faces and surfaces
With these pictures I want you to get a
sense of the simple fact that Iraq is not only Saddam
Hussein, weapons and wars. Iraq is 24 million fellow
human beings. It has been a civilisation for some 7,000
years. It has a distinct, rich culture; it has norms, and
- above all - it has pride.
I have never visited a country where there
is so much kindness and hospitality - a genuine welcoming
of the stranger. During the four weeks I spent in
Baghdad, Babylon and Basra, I never felt insecure or had
the feeling that I could not speak with the locals.
Neither did I sense that they were afraid to speak with
me as a foreigner.
2003 Jan Oberg
The future belongs
to the children, doesn't it?
Iraq has a young population; about half the people
are under 16 years old. They are innocent, they have a
right to live.
I did not go to Iraq to take pictures. I
was there with my friend, Christian Hårleman of
TFF, to interview people, to do fact-finding. So these
pictures were taken in between meetings, spontaneously.
During our first visit in May 2002, my digital camera
developed a serious lens problem that created blurred
spots and faulty light measurement. I decided to place
some of them here anyhow after giving them a manual
touch-up in Photoshop. After all, I felt that what they
may convey carries greater weight than technical
The pictures from January 2003 have been
taken with another digital camera. They too were
touched-up by me in Photoshop. They have a rather large
format, so please be patient as the pictures may take
some time to load.
There are enough words and intellectual
arguments on TFF's website. I have learned how important
it is to go and see, feel, hear, touch and smell a place.
Not all of you can go to Iraq but I invite you to travel
a bit through the images of its faces and surfaces.
Hopefully some of them can say more than I can by
just using words.
The people you meet here have suffered
unfairly, inside the inner cage of Saddam Hussein and the
outer cage of our sanctions. Look at them and ask whether
anything could justify the war and the present occupation
of their society.
The fact-finding mission to Iraq
- and, thus, this photo series - was made possible
by a grant from the Inge Lehmanns Legat af 1986 in
Oberg's Photography main page
© 2003 Jan Oberg