Photojournalist Andrew Quilty reflects on his place as an outsider in Afghanistan, exploring themes of reality versus role-playing, clichés, and the importance of photographer-editor relationships.

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Young boys climb a broken-down ferris wheel on April 28, 2016, in order to give a friend a quarter-revolution-ride in a dilapidated playground in the capital of Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, Lashkar Gah. The ferris wheel is long-defunct, with little incentive for local investors to spend money in the provincial capital, which was threatened by a determined push to take the city by the Taliban in late 2015, through 2016. Photo by Andrew Quilty, @andrewquilty

Early last summer, I was riding on the back of a colorfully decorated jingle truck on the way to the Afghan city of Jalalabad. I was traveling as a photographer with members of a family who had been forced to leave their homes in Pakistan, where they’d lived since fleeing Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan war.

Barely halfway to Jalalabad from the Pakistani border, with little warning, we pulled over to the side of the highway. …

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