[stextbox id=”info”]When there is a war going on and you hand a gun to a boy, he will learn simply by firing everyday—he learns through practice, not in a school…that’s how I learnt to use my camera, Rafiq Maqbool once said in an interview. A few week ago Maqbool was one of the Pulitizer finalists, a feat no Kashmiri photojournalist has come close to.[/stextbox]
His photo was nominated in the category of “unforgettable images that take viewers to the frontlines of America’s war in Afghanistan”. The photo, taken on June 1, 2009, shows U.S. medical personnel treating an American soldier in the emergency room at the Bagram Air Base hospital in Afghanistan, after the soldier was wounded in a roadside bomb. The conflict-photographer, as Rafiq is referred to in many citations, has been with the international news agency Associated Press (AP) since 2001, and has covered the Afghanistan war since 2003.
Born and brought up in Srinagar, 33-year-old Rafiq studied science but did not complete his graduation. He credits his career to his cousin, Mehrajudin, a press photographer, who handed over a camera to him at an early age.
In early nineties Rafiq had a narrow escape from under the gun of a CRPF man in his home during a crackdown. He moved to live with his cousin in Press Colony, when gradually he was exposed to the world of media. A camera in hand, a lot of hits and trials, Maqbool began his journey.
He worked with regional newspapers Kashmir Times, Kashmir Observer and then came a brief stint with international news agency Reuters. In 2001, he joined the AP. He started reporting Afghanistan in 2003.