Robert Nickelsberg

Afghan soldier hands red solidarity flag to Soviet officer, 2010

Robert Nickelsberg worked as a TIME magazine contract photographer for nearly thirty years, specializing in political and cultural change in developing countries. After covering Central America in the mid 1980s he established his base in Asia. Living in New Delhi from 1988 to 1999, Nickelsberg recorded the rise of religious extremism in South Asia. His work has also encompassed Iraq, Kuwait, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, and Indonesia. Nickelsberg’s images have documented human rights abuses by Islamic militants and security forces, and post-traumatic stress disorder in Indian-controlled Kashmir. 

Nickelsberg has documented Afghanistan since 1988, when he accompanied a group of mujahideen crossing the border from Pakistan. Nickelsberg has one of the more comprehensive archives of the rise of Islamic extremism with mujahideen training camps in Pakistan, followed by the former Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988, including the mujahideen takeover in Kabul in 1992 with the 1996 takeover by the Taliban forces and post 9-11 occupation by US and NATO forces to the present day, 2016. His 2013 book, AfghanistanA Distant War, published by Prestel, captures his 25 years of work in Afghanistan. 


We started work on Bob's archive at the beginning of February 2017, with the assistance of Claire Dorfman, a junior at NYU's Photography & Imaging Department at Tisch. For the past month we have been working on the first phase of processing the collection: sleeving black and white negatives from Bob's work in South America in the 1980s, and matching them to their contact sheets and caption envelopes. 


After this phase, we will move onto scanning these negatives on an Imacon scanner, and setting up a digital archive in addition to incorporating the physical negatives into Bob's existing system of organization for his color photography.

10th Mtn. Div. Afghan National Army, 2006

Taliban soldier fires a rocket, 2010

A Kabul family flees their home, 2010



Robert Nickelsberg’s collection is going to American University. Below are pictures of the archive at American University