Photographs strongly shape our views of the world. The images coming out of Iraq for the past fifteen years have shown us a country affected by war and terrorism, but they have fallen far short of showing the rich and diverse beauty of the culture and landscape. The prevalent photos miss the current reality of the country that Iraqis know and experience. To help show the full picture of Iraq, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad decided to hold a photography contest that invited the Iraqi public to submit photos of their country. The contest, entitled #MyIraq, was launched in February 2018. Iraqis embraced the opportunity to show the beauty of their country and the Embassy received over 5,000 submissions from the public.
Check out some of the #MyIraq photo submissions below!
After Embassy staff narrowed down the submissions to a top eleven, the photographs were put to a public vote on the Embassy Facebook page where over 34,500 votes were cast for the winners. The photographs featured locales from the southern marshes to the streets of Baghdad to the mountains of the north, and the winning photographers were just as diverse, representing various regions, faiths, and ages. The top 30 photos were featured at an exhibition at the residence of Ambassador Douglas Silliman. Iraqi press positively covered the event and took the chance to speak with the winning photographers about their work. U.S. Embassy Baghdad plans to continue to highlight these photos in Iraq through a public exhibition.
About the Author: Kaitlin Turck serves as the Assistant Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.
Editor’s Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.
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