A couple of weeks ago I found my self back in Kurdistan again. The scorching 50° heat of August that I dealt with last time I was there had given way to a very pleasant 25-30° and made working so much easier. One of the things I wanted to do while there this time was try to get at least one portrait each day in every place I visited as I traveled around and not necessarily connected in any way to any of the story’s that I was working on.
As always I would be shooting everything on my Fuji XT-1 camera’s using mostly the 35mm 1.4 lens which I love. I also decided to shoot them all in the square format to give the shots that medium format feel. I had no Flash equipment other than a speedlite which I didn’t want to use and most of the time it was impractical to use any reflectors so I opted for the flatter light of the shade. All of the shots were taken where I found the subjects and without much organising as I didn’t have an interpreter to hand a lot of the time, so I used the universal sign language for “can I take your picture” which is pointing at the camera and pointing at them and saying “OK” with a very sincere look on my face, which seemed to do the trick because nobody refused.
All the shots where Post Processed in lightroom CC, Nik Software Color Efex Pro4 and Analog Efex Pro 2 to add a border. Here are just a few of the shots I took.
©Andy Bush 2015 – Yazidi Peshmerga Guard near the town of Snuny, Ninewah Province, Iraq. This guy was guarding a small compound that served as a Forward Operating Base for the Yazidi Peshmerga that I visited. It was about 30km East of Snuny and about 1km from a village controlled by Islamic State. Everybody seemed very relaxed considering the close proximity to IS!!!! Fuji X-T1 + 35mm f1.4
© Andy Bush 2015 – Sisters. I came across these two sisters outside a make shift school near the foot of Sinjar mountain a few kilometres from Snuny, Ninewa Province, Iraq. There were about 30 other children at the school but I liked that these two had matching t-shirts on with the Kurdish flag with the words BIJI KURDISTAN (Long Live Kurdistan). Fuji X-T1 + 16mm f1.4
©Andy Bush 2015 – Peshmerga Sniper. Major Jaafa Mustafa Hassan age 44 who is the operations commander in Telskuf Iraq. Maj Jaafa was trained by an American sniper team to be a sniper himself and wears his Peshmerga Sniper badge with pride. He’s also had plenty of opportunity to put his new skills in to practice and he showed me some photos of IS fighters body’s that he had killed. Fuji X-T1 + 35mm f1.4
©Andy Bush 2015 – Boy With Burn Hands. This is 12 year old Josef Dawood who I met at Sawra Village Refugee Camp near Semele, Northern Iraq. He had burned his hands when he knocked over a liquid fuel cooker he was using. Fuji X-T1 + 35mm f1.4
©Andy Bush 2015 – Telskuf Guard. This fella was manning a road check point at the entrance to the small town of Telskuf which is about 25km north of Mosul and about 1km from the front line with Islamic State. The Town had been totally trashed by IS fighters after it’s Christian residents fled. I had a look round some of the houses in one section of the village and found that where the residents had had to flee in such a hurry they had left their family photo albums behind, portraits still hanging on the walls with cloths still hanging in the wardrobs and even food still in the fridges. Fuji X-T1 + 35mm f1.4
©Andy Bush 2015 – Old Man at the Bazar. This chap was one of about 50 or so older men who were all sat around tables outside a tea shop playing cards in the town of Ba’adra, Iraq. I had just visited a large refugee camp that’s just on the outskirts of the town and I discovered them as I drove back through on my way to Duhok. I took a few pictures of different guys here but i liked this old chap because of his colourful shirt and gnarly looking ears, he also looked like he had some kind of eye infection, but was very cheerful all the same and loved seeing his image on the back of my camera, giving me a pat on the back which I took to mean he approved. Fuji X-T1 + 35mm f1.4