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.
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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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)