Giorgio Cosulich Reportage

Two different visions about a shared experience

The American bombing of Afghanistan is creating an echo resounding all the way around Pakistan in which the rift between the followers of Musharraf and those of the Taliban regime is ever widening. Peshawar is the spiritual capital in Pakistan of the extreme doctrine of ex- theological students called the Taliban. They belong to the Pastu ethnic group and come from this area known as the " north western province" just over the border with Afghanistan. Around the end of September 2001 ( US- led bombings had already started a week earlier), I decided, supported by my agency, to leave for Pakistan. For some time Mimi and I had been talking about going on a trip together to do some serious photography work and what better occasion than this. No sooner had I called him in London to suggest this to him than he was on the phone to his agency saying he wanted to leave for Pakistan as soon as possible. This is what being a photoreporter is all about-jumping up from your chair and turning your world upside down ( and other people's) for 6 months, a week or maybe just one moment. Your whole character drives you to say yes even before you've had time to think it through properly, pushing you relentlessly towards places where history is being made, to reveal a part of your own inner journey through what you see on the outside. The need to photograph....

Ten days later we're in Pakistan, full of ideas, not much money and a great desire to work. In two hard weeks of filth, fever, diarrhoea and sweat we work a lot and what's more, we work well. Painfully early morning starts to get the best light, long walks and sore feet, short tempers and fully blown rows. However we're too good friends to let this get in the way of our goals and we always end up smiling again. Sometimes we walk the same path and the same things strike us. We're actually a lot more alike than we thought and this similarity can occasionally lead us to have similar visions which is a bit frustrating. So we distance ourselves from each other to find our own individuality among the crowds. In the evenings we meet up with fellow photographers from all over the world and tell each other stories drinking lots of beer and smoking dozens of cigarettes. However, the smoking doesn't seem to be harmful to us as our thoughts are projected way outside of ourselves in the search of new things and new sensations. Then at night when our thoughts return to us, we feel all the sorrow accumulated in the visions of the day. We can still hear, in the hospital of Peshawar, the rasping cough of the baby who appeared to have been burnt and can clearly envisage the poor little orphan girl who was made fun of by everybody because she was frightened by Mimi's lens. So my friend sleeping in the bed next to mine can understand me and that world seen through a camera lens. Whether we talk or stay silent, we understand each other. The light goes out and another day had passed in Pakistan. These photos represent two different visions about a shared experience.

Giorgio Cosulich

Mimí Mollica Reportage
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