Photographer’s Images from Afghanistan in 1976 to be Displayed at Watertown Library

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“Father & Daughter, Afghanistan, 1976.” by Joseph Flack Weiler, is one of the images that will be on display at the Watertown Library.

“Faces of Afghanistan, 1976,” which showcases the photography of Watertown resident Joseph Flack Weiler, will be on show at the Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St., from Oct. 2 to 30, 2022.

Weiler sent out the following information about the exhibit:

I used 35mm Nikon-F cameras with Kodak Tri-X film. I do all my own film and print processing.
I have been exhibiting my black & white photography since 1965.

My background includes studies at Rochester Institute of Technology, School of Photography and Syracuse University, School of Journalism. I have worked as a photo editor and owned a Photo Gallery in Gloucester for 25 years.

“Faces of Afghanistan, 1976” has been exhibited at the Berkshire Museum and The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. I have been a Watertown resident since 1978.

My goal for this Exhibit is to provide a look at Afghanistan before the 43 years of war that ended in 2021. In 1976 Afghanistan was experiencing peace & prosperity. The Afghanis were helpful and friendly. In 1976 I visited Afghanistan for two months. Much has changed in Afghanistan since 1976, yet the deserts and mountains remain and the Afghanis’ fierce determination to govern themselves remains strong.

“Prayer Hour, Afghanistan, 1976” by Joseph Flack Weiler.

I traveled by local buses and trucks to Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, Jalalabad and Nuristan Province.
In the fifteenth century, Herat was a major learning center for poets, philosophers, and artists. Some of the 100 foot tall minarets from Queen Shad’s 15th century Madrasa (school) are still standing. On the road to Kandahar I passed many nomad encampments with black tents surrounded by their camels. Kandahar was a major farming region, rich with apricots, grapes, melons, wheat and cotton.

In Kabul, I photographed the national Afghan sport Buzkashi, or Afghan Polo. The Exhibit includes my photograph of the Buzkashi game. From Kabul I followed the Kabul River Gorge down to Jalalabad. On my first morning in Jalalabad I woke up at dawn to a cacophony of camel bells. A Kuchi camel caravan swept through town with their chickens riding on top of donkeys! These nomad camel caravans traveled from India to Afghanistan to trade with other tribes.

In Nuristan I stayed at a Red Crescent Station (Red Cross) for several days. The Doctor was placed in an impossible position of not having adequate medical supplies. He was stoic; my tears flowed after seeing some of his patients. A baby’s face had been accidentally burned with boiling water. Her complete face, eyes and mouth were covered with blisters. I asked why she did not go to a hospital. The doctor said that a hospital was too costly and that the baby would most likely die.

A combination of 43 years of war (1979 to 2021), economic sanctions, economic collapse, Covid-19 pandemic, and a massive drought have led to a devastating famine. This is an ongoing major humanitarian crisis.

“Three Afghan Friends, Afghanistan, 1976” by Joseph Flack Weiler.

In 2021 the United Nations World Food Program predicted that 1,000s of Afghan children, pregnant and breast-feeding woman would starve to death. Help prevent this from repeating in the winter of 2022.

All the photographs are for sale. Twenty percent of all sales will be donated to to provide food for the Starving Children and Mothers of Afghanistan.

For an Exhibit Preview please visit

For the photographer’s Exhibit Walk-Thru contact Joseph at

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