned many of photography’s most prestigious prizes, including a Robert Capa Gold Medal citation from the Overseas Press Club of America; a Bayeux War Correspondent’s Prize; and first places in the World Press Photo contest, Pictures of the Year International competition, the Australian Walkley Award, and the Leica/CCP Documentary Photography Award. In 2007, he was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanitarian Photography to continue Narcostan or The Perils of Freedom, a multimedia project documenting the effects of the rampant drug trafficking that has developed in Afghanistan since 2001. In April of 2008, he survived a suicide bombing while traveling with an opium poppy eradication team in Kabul.

Stephen Dupont is represented by the Booklyn Artists Alliance and is a member of Contact Press Images. This exhibition has been made possible by the continuing generosity of Miriam and Ira D. Wallach.

A companion volume to the exhibition is available for purchase at The New York Public Library's Library Shop by clicking here