Traces of Time

When we left for the Wakhan Corridor in north-eastern Afghanistan equipped with two polaroid cameras and a couple of hundred PX 70 films by Impossible Project, our intention towards this medium was quite simple: to give these Afghans we had been waiting to meet for a long time a rare and tangible gift—remembrance of them and of our encounter—not to be of those photographers who steal images and promise they’ll send a print once back home, without ever doing so. There came this idea of a series of instantaneous portraits, which we shot in a dozen of villages, walking our way through the north-east of Afghanistan to the Chinese border.

This ever-repeated ritual, after endless days of walking, was always a source of exchange and curiosity, joy and laughter, providing us with strong and intimate moments with the people of the Corridor. Unblinking in front of technical failures or trying to understand our mysterious intentions as image-makers, our Afghan hosts all displayed patience and good will while lending themselves to the portrait ceremony. It led us to the most amazing encounters in this part of the country where foreigners almost never venture. For most of the villagers, it was the first time they would actually see their printed image.

The Traces of Time project presents a vision between a current and tangible printed reality that already ceases to exist and an uncertain present resembling the past. This is the perspective of travellers who steal a snapshot of life and leave behind them a trace that could change the lives of those they’ve encountered. »