Brick Factory / by nic lehoux

Road to Kunduz, near Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

Peripheral to the documentation of the Gohar Khatoon School in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, I set out to document the pulse of the city, and its surroundings. In an effort to document the source of some of the materials used on the school’s construction, we stumbled upon this incredible brick factory, seemingly frozen in time. Located on the edge of Taliban activity, it is spread over at least 5 square kilometres. The workers use a fabrication process that ingeniously utilizes natural ventilation techniques and methods that haven’t changed in 300 years. Millions of bricks are hand formed on site, arranged in a prescribed pattern, then coal fired on site for several weeks. The cinematographically qualities were exceptional. We spent several hours in the trenches with these workers, immersed in their ritual. As the sun set and they went back to their small primitive huts on site, I found it difficult to extricate myself from this incredible moment documenting these photogenic roots of industrial revolution.