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Matador Ambassador Alexandria Bombach was recently in Afghanistan to document the street photography exhibit put on by fellow Ambassador Shannon Galpin.

I DIDN’T KNOW what it would be like. No matter how many articles I read or photos I saw or people I talked to who had been there or even live there now, I just couldn’t truly know.

I went to Kabul for about two weeks this October with Shannon Galpin of Mountain2Mountain, who was bringing a life-size photo exhibit called “The Streets of Afghanistan” back to the country after four years of touring in the States.

Shannon has worked throughout Afghanistan for years, and she asked me, along with photographer Tony Di Zinno and writer Anna Brones, to join her for the exhibition. Going to Afghanistan had been constantly in my thoughts since editing Travis Beard’s footage for a short film I produced on Shannon’s life as a change maker. Knowing I needed another filmmaker I could trust/have a good laugh with in a challenging situation, I asked Mo Scarpelli to come, and together we set out to make a film about Afghan photographers. Here are some behind-the-scenes looks from production.

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About The Author

Alexandria Bombach

Founding the production company Red Reel in 2009, Alexandria has concentrated on short films with character driven stories. Her 2012 film series MoveShake features real life stories and lessons of people dedicating themselves to environmental and social issues. Believing in the power of storytelling, Alexandria’s work is defined by her ability to get to the core of passionate characters with the intention of shifting perspectives and igniting change.

  • Alice Driver

    Beautiful work!

  • Lee Driver

    Indeed. And brave.

  • Chitra Sivasankar Arunagiri Photography

    To be honest, you are one of those awesome people on the planet with the nerve tell the truth that is happening out there. Behind the curtains of that war torn country, people still want a normal life, love each other and live in peace. Awesome work. I am humbled and inspired with your work. Awesome!

    • Alexandria Bombach

      Wow thank you Chitra!

  • Candice Walsh

    This is one of the best galleries I’ve ever seen on Matador. Beautiful, on so, so many levels.

  • Jane Julian

    Absolutely stunning photos and commentary! So proud of YOU!

    • Alexandria Bombach

      Aw thank you Jane! That means a lot to me :)

  • Raymond Makau

    Awesome. It’s so refreshing to see the human, colloquial side of Kabul.Well done.

  • Gabriela Georgieva

    Amazing photos indeed Allie;) what kind of camera do u use if you don’t mind me asking?:)

    • Alexandria Bombach

      On this shoot we had a 3 Cannons. Two 5Ds and a C300. Worked really well!

  • Mohammed Taha Syed

    This is an amazing portrait of a land which is often displayed so negatively by the media! Stunning photography. I’m curious though, how was it lugging around Photography equipment through Afghanistan? I know that people advised me against it in Pakistan, because there were a high possibility that I could be mugged/targeted.

    • Alexandria Bombach

      On this trip we had amazing fixers that were our main eyes and ears if a situation got too dangerous. It’s difficult to have your eye through the lens while also keeping an eye on the crowd. We were just very intentional in where and when we shot and also made sure to get permission – not just for permissions sake, but so authorities and managers of the locations knew what we were doing and watched us. The only time I felt worried though was shooting the kites. We had heard of many people being mugged and robbed in that area by large crowds. We scouted a lot before we shot, just walked around without equipment, talking to people. Then pulled out the big cameras. Just like anywhere in the world – you just have to be aware.

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