World-famous photographer Tim Page is joining the United Nations mission in Afghanistan to document efforts to shore up democracy and peacebuilding efforts in the South Asian nation.
Mr. Page, from the United Kingdom, will capture images of the final weeks before landmark presidential and provincial council elections on 20 August, as well as photographing the lead-up to the International Day of Peace on 21 September.
"One image is worth 1,000 words, or is it a billion pixels?" said Mr. Page, voicing hope that his work will have the same impact as images taken during elections in Cambodia in 1993 and Bosnia in 1998.
While in Afghanistan, the renowned shutterbug will also hold a series of master classes for young Afghan photographers.
"For me, the chance to mentor Afghan photojournalists is an awesome privilege, to promote their skills and passions," said Mr. Page, who snapped some of the most famous and enduring images during the Viet Nam War during the course of his nearly five-decade career.
The head of the UN mission, known as UNAMA, expressed optimism that the photographer will help raise awareness of the hopes and aspirations of the Afghan people ahead of the historic polls.
"Too often the images we see of Afghanistan are those of conflict and violence," said Kai Eide, who also serves as the Secretary-General's Special Representative. "Afghanistan has another story to tell. Few people have the opportunity to see the dignity and determination with which Afghan people live under the most challenging circumstances."
Recently, he told the UN News Centre that the upcoming elections are by far the most difficult and complex he has ever seen, illustrated by the use of over 3,000 donkeys to deliver ballot papers to the most remote regions.
Despite flaws in the process, the envoy said the campaigns were dignified and the political debate intense.
In addition, the "security organizations - the Afghan army, the Afghan police and ISAF - are doing their utmost with the Election Commission to identify and try to open as many as possible," said Mr. Eide.
Text from the UNAMA web-site, the United Nations' Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, click view for more information.