The Afghans – A different perspective
German photographer Jens Umbach travelled to the north of Afghanistan to pay tribute to the people affected by the German military mission. By Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi
The many faces of Mazar-i-Sharif: this old man is one of more than 100 Afghans that German photographer Jens Umbach has captured during his visits to the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif
The real faces: Umbach wanted to show the faces of the people behind the headlines. "The German army went into Afghanistan to protect these people," Umbach says. "Like the girl in this picture, who has lived all her life in the presence of the foreign soldiers"
Breathtaking landscape: Umbach visited Afghanistan the first time in 2010, and since then he has been fascinated by the country. "My assistant and I were standing in a desert close to Mazar," the photographer recalls. "He told me that he was so impressed by the landscape that he felt like crying. The media only shows the country's ugly side"
Hospitality: the Afghans received Umbach with warmth and love. "We were often invited to suppers, concerts or the country's national sport 'Buzkashi' matches." But he had to turn down most of the invitations due to security reasons
Security: it was not easy to photograph the people in the city. The security was always tight during the shootings. Umbach's local producer gave him clear instructions about what he could do and what he couldn't. "I could move freely, but it depended on the circumstances and prior warnings"
Politicians and insurgents: influential politicians like Atta Mohammad Noor were also photographed by Umbach. The governor of the Balkh province was an important partner for the Germans. Umbach also photographed some insurgents
On display in Germany: Umbach's photo exhibition, titled "The Afghans", kicked off in Germany earlier this month. His photographs were also showcased at Photokina, the world's largest photography trade fair in Cologne, sponsored by Germany's prominent camera manufacturer Leica
A photo book: Jens Umbach plans to publish a photo book. With the help of the crowd funding platform "Kickstarter," he is campaigning for donations to finance his project. "A photo book is a document that lasts," Umbach says. He hopes that his photo book on "The Afghans" will provide the future generations an insight into the time when the German military was deployed in Afghanistan