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Today my book “Dynamite and Prayers:Emerald Miners of Afghanistan” officially goes ON SALE in the United States in advance of an exhibit of my photographs during the PhotoNOLA festival in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Second Story Gallery at 2372 St. Claude Avenue from December 10th to the 13th, 2015.

Daily we see images of the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing war or seeking new lives flooding into Europe. According to the UNHCR more than half of the world’s refugees are from Syria, Afghanistan or Somalia. The Obama administration is making plans to raise the number of refugees accepted in the United States to as high as 100,000 in the coming years, an increase from 70,000 refugees allowed in this year. In Europe, kindness has prevailed for those who have taken these refugees into their homes and fear has spread where people have had no opportunity to have contact and know these brave, desperate souls.

During my decade of covering people affected by war for The New York Times and The Washington Post across the Middle East and Central Asia I have documented how war has upended communities and stolen the promise of a better future from the youth. In my new book “Dynamite and Prayers” I bring viewers in the desperate world of a group of young men facing an uncertain future in a war torn country. Through 40 captivating images the 60-page coffee table book tells the story of young men as they labor in the emerald mines of Afghanistan. These men toil, not for riches, but to earn enough money to buy their passage out of Afghanistan and to Europe. The book brings the viewer into the breathtaking mountain homes of the miners and ends with the visually stunning ancient horse game of Buzkashi played by their fathers.

With a foreword written by Carlotta Gall, a long time New York Times correspondent covering Afghanistan and Pakistan, the book gives context of the historic events that lead the miners to this moment. With rich insight and images that show the captivating beauty of these young Afghan men’s daily life, viewers will have the chance to inform themselves about just where this migration of humanity has come from and earn understanding of what it is they seek.

Proceeds from the book purchased directly from me through Etsy helps me continue my work of highlighting humanity in an ever increasingly chaotic world.

Thank you for your Support,

Max Becherer