The Iraqis we see in the news almost always fall into three types–The Evil Fundamentalist, The Useless Official, and The Wailing Victim. The media have a hard time dealing with a broad range of characters, so they tend to fall back on these types again and again.
Of course the reality is more complex. While there’s no shortage of bloodshed and corruption, most of Iraq’s 33 million people go about their day-to-day affairs trying to live a normal life.
Back in 2012 I traveled to Iraq to write about it for the now-moribund travel blog Gadling. Click the link to read the series. Sadly, the photo galleries have been taken offline, but you can still read the articles for the moment.
It was surprisingly easy to take photos on the streets. Most people said yes when I asked, and many people came up to me asking for me to take their photo. Some even insisted. It was obvious they wanted to be documented as another view of their country. So here are a few portraits of Iraqis to keep these folks from being faceless. Unfortunately, those whose names I know will have to remain nameless. Being friendly to a foreigner isn’t a problem in most parts of Iraq, but it’s probably illegal in the Islamic State.
Sean McLachlan is the author of the post-apocalyptic Toxic World series and several other titles, including his action series set in World War One, Trench Raiders. His historical fantasy novella The Quintessence of Absence, was published by Black Gate. Find out more about him on his blog and Amazon author’s page.
All photos copyright Sean McLachlan except where otherwise noted.