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HomeContentsThemes > Iraq


Information requests
10079.01   Improving content on countries
10079.02   The excavations of Victor Place at Khorsabad, Iraq (1950s)
10079.03   A. Kerim: Camera Studies in Iraq (ca. 1925)
10079.04   Gulf War (1990-1991): Introduction
10079.05   Gulf War (1990-1991): The Highway of Death (26-27 February 1991)
10079.06   Gulf War (1990-1991): Sabotaging the oil wells of Kuwait (1991)
10079.07   Thoughts on the Gulf War (1990-1991)
10079.08   Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Introduction
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated.
Information requests 
10079.01   Asia >  Improving content on countries 
We are seeking to extend the information and examples we can share on this country.
  • Earliest photographs
  • Key photographers and their studios
  • Major documentary photographic series
  • Significant historical events
  • Books, magazines and journals - including their covers
  • Photographic societies and associations - including outings and meetings
These points are indicative of topics that could be included on this page and if you have expertise you would like to share now is the time to get in touch.
If you are able to assist in any way it is appreciated.
10079.02   Asia >  The excavations of Victor Place at Khorsabad, Iraq (1950s) 
Between 1851 and 1854 Victor Place[1] researched and excavated the archaeological site of Dur-Sharrukin,[2] present day Khorsabad, in Mesopotamia (Iraq). Gabriel Tranchard took calotypes of the excavations. 
10079.03   Asia >  A. Kerim: Camera Studies in Iraq (ca. 1925) 
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10079.04   Asia >  Gulf War (1990-1991): Introduction 
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On 2 August 1990 Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. A coalition headed by the US prepared to remove Iraq from Kuwait after diplomacy and threats failed - because of a general feeling that the invasion was not justified, oil supplies from the region were threatened and the increasing risk that if unchecked the Iraqi army would move into Saudi Arabia it was possibly to gain support from 34 countries willing to supply troops to force the Iraqi army back.
The ground campaign to drive the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, initially designated DESERT SWORD and subsequently DESERT SABRE, began on 24 February 1991. On one sector of the line in ninety hours of continuous movement and combat, VII Corps (under Lt. Gen. Frederick M. Franks, Jr.) which included 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), the 1st Cavalry Division (Armored), the 1st and 3d Armored Divisions, the British 1st Armored Division, the 2d Armored Cavalry, and the 11th Aviation Brigade fought against the best units of the Iraqi military. Franks' troops destroyed more than a dozen Iraqi divisions, an estimated 1,300 tanks, 1,200 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, 285 artillery pieces, and 100 air defense systems, and captured nearly 22,000 men. At the same time, the best Iraqi divisions destroyed only 7 MlA1 Abrams tanks, 15 Bradleys, 2 armored personnel carriers, and 1 Apache helicopter. And while killing unknown thousands of enemy troops, VII Corps lost 22 soldiers killed in action. But where are the war photographs? The control of foreign media access to war zones was restricted and so no pool reporters had eyewitness accounts of the clashes between allied troops - reporters were allowed access to sites largely after the bodies had been buried. Information came largely from military briefings, and visits by journalists were controlled by the military and attempted to cover up any embarrassing information.
General Wesley K. Clark, U.S. Army, Retired, now a military analyst, believes that as a result of the "Vietnam mentality" the military made an error by restricting press coverage during the Gulf War. "We had a 1st Armored Division tank battle that was just incredible, perhaps the biggest armored battle ever, but not a single image was reported or documented for history by the press." (Walter Isaacson. "News from the Frontline", Wall Street Journal, 9 January 2003, Opinion sec.)
This meant that the victories on the coalition side were not well reported and with limited photographic material events such as the Ameriyah [Amiriyah] shelter in Baghdad and the Highway of Death became prominent and opponents of the war could use them for propaganda
10079.05   Asia >  Gulf War (1990-1991): The Highway of Death (26-27 February 1991) 
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During the Gulf War (1990-1991) on 26th and 27th February 1991 the road from Mutlaa in Kuwait to Basra in Iraq was filled with retreating Iraqi forces and refugees following the decimating land campaign of the coalition. The four abreast fleeing vehicles were trapped and then annilated by bombing and continued strafing. Thousands of vehicles were destroyed and an untold number of people killed, soldiers and civilians. The television footage and the photographic stills led General Powell to recommend to President George Bush that the war be ended immediately. Powell feared a world outrage at what might seem to be the wanton killing of retreating soldiers.
The horrifying photograph taken by Kenneth Jarecke of an incinerated soldier still at the cab of a truck on Highway 8 (the so-called "Highway of Death") remains one of the iconic images of the Gulf War (1990-1991). Originally rejected as being too graphic it was published in non-US publications before appearing in American Photographer and in January 1992 it was awarded the Leica Medal of Excellence. 
10079.06   Asia >  Gulf War (1990-1991): Sabotaging the oil wells of Kuwait (1991) 
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On 22 January 1991 the Iraqi forces of Saddam Hussein started to blow 732 oil wells of Kuwait with 611 catching fire and on the 25th they continued this policy of environmental warfare by releasing vast quantities of crude oil into the Persian Gulf. The fires caused vast plumes of toxic black smoke that at ground level turned day into night.
A consortium of contractors was put together to extinguish the fires and Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado recorded the event. What distinguishes the work of Salgado is his ability to show the heroic in everyday people dealing with environmental, economic or social adversity. 
10079.07   Asia >  Thoughts on the Gulf War (1990-1991) 
The aftermath of the Gulf War (1991) was covered by numerous photojournalists:
  • In his book A Different Nuclear War: Children of the Gulf War the Japanese ani-nuclear photojournalist Takashi Morizumi chronicled the effect of deleted uranium weapons on the children living near the battle zones of the First Gulf War. ( - the rise in the numbers of childhood cancers and physical deformities in southern Iraq is considerable.
  • Gulf War syndrome has been linked to a number of issues including the use of vaccines, pollution from the oil fires and the use of depleted uranium in weapons systems.
10079.08   Asia >  Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988): Introduction 
The Iranian Revolution evolved out of a popular movement against the US-backed Shah in Iran. The reason Saddam Hussein gave for the 22 Sept 1980 invasion of Iran was control over the Shatt al Arab waterway but he also hoped to get the rich oilfields of Khuzestan in Western Iran. The frontlines swung backwards and forward until the UN sponsored ceasefire of July 1988. The war was a bitter struggle with possibly as many as 1.5 million killed - and chemical weapons were used along with the bombing of each others capitals.
  • Reza, an Azerbaijani photojournalist, covered the wars in the Middle East and particularly the 444 days of the Iranian Hostage Crisis at the US Embassy in Tehran that bought down President Jimmy Carter and allowed Ronald Reagan into the White House. Reza's photos of American hostages (in the covert arms for hostages deal with Iran) made the front cover of numerous magazines throughout the world, including the Newsweek cover on January 26, 1981 - he also covered the war. In 1981 he had to flee Iran because of his coverage of the Kurds.[3]
  • Abbas left Iran in 1980 and published the photographs he took in the book, La Révolution Confisquée[4] on the Iranian Revolution. In 1997, Abbas began returning to Iran on a regular basis, recording life in the Islamic Republic. He published Iran Diary[5] which consists of his photographs taken between 1971 and 2000.

