Images, Politics


Detail from Amusement park — Baghdad, copyright Thorne Anderson


  <a href="" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', '', 'Iraq Uncensored']);" >Iraq Uncensored</a> is an online exhibit of the type of photojournalism that doesn&#8217;t get much play in the mainstream press:

    For months on end, these seven independent photographers and filmmakers have worked exclusively in Iraq documenting US troops and Iraqi civilians, resistance fighters and child laborers, imprisoned women and incarcerated youths. Using varied media and narrative styles ranging from photojournalism to first person narratives, cinema verite and found photography, Iraq Uncensored photographers present insights and subtleties beyond what daily news reporting can provide.

  Two of the photographers, <a href="" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', '', 'Thorne Anderson']);" >Thorne Anderson</a> and <a href="" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', '', 'Kael Alford']);" >Kael Alford</a> are friends of mine. I last saw Thorne and Kael on a brief trip to Bulgaria, where they bought a house when they were covering the war in Yugoslavia. At the time they were talking about perhaps settling down into a less adrenaline-filled lifestyle, maybe even returning to the US, but then the Iraq war broke out &#8230; Although I worry about them, I&#8217;m glad they are there doing what they do so well. Unlike a lot of other reporters, they aren&#8217;t embedded &#8211; but take risks to show us the human side of war &#8211; and of Iraq.

  These pictures were mostly taken in 2003 and 2004. Thorne and Kael <a href="" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', '', 'wrote about the process of taking these pictures']);" >wrote about the process of taking these pictures</a>.

    As you might expect, those inside were usually suspicious of us on first meeting. The day before we entered the shrine, Phillip told me an almost prophetic story about a performance art show he had seen once in New York. It was titled &#8220;I love America and America loves me.&#8221; It consisted of a room with a glass wall facing passersby on the street. Inside the room, the artist had a wild coyote let into the small space with him. For days, pedestrians outside were able to observe the gradual process by which the artist and the nervous coyote adapted to and grew comfortable with each other. It was a lot like that with Phillip and me and the fighters and pilgrims in the shrine. My first night in the shrine I ate three dinners as I moved through the courtyard fielding invitations to eat from the men circled in groups around large plates of rice with a bit of lentils.

  (I&#8217;ve not heard from Thorne in a while, and chanced upon this site while <a href="" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', '', 'reading Alex King&#8217;s blog']);" >reading Alex King&#8217;s blog</a>.)

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