Photographer Preston-Smith on Iraq
Writer and photographer Joel Preston-Smith spent four months in Iraq in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He talks about his most recent book “Night of a Thousand Stars and Other Portraits of Iraq” with The Oregonian,
How do you feel about these people treating you so gently when your country was about to invade theirs?
It drove me berserk at first. I could walk around safely at 2 a.m. by myself down alleys, two cameras on my neck, and no one would bother me. If someone did walk up, they wanted to practice English or say hello. After a point, it made me ashamed that we (America) had invested so much energy and money in depicting them as evil and killing them that I wanted to be invisible. But I had to do my work. I must have had this conversation with 250 people (asking them): “Why are you not angry with me?” The answer, invariably, was the same: “You are not your government.” link
Smith is a former U.S. Army photojournalist. He’s currently working another book project called “Living With the Enemy: A Portrait of Daily Life in Iraq.”