Although the war in Iraq is far from over, western newspapers are closing their Iraq bureaus and publishing fewer Iraq stories than during any other period of the war. Declining readership and advertising revenue are partly to blame. But in this period of relative peace, the story is also shifting from focus on the US military to stories of Iraqis rebuilding their lives and their own government—a topic that has lost the attention of many western readers.
This is unfortunate given that 2009 will likely be one of the most telling and decisive years for the future of Iraq as issues of sectarianism, governmental control, and US involvement are balanced and tried.
The war in Iraq is a story close to my heart, one that I have covered since 2003, and one that remains possibly the most important story of our generation. Regions of Iraq, long left uncovered by the western press due to the violence, are now open and relatively safe. Issues that were previously difficult to cover long-term are now possible to witness on an intimate level.
My goal is to provide a window into the everyday struggles and achievements of individuals and to show viewers how the people of Iraq are directly affected by the politics and movements taking place in the country. By providing personal stories that show the similarities of human spirit that cross the boundaries of culture, geography and religion, I hope to create images that inspire empathy and understanding.
Written in late 2008.
Andrea Bruce is an Indiana native and an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After shooting as a staff photographer for The Concord Monitor and The St. Petersburg Times, she joined the staff of The Washington Post in 2001 where she began to chronicle the world's most troubled areas.
Bruce has won many awards for her work, including top honors from the National Pictures of the Year competition, the White House News Photographers Association (where she has been named Photographer of the Year three times), and the prestigious John Faber award from the Overseas Press Club in New York.