Dead bodies on the street, photographed from a car. The maker of the photograph cannot be revealed. Victims are mostly kidnapped and then murdered. Bodies are thrown on the street as warning or terror. Some militias prohibit family members to pick up the dead bodies. Sometimes it proves be a booby trap.
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Words Without Pictures

04.08.08 | Julian Stallabrass

I have been reading two books with lots of material about photographic images but no pictures. One, by Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris, Standard Operating Procedure: A War Story, constructs the events at Abu Ghraib through interviews with the prison guards and other US Army personnel (Morris has produced a film of the same name using the same material). The authors do not reproduce the notorious photographs because they argue that the pictures in and of themselves are misleading, and what .....read more

Holiday Snaps

26.06.08 | Julian Stallabrass

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I have been working through the 300-odd publicly available images from Abu Ghraib to make a selection for the University of Brighton Gallery exhibition, Iraq Through the Lens of Vietnam. It is far from being a usual curatorial task. How to select among the various horrors exhibited? Should one stress the repetitious nature of this photographic trophy taking, or give full scope to its variety? How should such images be displayed? Should they be differentiated from the examples of photojournali .....read more

Smiles and Salutes

21.05.08 | Julian Stallabrass

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This is a photograph taken by a US military photographer. It is a typical example of one of the most durable genres of such photography: soldiers getting on well with children in an occupied country. Many such pictures were taken by US Army photographers in Vietnam, and skewed and subversive versions were made by Philip Jones Griffiths, who took photographs of soldiers offering children cigarettes and pornography. Here in a sunny Iraq, it is a scene of smiles and curiosity, though the .....read more