“I had no idea how much that was, and
if I had enough. But my friend translated
it for me, and it was only four dollars,”
He handed the man five dollars and told
him to keep it. The street vendor began
enthusiastically hugging him. It was incredible to Basu that after everything this
man had been through, one extra dollar
could change his mood to pure joy.
On another day during this same trip,
Basu made his way through the streets
with his camera in hand and came across
a group of children who were staring at
the meat displayed in a shop window. The
children were clearly starving, and Basu
couldn’t bring himself to photograph them.
Instead he went into the shop and bought
some food for the kids, eliciting cheers of
happiness from them. It was a reminder
that so many people in the war-torn nation
were lacking very basic necessities.
Though Basu is a seasoned conflict photographer, it’s the ability to connect with
his subjects that lends the emotional heft
to his images. So one can’t help but wonder, does the suffering that he sees so up
Afghan boy selling souvenirs to survive.
close stick with him? Can he forget the
hungry children outside the shop, staring
up at him with vacant eyes?
“It can become a bit tough for me at
times,” he admits. “I don’t realize it as much
when I’m actually shooting, when I’m in
the moment. Later, when I’m back at the
hotel and thinking about it over a drink or
something, it can be pretty heart wrench-
ing. I had Kabul on my mind for days.”