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PORTFOLIO

08.05.2015

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A country in a state of emergency: refugee camps in Iraq are overflowing, many people look for shelter among the ruins. Often strangers, they now live in close proximity to each other, sleeping directly on concrete floors and crowding together around small fires. Photographer Dominic Nahr documented the refugee situation in Iraq for six months. He spoke with LFI about his motivations, intuitive way of working, and the difficulty to reach closure.


Within the framework of the Hamburg Photography Triennial, Dominic Nahr will be running an exclusive LFI workshop. Further information and registration at: www.lfi-online.de




Dominic, can you tell what made you decide to work in Iraq?

I was ready to spend some time in a new place. After working mainly in Africa for five years, I drifted between Japan, Canada, Holland and the US, working on various projects. I had never been to Erbil in Kurdish-controlled Iraq so I jumped at the opportunity to work for UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. It was nice to have a home base for a while. I didn’t quite know what to expect in terms of work, but was excited to spend some dedicated time documenting an important news story and really connecting with people there.


When one thinks of the Iraq war, images of acts committed by IS come to mind. What pictures do we not get to see?

Those whom I have photographed are the survivors. Those who were unable to flee – daughters, sons, fathers and grandparents were herded like animals into confined spaces and ultimately raped, executed or made to serve IS as slaves. Yazidis, Christians and other minorities have had to leave their homes to escape the brutality of IS. It is important that we remember. We can’t let their lives be forgotten.


How does the work situation differ when you have time and don’t have to rush from one assignment to the next?

It was a very good experience for me to work with UNHCR in Iraq for 6 months without having to worry about how to finance my trips or finding assignments. It was very freeing, and I felt I could really slow down my shooting process without rushing myself or the people I was photographing. I also felt very committed to not waste my time, and used the fantastic UNHCR drivers to go and find more stories and people to document.


You can read the full interview in LFI 4/2015, available as of May 22, 2015.

Dominic Nahr

Born in Switzerland in 1983, Nahr grew up in Hong Kong. While still a film student in Toronto, he began to work as a freelance photographer. He has received various awards, including the 2009 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award.

www.dominicnahr.com
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