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"Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory" presents a behind-the-scenes look at conflict journalism.
"Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory" presents a behind-the-scenes look at conflict journalism.
26 backers pledged $1,279 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Ten years ago, the US invaded Iraq. Only two years ago, US soldiers finally departed. The war already seems a distant memory - but it shouldn't be. My work seems to inform readers about the conflict, and the ongoing stories of the soldiers who served.

For three summers during the Iraq War's 'Surge' era, I embedded as a freelance photojournalist alongside US troops. My work appeared in newspapers across the country, the New York Times, the Long War Journal, and other venues. My work is part of the travelling "Conflict Zone" exhibition. My 2008 reporting was cited in Thomas Ricks' book about Iraq, "The Gamble."

My project, "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory," will take readers and viewers behind the scenes of my photojournalism, filling in the blanks of some of these small stories from a decade of conflict. 

I produced my first book, "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Change and Conflict," through a previous Kickstarter project. It has since been endorsed by authors like Kevin Maurer ("No Easy Day"), Bing West ("The Strongest Tribe"), and Meredith Hall ("Without a Map"). It offered readers an up-close, historical narrative about the soldiers and their missions, from 2007 to 2009.

My next book will take a new step - telling the stories behind some of my most select images. Readers will learn about the journalistic process and photographic decisions that created each image. More than a historical account about Iraq, "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory" provides a behind-the-scenes history of how a photojournalist goes to work.

"Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory" will focus on 25-30 of my images, providing scene-specific reflections, walking the reader through what they see - and why they see it.

The images and text will be produced in a full-color 10x8 paperback coffee table-style book (click this link to see a video preview of how my first book turned out).

Backers of this project will enable me to keep my work current and in the public eye, showing agents and publishers there is an interest in journalism and nonfiction about the Iraq War.

While this project is brand new, backers will be able to get quick rewards from my previously-completed work.

Backers at the $5 level recieve an e-book of Break Beneath a Bridge, the opening chapter of my first book. It recounts the story of a grinding July 2007 patrol, introducing readers to some of the soldiers my stories follow.

At the $10 level, backers will also receive the e-book Suspicions, After Curfew, parts of which will be included in "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory."

I will customize these PDF editions for each backer - with special personalized 'thanks' pages, and other content unique to each version.  

Those stories are only a few of the dozens of moments I captured during my three reporting trips. Often, these brief moments existed only within the brief second of the shutter click, and taking up space only as few megabytes of digital memory. But they were all stories waiting to be told. My new project expands on that idea.

I will keep following up with the soldiers, telling their stories in the present day.  

As I said, this project helps keep my work in the public eye. It is not an academic or vanity enterprise - your backing and support helps prove, with hard numbers, that there is an on-going interest in war-related reportage and photojournalism.

For $20, backers will get a PDF of "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory" - with all content identical to the eventual printed version. Actually, better - since I will personalize each PDF edition for the backer.

For just $35, backers will get personalized PDF copies of both my books.

At $50 and $65, backers recieve signed prints of my images and/or a signed, printed mini-book containing the two short chapters - Break and Suspicions.

From $85 and up, backers will receive printed copies of one or more of the books. The printed version of "Three Iraqi Summers of Change and Conflict," produced through Blurb, can be seen at this link, and the quality is the same (or better) as any professionally-published book. "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory" will have the same high production standards. I'm not one to blow smoke - it looks amazing.

Many images are included in both books, but the written narrative will offer entirely new observations and reflections about a journalist at work.

My motivation for "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory" remains the same as when I produced my first book:

When soldiers return from overseas, they take off their uniform and blend back into society; maybe it will be hard to remember what these men and women looked like when they were young and at war in a place very far from home. I hope these photographs and stories help an audience appreciate and understand what it looked and felt like during these three summers in Iraq where the temperature rarely dipped below 125 degrees and a stubborn enemy rarely stood and fought. 

