September 1 – October 21, 2007
By now it is a truism that “The first casualty of war is truth.”
How is anyone to know what is going on? Which news source to believe: Al Jazeera? Fox? CNN? Both the New York Times and Washington Post recently apologized to their readers for the inadequacy of their pre-invasion period coverage.
US and other foreign journalists were “embedded” with American and British troops. Few were able to explore the Iraqi side of things.
Now it is unsafe for US journalists to walk the streets in much of Iraq. Few speak Arabic. In many situations reporting is prohibitively dangerous and difficult.
The Daylight Community Arts Foundation, a group committed to new forms of documentary, had the idea of providing Iraqi civilians with disposable cameras to get another, perhaps more tenable point of view. Why not ask the subjects what is going on, instead of making them the objects of a foreigner’s camera?
These pictures are a result of that experiment. They are glimpses from the inside. Ten people were given cameras in April and May. They were told: “This is an opportunity to show the American public what you want them to see.”
No one has found weapons of mass destruction. But in these pictures – taken from only ten rolls of film – there may be glimmers of another, more formidable weapon: understanding.
-Fred Ritchin, 2004
Fred Ritchin is the director of PixelPress.
PixelPress is an organization that encourages documentary photographers, writers, filmmakers, artists, human rights workers and students to take advantage of the digital media. They encourage an active dialogue between the author, reader and subject. PixelPress has worked with organizations such as Crimes of War, Human Rights Watch, World Health Organization and UNICEF, as well as individuals such as Machiel Botman, Kent Klich and Sebastião Salgado. To learn more visit www.pixelpress.org.
Daylight Community Arts Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on community-based documentary partnerships throughout the world. They believe that the distribution of imagery and text addressing issues of importance can empower individuals and communities to affect long-lasting change. To learn more about Daylight visit www.daylightmagazine.org.
All proceeds from the sale of the images will go to the ‘Friends of Jassim’, a collective of concerned individuals from the photographic community working to raise awareness and foster dialogue on the multitude of issues surrounding the work of fixers, while also urgently trying to secure the safety of Iraqi fixer Jassim.