Point of view: Ms. Kid Magnet

I forgot about children in third-world countries. Most love being photographed. This can be a problem.

I'm on my first trip to Afghanistan, where many women still wear the tentlike burka, which covers them from head to foot. I've brought long, loose tunics to wear over baggy pants, and scarves to cover my head. This, in theory, should help me "blend in." Ha! I'm much taller than most women here, my hair is an exotic (to Afghans) light brown, and I carry two enormous cameras everywhere I go. The fact that my scarf keeps getting tangled in my camera straps and falling off doesn't help, either. So much for blending in.

One recent morning in Kabul our driver, Malik Jan, and I went to take pictures at the Makroyan apartment complex. It had been built by the Soviets and looked as dull and dreary as any in Russia. I was disappointed at first: No one was outside. But then young children started to appear. Soon I had a little parade of short people following me. Then school let out for lunch.

I photographed beautiful schoolgirls walking home in their long black outfits with bright white scarves. Then my parade became a throng. The children were getting in the way of my subjects. Finally I decided to take their photo. They jostled each other to get into my frame. Now what? I couldn't move.

Malik Jan came to my rescue, brandishing a tree branch to part the crowd. We worked our way back to the car and made our escape. Photography is futile when you're a kid magnet.

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