The Silk Road has linked the East and the West from time immemorial. Once a renowned trade route, it transferred religions and cultures, the Silk Road has now turned into a heroin route and is carving out a path of violence and destruction through one of the world's most strategic yet volatile regions while on its way ot the end of its destinations in Europe.
In the 21st century, globalisation has opened up the world for better and for worse. While we all welcome the virtues and advantages of an open society, Poppy tells a different story: of a world facing destabilisation as a result of multiple threats. Drugs, armed conflict, international crime, chronic poverty, and the spread of hiv/aids; Poppy shows how closely they are all intertwined.
Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong documented the route for two decades, covering the rise of the Taliban, the American intervention after September 9/11 and the recent surge in opium production. The images and texts in the publication and the audiovisual installation reveal a dark side of globalisation, as reflected in the faces of smugglers, prisoners, prostitutes, border guards, children and farmers. With stunning landscapes along the trails as well as what have now become historic pictures of the Afghan civil war, this publication is a richly illustrated journey supplemented by facts, stories, and quotations. Beginning in Afghanistan, it moves across Central Asia, Russia, and the Balkans to East Africa, Dubai, and into western Europe, where the poppy trail brings us to the streets of London.
As such Poppy uncovers the relationship between 'far-away' places such as Kandahar, Bishkek and Tirana, and the day-to-day events in our own neighbourhoods, such as street crime, drug addiction and even terrorism. By connecting the dots, Knoth and De Jong disclose the ever more complex patterns of our globalised world. Afghanistan serves as a fearsome model for regions in other parts of the world also affected by violence and conflict. A world in which war, crime, politics and money have become interdependent and entangled in entirely new ways. Conventional methods to solve these conflicts are no longer adequate.
Robert Knoth (Rotterdam, 1963) is an internationally renowned documentary photographer. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines worldwide. His clients include The Guardian (UK); NRC Handelsblad (NL), New York Times (USA) and Greenpeace.
Antoinette de Jong (Tilburg, 1964) is photographer, writer and broadcaster, based in the Netherlands. Her work includes in depth reporting and documentaries for VPRO and Radio Netherlands World Service and the BBC World Service. She has worked in many conflict areas including Somalia, Iraq, Former Yugoslavia, and has covered developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan for almost two decades.
Deutscher Fotobuchpreis 2013 - Golden medal
Kees Scherer Award for Best Dutch photo book 2011-2012 - Nominated
Canon Zilveren Camera Award 2012 - 1st prize
New York Photo Festival 2012 - Finalist
Lens Culture 2012 - Honourable Mention
Book & Installation:Dutch Doc Award 2013 - Shortlisted
Paul Loomis, American Suburb X: '
Poppy works a kind of magic. It is not a news report or a compilation. Rather, the authors tell a complex story, and their insight, gained from decades of traveling opium’s routes, enables us to glimpse the poppy economy and its causes in surprising detail. Immerse yourself in this book
and you will emerge believing the world to be a very different place than it was before Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong led you on Poppy: Trails of Afghan Heroin.' (Rated 9.5) (read the full review
Golden Medal at the Deutscher Fotobuchpreis: ' This project catapults us with full force in the globalized presence, about this book there was no discussion, it is a class of its own, very modern in shape, very relevant in content, very thorough in the handling of this theme, this is a brilliant book.' (read the full report)
Foto8/ Jon Levy: ' It sets Poppy upon a pedestal of immense photographic, journalistic and design achievement. (...) I stated when I first saw the book that it re-affirmed my belief in the power of publishing photojournalism. I have no doubt that it is my book of the year and a project that will be highly valued for decades to come.' (read the full review)
Conscientious blog/ Jörg Colberg: ' Poppy is an epic tale ... With its very smart presentation and the quality of the photography and the writing, this book is setting a new benchmark ... Highly recommended.' (read the full review)
Le Monde/ Rémi Coignet: ' Poppy est une épopée … Poppy, Trails of Afghan Heroin fait la démonstration, assez rare actuellement, que le livre de photographie peut être un parfait support pour une enquête journalistique au long cours, sans aucune posture auteuriste.' (read the full review)
TimemachineMagazine/ Jess Scully: ' Poppy is a dense, intense object of a book that weighs in at almost 500 pages. Images and text ricochet back and forth in time and space. Knoth’s photographs, overlaid with short, brutal captions, saturate the uncoated stock with dream-like blurs of colour, sacrificing detail and clarity for texture and depth ... I read Poppy shortly after finishing Gary Shteyngart’s novel Absurdistan. There were echoes of the same grim humour and absurdity inPoppy.' (read the full review) Der Spiegel/Gunda Schwantje: ' Der Bilder- und Informationsstrom hat Tempo und entfaltet eine feine Dynamik. ... Poppy ist rau, direkt und knallhart.' (read the full review)
Lecture by Jon Levy founder of Foto8 at #phonar Jörg M. Colberg flipping through the book