First things first. The World Food Program operates under the four principles of humanitarian response. Humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. Before we get to the meat of this post I must stress that at no point can the WFP, or I, as a temporary contractor in their service, take sides in hostilities or engage in political, racial, religious or ideological conflicts or conversations. It is imperative that the WFP be able to work with any organization or political power at any time to gain access to populations in need. The photographs I am posting here represent neither condemnation nor celebration of the military forces of Iraqi Kurdistan, known as the Peshmerga. The WFP communications team I was traveling with was only on this military base to track displaced Yazidis as they were being airlifted off of Sinjar Mountain and brought to this compound, behind stable Iraqi Kurdistan lines in Duhok Province. We were not there to report on military movements or conditions. Our mission was solely to document and interview IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) who would be receiving WFP assistance. In so doing we unknowingly turned out to be on the cusp of a notable moment in the struggle between the Peshmerga and ISIS. I’m sharing these photos solely for their relevance to current events. No future posts concerning my trip to Iraq will focus on military subject matter, they will solely be concerned with the refugee and IDP crises and the civilian face of war. If any bias creeps into this post it is solely my own and has no reflection on the WFP.
“Fallen Superheroes”, a new book featuring the gorgeous photography by Eric Curtis, (I urge you to click through to his site) is getting a lot of play on comic blogs and elsewhere, so maybe you’ve seen it, but it looks too amazing to not mention again here.
Here’s a few images from the book. Gander away, my loves…
Eric Valli’s 1999 film “Himalaya” is a beautiful anthropological act in the guise of “adventure” fiction. The first Academy Award nominated Nepalese film (albeit directed by Frenchman Valli, who has lived in Nepal since 1983), it was shot in a virtually inaccessible region of the midwestern Nepalese “uphills” and stars locals from the area. Spirited by a pitch-perfect humanist tone, the film lovingly focuses on the daily lives and traditions of the people of the upper Dolpo. Some wooden performances from the non-professional actors only serve to further clarify the movie’s honesty. It’s a wonderful viewing experience.
I haven’t seen it in several years, but now a blog post at the killer graphic design site iso50 – by musician and graphiketeer Scott Hansen – has brought Eric Valli the photographer into my life.
Valli’s work is breathtaking. I’m going to blow these images out beyond the borders of my humble page layout. I know it’s tacky, but the bigger these photographs are the better (images link to Valli’s site)…
The Library of Congress has uploaded thousands of photographs to Flickr, including tons of color photographs from the ’30s and ’40s which are just stunning, given that we pretty much always only see that era in black and white.