We've left Iraq. We've handed control back over to the citizens of that star-crossed country. But we can't wash our hands of this past decade of war; we might think we can, might think we have - but this war is yours and mine, for many years to come. We can't give this war away.

"Like" my Facebook page for more updates.

Visit by blog.

And preview chapters of my first book on Amazon.

(CREDITS: The video's soundtrack is "Heavy Interlude and "Exciting Trailer," by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0)

Risks and challenges

RISKS: These are limited. Many of my rewards have already been produced, and can be delivered very quickly after successful project funding.

My first book, "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Change and Conflict," already exists. A PDF copy will be available immediately, and a printed copy takes only 2-3 weeks to produce and ship.

There will be some time waiting for the PDF or printed copies of the new book: "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory." But, the pictures have been taken, and much of the text already written. The time will be spent on final designing and editing, but the product's ingredients already exist.

Your financial backing will help finalize a finished product that can be delivered in a short time - with tangible rewards priced at a level that encourages low-cost, fun participation.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Backers will be thanked on my blog and listed on a special dedication page within the final version of the book, "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory." Backers will also receive an e-book version of "Break Beneath a Bridge," the opening chapter of my first book. I will personalize this edition to each backer, and will include a variety of unique content.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Backers will be thanked on my blog and listed on a special dedication page within the final version of the book. Backers will receive e-book versions of "Break Beneath a Bridge" (the first chapter of "Three Iraqi Summers of Change and Conflict") and "Suspicions, After Curfew" (a standalone chapter not included in the first book); each will be personalized to each backer, and include other unique content.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    A full content e-book version of "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory." This will be the exact same content as the printed copy, and include backer's names in the 'thanks' dedication in the book and on my blog. Backers will also receive the e-book versions of "Break Beneath a Bridge," and "Suspicions, After Curfew." I will personalize each edition to the backer.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Full content e-book versions of both "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Change and Conflict" and "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory." Backers will be thanked on my blog and in the book as explained above.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    E-book versions of both books (explained above), as well a signed print, suitable for framing, from a selection of images featured in the book. This can be up to 24x17, depending on the space you have, so smaller's fine too.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    E-book versions of both full-length books (explained above), as well the signed print (also explained above). You will also recieve a printed mini-book of the two chapters: "Break" and "Suspicions." It will be about 30 pages, signed, featuring the same excellent production quality as the full-length books, and including many full-color images (note: both these chapters are included in the full-length books; this provides a shorter, tangible printed product that looks first-class).

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    A signed, printed 160-page paperback version of my first book, "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Change and Conflict."

    The backer will also receive a personalized, full-content e-book version of "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory."

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    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    A signed, printed copy of "Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Change and Conflict." The book will be a 'special edition' with a special dedication page printed into the book thanking the backer personally by name, and will include a photo unique to the backer's edition.

    The backer will also receive an e-book version of both books, including "Three Iraqi Summers of Images and Memory," which will include the same special dedication page.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Printed, signed versions of both books, each including the special personalized dedication page. The first book will arrive a few weeks after project funding, the second in the weeks to follow. This will also include e-book versions of both books.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Backers will receive two signed 24x18 prints of my photographs, suitable for framing. Backers will receive signed "special editions" of both books with the unique dedication page.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Backer will receive the printed, special editions of both books as explained above. Backer will also receive a french-mounted, wall-ready 24x18 print of one of my photographs. I would provide a choice of four to choose from, each of which has been museum-displayed.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    For someone within 100 miles of Portsmouth, NH or in the general Boston area, with far too much extra money, I would come to you and follow you around for a few days as a photojournalist documenting you and your life. I would endeavor to make you look as much a bad-ass as the soldiers I met. I would provide you with four 24x18 prints of your choice of images - and all the digital images for your future use and amusement (no mounting or framing, though). You would receive one hardcover copy of both books with the personalized dedication page and exclusive photo, and two paperback copies; in all editions, your name would be prominently featured as the best supporter!

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Funding period

- (30 days)