Pig Skin in Kunduz

by Joshua Foust on 4/10/2008 · 2 comments

Barney Rubin is right: words fail.

The Chapandez in traditional costume, line up behind model Ann Cosyns in an American coat of embroidered pigskin, a silk-satin pouf skirt and bodice.

Pigskin? Oh, but if it only stopped there.


Yes, that is a hippie girl in a field of blossoming poppies.


And silk pant suits in the ruins of the ancient city of Balk. I’ve had my fill of this, though it is strangely fascinating. Barely clad female models popping and locking in front of the Buddhas of Bamiyan? Check. Psychedlic miniskirts in monk caves? Check. Gratuitous pusteen and leggings? Check. Gender-bending applications of the shalwar kameez? Check. Hell, the only thing missing is an indication of the turmoil that was to envelop the country only five years later. Which is kind of nice for a change. It’s a reminder of what’s there that’s worth fighting for, if that makes sense.

The pictures are courtesy Frank Maroon, from a photo shoot he held in Northern Afghanistan in 1968. In a sense, these photos are amazing in that they capture the now almost innocent pre-Soviet days, when the Duprees ran around the country telling us what a fascinating place it was.

The Frank Maroon online gallery has a collection of more (truly) amazing looking clothes on woman-models, photographed in Afghanistan’s very photogenic landscape.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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jeff April 11, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Gorgeous! As Camille says, The history of fashion photography 1940-present is one of the great moments in the history of art

Awesomeo April 14, 2008 at 3:25 pm

oh the tears are coming

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