Time Lapse: The Making of Darkness Visible Afghanistan

In 2011, along with Leandro Badalotti and Brian Storm, I produced Seamus Murphy’s A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan. It remains the largest, most complex project I’ve ever tackled. Seamus began work in Afghanistan in 1994. By 2010, he had made 14 trips to the country, producing more than 35,000 images and recording 25-plus hours of video interviews. Leandro and I spent the better part of 4 months organizing the vast amount of material. To document our editing progress, I wrote a Python script that generated a jpeg screen grab every five minutes. The result is a time lapse that begins on June 6 and ends November 8, 111 weekdays later. There are approximately 4,300 images in total: one frame for every five minutes of work. You’ll see the entire project take shape, from radio cuts to final output. And if you’d like to learn more about our editing methodology, please join Tim McLaughlin…

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Read more about the article 50 Years of Afghan History Come ‘In Focus’
The entrance to the Karkar coal mine around 12 kilometers northeast of Pulikhumri, the provincial town of the Northern province of Baghlan. The Karkar coal deposit at one time met the needs of Kabul city. (AFP/Getty Images)

50 Years of Afghan History Come ‘In Focus’

The 1950’s and 1960’s marked a unique period of great modernization and relative peace in Afghanistan’s long, tumultuous history. The Atlantic explores mid-20th century Afghanistan on their In Focus blog: This time was [an era] when modern buildings were constructed in Kabul alongside older traditional mud structures, when burqas became optional for a time, and the country appeared to be on a path toward a more open, prosperous society. Progress was halted in the 1970s, as a series of bloody coups, invasions, and civil wars began, continuing to this day, reversing almost all of the steps toward modernization taken in the 50s and 60s. View over 30 high-resolution images at The Atlantic. Then take a deep dive into the history of Afghanistan, picking up where the photo series leaves off. A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan, our collaboration with renowned photojournalist Seamus Murphy, examines thirty years of Afghan history through the stories of ordinary…

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A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan Receives Media for Liberty Award

Liberty Media Corporation honored A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan by VII Photographer Seamus Murphy and MediaStorm last week as the winner of its 2012 Media for Liberty Award. The 2012 Media for Liberty Award acknowledges and encourages media contributions that explore the relationship between economic and political liberty. The winning entry is selected by a panel of judges and receives an award of $50,000. A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan is based on 14 trips to Afghanistan between 1994 and 2010 by internationally-recognized photojournalist Seamus Murphy. As he chronicles Afghans caught in political turmoil, he highlights their often-overlooked desire for self-determination. “This film puts the relationship between political struggles and economic hardships into clear focus,” said John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media. “In addition to being topical, it sheds light on history that even today is under-appreciated, and we are pleased to honor Seamus Murphy and MediaStorm.” A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan was honored at an…

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GlobalPost and MediaStorm collaborate on Life, death and the Taliban

GlobalPost and MediaStorm have collaborated to produce a new multimedia project, Life, death and the Taliban, which seeks to enhance America’s understanding of Taliban history in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At this crucial time in the U.S.-led war against the Taliban, Charlie Sennott recaps the group’s rise to power and looks at current political and counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan. Photographer Seamus Murphy, who has long chronicled the shifts of power in Afghanistan, accompanied Sennott to Kabul for this report. This project includes several stories and video pieces, along with an interactive timeline, to help viewers understand the complex issues at play in this volatile region.

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August Digital Journalist now online

This month's Digital Journalist leads off with a feature on Seamus Murphy's recent book, "A Darkness Visible," exploring almost 15 years of work in Afghanistan. The work is intimate and personal, looking at the culture of the Afghan people, not just the destruction of war. When asked why he did not write a lengthy essay for the book, Murphy responded: "I really don't have a message—I am probably as much in search of answers. What drives me is to shoot what interests me and to find out how life is for all of us. In that there may well be messages of humanism and my belief in the ultimate goodness of the vast majority of people—but it is not a conscious subtext." Murphy's gallery is definitely worth spending some time in. Other features this month look at the Death of Photojournalism, News Aggregators, and a great article on Networking and creating a…

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