Thursday, July 17, 2008

Iraq Trip - Day 2 - Part 2

Erbil, Iraq
The afternoon was much better than the frustrating morning. I worked on a second story idea I had about the city, the reconstruction effort. Erbil has seen a boom in construction, to document this I started out just doing some wide shots of the massive amounts of cranes in one part of the city, obviously this is not enough material for a story, so Memet and I decided to try to sneak into a site to photograph the workers. There was an armed guard at the entrance, after a brief conversation and explanation of who we were, he agreed to let us in as long as we left our passports at his guard post, I assume to hand over to the police if we caused or got into trouble. We did and proceeded on in to the site, we were waved in by some workers so I started shooting away. Not more than 5min elapsed and another security guard, unarmed, approached us with what must have been a supervisor of some sort. They seemed very puzzled by our presence, but not overly concerned, Memet again explain our story, they replied we needed permission from the main construction office, which was a ways off. I assumed this was the end of it and we were being kicked out. The supervisor volunteered to call over to the office for us, after a brief chat the office said it was fine for us to be there as long as we were accompanied. We spent a good amount of time on the site, I got some decent material for this brief photo story, I managed to step in a pile of dry plaster, making my shoes and lower legs solid white, but it went well otherwise.
The rest of the evening we just explored the city, snapping photos of interesting people and locations we found on the way. I now feel satisfied that I accomplished something with my day in Iraq, I was concerned I would leave empty handed in terms of photos. Sure I didn’t have enough time to work on a story on the Kurdish Military forces, as I had hoped, but I got to experience the city, and document a historic part of it’s history. Perhaps a second visit, with a larger budget, and some further advanced planning is due.

Some kids I encountered.

A sample of the reconstruction story.

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