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Courtesy of 

Hedayatullah Amid

LEICA Fotografie International / BarTur Award Photojournalist of the Year

Hedayatullah Amid

Highly Commended

Hedayatullah Amid is an award-winning photographer born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1990. He was just a young boy when the Taliban took control in Kabul. He remembers the time when photos and all artistic works containing human figures were banned. After the fall of the Taliban, Hedayat sought all the opportunities to pursue his childhood passion for photography by attending all available photojournalism courses in Kabul. Hedayat worked for many years as Senior Photojournalist and was promoted to Chief Country Photojournalist for the EPA (European Press Photo Agency) in Kabul, Afghanistan.

He has been published in national and international press, such as the Washington Post, New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Telegraph, TIME , Wall Street Journal, Al jazeera, BBC, and El Pais.

Hedayat’s photography has won prizes from UNESCO, Premio Luchetta, the British Embassy in Kabul, and in 2015, one of his photos was selected as part of the 100 photos of the year by Time magazine. In 2021 Hedayat was chosen as the first Afghan journalist to cover Olympic Games, which led him to Tokyo. He returned from Japan on August 14th and on August 15th Afghanistan fell again to the Taliban, which forced him to flee his country. He is living now in the Netherlands and continues to work as a freelance photojournalist, a.o for NRC newspaper and ANP news agency. For the latter he covered a story on Ukrainian ballet dancers, also exiled in the Netherlands.

Beyond The Headlines

Panjshir province & Kabul, Afghanistan

2015 - 2021

The following reportage, "Beyond the headlines" "narrates the period from the beginning of 2016 until I had to flee my country Afghanistan, at the end of August 2021, once the Taliban conquered the country again.

When most people think of Afghanistan, only one thing comes to their minds: war. The country has suffered four decades of protracted conflicts. Still, despite this, the people of Afghanistan are infinitely hospitable, resilient, and optimistic, and it's, above all, an enormously heterogenous country regarding cultures, ethnicities, languages, and religious-political beliefs. Throughout the war, daily life goes on for many Afghans. That is what I also wish to show with the selected images: men and women who have been oppressed by the Taliban regime, who have been internally displaced even more in 2021 due to Taliban's offense to recapture the country.

These people are given little exposure in the international media, and appear often as mere numbers and statistics, so it is important to tell their stories.

These photographs illustrate a nuanced picture of Afghanistan. Showing the world that there is more than just violence here. The people of Afghanistan want to live like everyone else, following the rituals of daily life and celebrating its milestones away from the smoke and ashes of war, but at the same time, constantly affected by them.

The reportage also reflects on the uncertainty, fears, shock, and political vacuum which Kabul's citizens encountered themselves in due to the historic moments in 2021 when foreign troops announced their withdrawal. The Taliban clashed heavily with the Afghan army and took one province after the other, when the former Afghan president fled the country, hopes of an entire generation were shattered within a few hours.

All this, while simultaneously, the entire world was following the daily news, culminating in these horrendous events around Kabul's airport mid of August. My reportage reflects on moments beyond the headlines and wants to give normal citizens the space. They have been affected most by the Taliban, their crimes, injustices, and fighting, which caused enormous numbers of forcefully displaced Afghan people, hunger, suffering, and fear.

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