Everyday Iraq: Photographers capture life beyond bombs

Everyday Iraq: Photographers capture life beyond bombs
'People want to have a happy life, no matter where and when, and that's also the case in Iraq,' said photographer Ahmad Mousa.
3 min read
05 October, 2016
"The people of Iraq have a life that's worth showing" [Instagram]
With bad news breaking in the country almost every day, it would be reasonable to assume Iraq was always a war zone.

Shopping centres bombed, residents under siege, and a government preparing for the biggest battle yet against the Islamic State group, life in Iraq can be dangerous, distressing and unpredictable.

But the country has not been bombed into oblivion or become completely bereft of schools, malls and museums.

For Iraqis, life goes on - and capturing and curating scenes of their day to day existence is Ahmad Mousa.

The Baghdad-based press photographer is the man behind Instagram account @everydayiraq, a collection of pictures from Basra to Erbil.

"The people of Iraq have a life. A life that's worth showing and saving," Mousa, 25, told The New Arab.

He said he started the project - an offshoot of @everydaymiddleeast - because outside perceptions of Iraq was of a country in constant conflict, and almost all images of "Iraq" online were war-related.

"But that is not everywhere in reality and it does not represent everything."

"I wanted to share the everyday life scenes with everyone, document it and put it there in the history, and because I can't cover that all, nor can be everywhere at the same time, I made @everydayiraq."

He said the project involves people from across Iraq who can upload pictures of everyday life in the country and share them with the world.

Women preparing Iraqi dolma, a boy jumping into the Tigris River to cool down, a book festival in Baghdad, a bustling bazaar in Erbil, and bakers selling fresh sammoon are just some of the images to feature in the Instagram feed.

The account, also curated by Ahmed Twaij (@twaiji) and Nawar Tamawi (@nawartamawi), has amassed almost 84,000 followers on the photo-sharing platform.

"The number of people engaging with the project, and amount of impressions is large and it's nice to see that but we always look for more," Mousa said.

"What inspires me in Iraq to take pictures is basically every scene that's worth photographing or taking picture of, moments that are important to be documented. People want to have a happy life, no matter where and when, and that's also the case in Iraq."