Published by Trolley
Zealotry has many forms of madness, and the Taliban are no exception. In the Toyota Land Cruiser abandoned in Kandahar by Mullah Omar, the man who banned music on pain of prison and torture, was found a cache of popular music CDs.
Kandahar, a city of Pashtuns noted for their gaiety, so to speak, where Mullah Omar had made his final headquarters, has traditions of men in high-heeled sandals, with make-up of kohl and painted nails like sultry silent-movie stars. They liked to have their pictures taken and, because the Taliban most certainly needed passports, their vanities were accomodated in the hole-in-the-wall photo shops that exist in downtown Kandahar.
The Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak, on war assignment for the New Yorker, discovered their photographs days after they had fled the city. They hung among portraits of Bruce Lee, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ahmed Shah Massoud, their faces retouched by the artful brushwork of the photographer.
As exotic backdrops the subjects have chosen chalets in the Swiss Alps, where the mountains are green and Julie Andrews sings, rather than the forbidding grey and brown of their own country.
Some are alone, others with a friend or a Kalashnikov, with garish colours stroked into the theme, along with flowers. They were the killers who have fled, leaving behind an absurd record of their presence.
Thomas Dworzak was born in1972 in Koetzting and grew up in the small town of Cham in Bavaria.
After and while finishing high school he started to travel and photograph in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. After living in Avila, Prague and Moscow, studying Spanish, Czech and Russian, he photographed the war in former Yugoslavia. He moved to Tbilisi, Georgia, in 1993 to begin work on a long-term project on the Caucasus and its people, covering the conflicts in Chechnya, Karabakh and Abkhazia. He continues with this project today.
Based in Paris from 1999 he covered the Kosovo crisis for US News and World Report and returned to Chechnya the same year. After the fall of Grozny in early 2000 he embarked a project on the impact of the war in Chechnya on the neighboring North Caucasus, covering in between the events in Israel, the war in Macedonia, and the refugee crisis in Pakistan.
Post 9/11 he has spent several months in Afghanistan for The New Yorker and returned to Chechnya in 2002. Since the fall of 2002 he has covered the crises in Iraq, Iran and Haiti, and the US elections.
From 1995 to 1999 he was distributed by Wostok Press. In 2002 he became a Magnum nominee, in 2004 a member. He is based in Paris and New York and contributes to The New Yorker, Newsweek, USNews, Paris Match, The New York Times Magazine and Time Magazine.