Location: Afghanistan

In 2018, Giulio Piscitelli visited EMERGENCY’s Surgical Centres for War Victims in Kabul and Lashkar-Gah, Afghanistan. He met war victims who continue to face public indifference after 18 years. He gave them names and faces and discovered their stories.

They are stories where violence punctures daily life without warning. They are stories that reveal the wounds – zakhem, in Dari – left by war.

Shell and shrapnel wounds take centre stage in the photo exhibition because, ultimately, the war begins with them.

Deeper wounds are also revealed, however – like the fear and exasperation that never leave you. You have to learn to control them, while everyone else in the world seems to be unaware of it all.

Giulio Piscitelli shows the Afghan people’s strength. His shots transport you into a world that is illuminated, almost unreal – a realm outside time and space. The true nature of war is that it is everywhere and never-ending.

His work has made these wounds comprehensible, simple, powerful, and eloquent.

Zakhem is a story everyone will understand.


Giulio Piscitelli (1981, Napoli), earned a degree in Communication Studies, approached photography in 2008, and after graduation began working with Italian and foreign news agencies.

His work is mainly related to current topics and in the last years he focused on the immigration crisis in Europe, producing his first and still ongoing long-term project “Harraga”, that in 2017 became a book published by Contrasto Books.

His reports have been published by national and international newspapers and magazines such as Internazionale, New York Times, Espresso, Stern, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Time, La Stampa and others.