Jalal Talabani / A glance back at Iraq

From the archive...I'm digging through old photos working on a book and ran across this little gem.

I sometimes forget that I lived in Iraq for a while...it seems so far away now—and to be fair it's been since 2003 since I've been there. The whole experience seems so much like a dream now...we're still there...stuff still sucks over there (how much is up for debate)...all the world has changed in a million ways. I was just milling about at work while future/present world leaders were shooting the shit. What? So strange. Above is Jalal Talabani casually talking at the (now-defunct) Bob Hope DFAC during the 2003 where the President visited for Thanksgiving (side note: his visit sort of blew everyone's mind, but it was pretty obvious...they had massive comm-tanks outside the DFAC for DAYS before he showed up).

I was curious if I could find any video of it still, and thanks to C-SPAN, I found the whole ordeal (video embedded below). If you look up near the podium, you'll see an early-20's Cary with a company hat turned backwards photographing the shenanigans with my Lomo LC-A and a Holga (and borrowed digital camera...long story). I worked for the company that built the dining facility and, for some reason, that meant I almost unfettered access to the place...so you better believe I got as close to the action as I could. If you actually watch the video, you'll notice after he's done talking that he says hello to Mr. Talibani and Ahmed Chalabi. I grabbed a couple of crappy shots of that...also below.

Shortly thereafter, then-Senator Clinton dropped by and gave myself the challenge to photograph her WHILE meeting her. Here's that shot, as well as a photo one of her aids took.

Still surreal to think about. The important part to me is that after all this time I'm still proud of the photographs I made while I was there.