  1. Λ M. Pillet, 1962, Un pionnier de l'assyriologie: Victor Place, consul de France à Mossoul, explorateur du palais de Sargon II (722-705 av. J.-C.) à Khorsabad, (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale)
    Rare photographs of the excavation at Khorsabad (Iraq) are held by a private image library - Michael Cohen photography. 
  2. Λ Dur-Sharrukin (Sargon's Fortress) - Wikipedia
    (Accessed: 1 January 2015) 
  3. Λ For Reza - Betty Blair, "In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice: Through the Eyes of a Photojournalist - Reza", Azerbaijan International, vol. 6 no. 1, pp. 38-41
    (Accessed: 2 August 2013) 
  4. Λ Abbas, 1980, Iran, la révolution confisquée, (Paris: Clétrat) 
  5. Λ Abbas, 2002, IranDiary 1971-2002, (Paris: Autrement)


HomeContents > Further research

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General reading 
Eisenman, Stephen F., 2010, The Abu Ghraib Effect, (Reaktion Books) isbn-10: 1861896468 isbn-13: 978-1861896469 [Δ
Kamber, Michael, 2013, Photojournalists on War: The Untold Stories from Iraq, (University of Texas Press) isbn-13: 978-0292744080 [Foreword by Dexter Filkins] [Δ
Kerim, A., 1925 (ca), Camera Studies in Iraq, ([Baghdad]: Hasso Bros.) [Δ
Lowy, Benjamin, 2011, Iraq: Perspectives, (Duke, NC: Duke University Press) isbn-13: 978-0822351665 [Δ
Vaczek, L & Buckland, G, 1981, Travelers In Ancient Lands: A Portrait Of The Middle East, 1839-1919, (Boston: New York Graphic Society) [Δ
Readings on, or by, individual photographers 
Ashley Gilbertson 
Gilberston, Ashley & Filkins, Dexter (introduction), 2007, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: A Photographer's Chronicle of the Iraq War, (University Of Chicago Press) isbn-10: 0226293254 isbn-13: 978-0226293257 [Δ
Susan Meiselas 
Meiselas, Susan, 1997, Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History, (New York: Random House) [Δ
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - 

HomeContentsPhotographers > Photographers worth investigating

Gertrude Bell  (1868-1926) • Ashley Gilbertson  (1978-) • Juhn Henry Haynes  (1849-?) • Sean Hemmerle  (1966-) • Chris Hondros  (1970-2011) • Susan Meiselas  (1948-) • Wilfred Thesiger  (1910-2003)
HomeGeographical regionsAsia > Iraq 
A wider gazeRelated topics 
Gulf War (1990-1991) 
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) 
Iraq War (2003-2011) 
Key dates 
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) 
Gulf War (1990-1991) 
Iraq War (2003-2011) 

HomeVisual indexes > Iraq

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ThumbnailWar: First Gulf War (1991) 
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Refreshed: 19 January 2015, 01:00
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