After serving along side the Afghan National Police with the British Army in Afghanistan, and returning with the Sunday Times Magazine the resulting images formed the controversial but critically acclaimed exhibition “The Best View Of Heaven Is From Hell”.
The ANP paint their weapons with naive folk art, decorating them with flowers to beautify and soften their existence. In a culture where women are hidden away in compounds, men turn to each other for comfort and sexual gratification. These intimate relationships are prominent in Symondson’s work, which shows the strong bonds these men share.
The images are all the more surprising in a culture where homosexuality is punishable by death. A character frequently seen is the ‘Chai boy’, He has a similar status to that of a beautiful woman; in return for sexual acts with older members within the group, he is cared for and can manipulate his adoring circle.
“I genuinely believe that Bran’s extraordinary pictures could become images by which this conflict is remembered for decades to come. I cannot praise them, or Bran’s courageousness and talent, highly enough. Bran’s photographs are unlike any I have ever seen. An enormously accomplished reportage photographer, his outlook is unique.” James Mullinger, Photo Editor, GQ Magazine
“Something about looking through a lens, rather than a rifle sight calmed me down. Recording the situation somehow made it okay. The guys around me laughed; there is often something about being in extreme danger that’s funny.” Bran Symondson
“We feel privileged to have such outstanding photography here in the gallery. Bran’s images give the outsider a look into the relationships that are unfolding in Afghanistan.” Eloise Rowley, Gallery Manager
Artist : Bran Symondson
Title : The Best View Of Heaven is from Hell
All Prints produced are limited editions printed on Archival paper,
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