A U.S. marine in Afghanistan has been documenting his deployment on his camera phone. He is clearly passionate about photography, by his talent and the amount of pictures he's been able to take. It's the same to me as a beautiful artwork done in a ball point pen. If you can make compelling portraits on a camera phone, you really have skill. His work is here on flickr.
I sent the link to my dad who is a retired marine pilot who has a few trips of Afghanistan under his active duty belt, but is now currently flying a contract job back in Afghanistan. I was surprised what he had to say via email, only because he seems to talk more in email than he does when he's home, especially in terms of this kind of topic. Here's what he wrote me:
I like the photos............but they make me sad. It is really hard here for these people and I am not sure we are going to help them in the long run. I think they want us out and that most are still stuck in such dispair..............I fly over farmers who are cutting wheat with a sickle (by hand) that is probably 100 years old. We are the fat Americans with the technology and money. They are so poor and live such a hard life that the photos can sometimes be such a negative when I look at them. Where I am located, they do want to still kill you...........don't tell your mom but the place is pretty hot at times. The Shank Valley is just south of Bagram and Kabul, which is much further north then Khandahar. It is also closer to the Packi Border where the tribes have little loyalty to the government here. So, you don't see the money being distributed here towards the people. OK, enough geopolitical stuff. Have fun on the interview and show em what you got. I am off today.........going to help out flight line and wash some aircraft.
Love ya, Dad