The Hawraman district of Kurdistan that straddles the mountainous Iran Iraq border is one of the more remote and stunning areas in the region. The houses are still made from stone instead of the horrible ubiquitous concrete that’s spreading across Iraq like a virus. The traditional music is a warbling male a cappella solo that [...]
One of the most frustrating and similarly rewarding parts of being in a foreign country is language. Frustrating because you can’t communicate and rewarding because you figure out how to. Sometimes you figure out how to by learning the local language. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find someone who speaks your native language. And sometimes [...]
It’s been a very long time since I’ve written down any of the totally strange things that have happened to me over the past weeks, but finally I’ve found a little time and a little inspiration to tell you a few stories. The first takes place a few weeks ago in Aziziya, a village in [...]
After a few months of waiting, Time has just posted my Smuggler piece. Click here to see how they decided to run it.
Last week, after a very disappointing “photo session” with Masoud Barzani I ended up in an Iranian Kurdish restaurant on the outskirts of Erbil, called 1001 Nights. The place was amazing. Truly. Deeply. Frighteningly. Firstly, the email address at the bottom of the menu read email@example.com (sic). The busboys all wore plastic bags on their [...]
The other day, on a visit to Erbi’s Citadel, I ducked into the “Antiq Kala” to see what “antiques” they had on sale. Here are two absolute gems:
Chamchamal is a weird Kurdish town in northern Iraq that has a reputation for the being the Wild West of the region. It’s often referred to as “Texas,” but a over lunch a young man whose cousin was murdered in a killing spree last month told me that Texas should be referred to as Chamchamal, [...]
My friend Kamaran has launched Iraq’s first (and for the time being) only photography agency. It’s called Metrography and you can find it here: http://www.photoshelter.com/c/metrography. Check it out now and then keep coming back as we add more and more! Thoughts, suggestions, and of course praise are all welcomed!
The Aqueduct at Jerwan in Iraqi Kurdistan is the oldest standing aqueduct in the world, dating back to 700 BC. When I went to visit it last month, I found this. My friend Brian turned to me and said, “There’s a special place in hell for people who do that kind of stuff.” For more [...]
I think I knew things were different this time at about 10 am. That’s not quite true. I’d had a sinking suspicion for a while that these anti-terror raids I’ve been going have been nothing more than a PR stunt. This time, however, it was too much. The light bulb moment came while I was [...]
It’s not always easy getting up at 5 am, but sometimes it’s worth it.
(…continued) After leaving the monkey and his teenager to their afternoon of rest, I continued down the street. The late afternoon sun was blinding and most people were standing in whatever shade they could find to hawk their wares be it chickens, turkeys, pigeons, or goats. Well, there was only one goat and he look [...]
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It started off innocently enough last Friday. After a late breakfast, I decided to take my cameras around the market after prayers to see what the centre of town looked like on a day off. I walked past the main mosque as hundreds of people spilled out onto the street. The air was cool, the [...]
Last week I took an early taxi from Suli to Erbil and as is my habit, I passed out more or less as soon as the doors closed and the engine was turned on. This is very useful not only for catching up on sleep, but also for getting through checkpoints. Now that I’ve lost [...]
Here’s another one I hadn’t seen on the Zara menu until yesterday:
Sebastian is not the easiest name to pronounce for many, but for Kurds in particular it’s very difficult. Last summer the Kirkuk police got so frustrated trying to pronounce Sebastian that they renamed me Space Toon, an arabic cartoon network. I kinda like it because it’s easily recognizable, easy to pronounce, and sounds pretty close [...]
Ok, I promise I’ll actually do a little writing for this site, but in the mean time while I edit my photos from the market yesterday, here’s a little image to ponder:
Walking home last night after an evening of pool and a dinner of Nok Ow (literally Chick Pea Water) I stumbled across this little gem. Was Banksy in Kurdistan? Oh, the mystery!
Here’s my next installment of graffiti around Kurdistan, again taken in Sulaymaniyah. This time, though, it’s not funny, ironic, or cute. Both of these images were taken on the same wall: This, like many of the things I have come across here, leaves me speechless. But not in a fun way. I invite you to [...]
Walking through the park in the late afternoon, we came across a little manmade pond full of swan boats. There was something breathtaking about the quiet scene playing out in front of me. As the sun set, the park become even more quiet and tranquil and as darkness fell, we walked over to the restaurant [...]