The Best View of Heaven is from Hell

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As a serving soldier in the British Army, Bran Symondson became fascinated by the Afghan National Police (ANP),their ethos and their daily existence in the war with the Taliban. When he was given the opportunity to return and document these characters as a civilian photographer in 2010, he was able to capture a unique perspective on the current conflict.

Symondson’s photographs represent a side of the conflict that has remained completely untold until now. For the first time, an exhibition of his remarkable work will be on show at The Idea Generation Gallery, in images that lay bare the remarkable contradictions in the life of an Afghan policeman.

The men of the ANP preserve as well as corrupt; they must be relied upon, but can’t be trusted; they are proud of their appearance in the midst of squalor, and are curiously feminine in a world of machismo, force and power. The role of the ANP is at the heart of every contradiction, as it is their job to keep the encroaching sides apart, yet help bring Afghanistan together as a nation.