(The Guardian) Mark Brown Oct. 23 2019 01.00 They are probably the least likely men to ever be willingly pictured in heavy makeup painted nails and holding plastic flowers against a kitsch background of Swiss Alpine chalets. But pictured they were all gun-toting Taliban fighters often holding hands and posing for photographs which will be shown next year the Barbican has announced. The photographs were found in Kandahar Afghanistan in 2002 by the Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak. They are visually arresting" said Barbican curator Alona Pardo and remarkable because they are real. These are not constructed photographs these men have chosen to have the photographs made and present themselves to camera like that. It just shows you the agency of images to destabilize our perceptions." Photography was banned by the Taliban but a handful of photo studios were allowed to remain open not least because passport photographs were still needed. Dworzak was in Kandahar for the New Yorker a few weeks after remaining Taliban fighters had been chased away. He came across the photographs in the backroom of a studio and offered to buy them. They were more than happy. They said look theyre not going to come back to pick them up." He said the photographs could be seen as an extreme form of hypocrisy. But he also found them incredibly touching".