©Baptiste GiroudonI am interested in democracy and the belief structure that it carries in societies today. That is why I started my project about democracy and elections in the world. The first part of this work is set in New York City on the night President Obama was elected. As a counterpoint to that night I followed my theme to Kabul and photographed during the presidential campaign in Afghanistan.

Picturing the run for president in these very different countries seems very far from a ‘good comparison’, but putting together pictures of the people in the street, portraits of different classes, reveals some evidence: People share similar hopes, in Afghanistan or in the United States, and I believe all around the world. They look forward to better governance, for change, for a good life under a democratic system. The question is… can democracy bring that?

I don’t know but I think this kind of project can whisper some rough sketches as answers. I think both the interest and the role of photography relies not only in telling stories but also in asking questions.
Those questions are still in my mind today as I embark on the further photographic investigation into this idea : What does an election for a citizen in Afghanistan mean?. What does he or she think about democracy? Surely a strange concept for a country that has been in a state of war for more than 30 years, whilst at the same time, for Americans, democracy is incredibly evolved and used as the very basis of society.

Finally, as a photo-reporter, I travel widely and see many different things, experiencing a variety of situations. This way of life permits me to present my point of view to the different stories I work on. This is why I think these images work together well enough to be produced and shown as a single body of work.

Baptiste Giroudon

Nov 2008, New York.
August 2009, Kabul.