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Training a New Wave of Afghan Photographers

Last month, a group of college photography students produced their first contact sheets, the blueprints for burgeoning artistic careers. But these students are unique in that they are also inaugurating a four-year photography program at Kabul University in Afghanistan.

Afghan-American photographer Masood Kamandy was living in New York City last year when he learned that the university did not have a formal photography course. Working with the school and the Visual Arts Foundation, Kamandy began the fledgling department this past March, raising funds partly by organizing an auction of photos at Christie's.

Kamandy, who is in Kabul now working with the students, tells Scott Simon in an interview that the project has given him a deeper understanding of Afghan people. "It's a part of me that I've always wondered about, being Afghan-American... [the students] are really working hard at it. They are really inspiring."

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