One that sticks out - Frame Three. / by Dawn Webb

It was approx 4pm on a really warm, dusty weekday afternoon when I got the shout to go and assist the Welsh Guards on a visit to a small village called Basharan.  I was there to catch the handing over of keys to the new head teacher for a school built by ISAF.
This is a big deal in Afghanistan, as schooling means education and education means the future!

It was a 40 minute road move, a convoy of armoured trucks - full to the brim - people, ammunition, rations, water and all of my camera gear......every pothole hits you like a rod in the spine, the heat was 40C and the sweat dripping down my face, stinging my eyes.

We de-bussed from the armoured vehicles, both cameras tangled around my neck when before I knew it we were mobbed by more than 100 kids - this is very normal, they are usually wanting food/pencils/toys etc.  Generally if the kids are hanging around you know you should be fairly safe, i.e the Taliban tend to warn the elders and kids are kept away, so this time I was glad they were here.

Once they spotted I had a camera they singled me out,  as I looked different to the other soldiers  - they were inquisitive, they were trying to grab the camera more out of curiosity than anything else.

This one particular boy stood out, he was at the back of the group and very shy, he had a face that drew me in - his eyes were brighter than bright, his hair like straw but it was his skin!  His skin was riddled in burns, barely a smooth patch on his body.  He was the one I want a photograph of, not for military purposes but for my book, my selfish reasons - he was different.
I raised one camera in his direction and noticed he was very quick to turn his head away, he was shy.

I tried a second time and again he drooped his face knowing I had singled him out.  Wait - I had a little trick up my sleeve in the form of a little soft fluffy lion that I carried in times like this, it was a trick I learnt from a journalist on my last tour.  I would often attach it to the top of my camera, this guarantees you get "eyes to lens" from people, especially children.
On it went, I turned my back and covered the lion - singled him out again and BINGO! - He was transfixed on the lion, gazzing at me for enough time to fire off a few frames.

This poor boy, what had happened - I doubt I will ever know - but here he is.