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Unembedded: Four independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq

Independent photojournalists Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Thorne Anderson and Kael Alford talk about the Iraq mainstream media fails to cover

Independent photojournalists Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Thorne Anderson and Kael Alford talk about the Iraq mainstream media fails to cover and the risks they take to show us the real face of the country in their book Unembedded.

The collected work of four award-winning photojournalists, Unembedded is a book and exhibition project that stands in sharp contrast to the sound-bite depth of much embed news coverage of Iraq. Working outside the confines of the official embed programme, independent journalists Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Kael Alford,Thorne Anderson, and Rita Leistner documented the issues often underreported by mainstream media. The result is a rare and intimate body of work.

“Blood started dripping on my camera and all that I could think about was how to keep the lens clean. A man in his forties next to me was crying. He wasn't injured, he was just crying. The helicopters wheeled overhead, and I realized that they were firing directly at us. I wanted to be invisible; I wanted to hide under the others.”

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad studied architecture in Baghdad University and had never travelled outside Iraq until after the recent war. A deserter from Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army, Ghaith lived underground in Baghdad for six years, changing his residence every few months to avoid detection and arrest. He began working as a journalist after the US-led invasion, writing for The Guardian and Washington Post.

Kael Alford was one of the few independent photographers in Baghdad during the US bombing documenting the impact of the war and its aftermath. On her most recent trip, she documented the culture surrounding the second front of insurgents, the Mehdi Militia, making many trips across front lines in Najaf and Sadr City to photograph their battles with US forces.

Thorne Anderson has spent ten months of the last two years in Iraq. He is among the few active journalists who worked in Iraq during the sanctions period before the most recent war. While covering the war itself from Baghdad, he was arrested by Iraqi intelligence and expelled from the country. He returned to Iraq as soon as the borders opened at the end of the war and has covered the nascent occupation resistance movements - both Sunni and Shiite. His most recent Iraq coverage focussed on Shiite uprisings from Sadr City to the besieged Najaf, where he and journalist Phillip Robertson spent three days inside the Imam Ali shrine with the Mehdi Militia and its supporters at the peak of the American military siege.


Ghaith Abdul-Ahad | talks
Thorne Anderson | talks
Kael Alford | talks


Date and Time:

23 June 2006 at 7:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



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