A Short Story

This topic contains 25 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  chris pook 3 months ago.

  • Author
  • #402716

    chris pook

    On 3rd August 2014 Daesh attacked the mainly Yazidi town of Sinjar and neighbouring villages.  50,000 Yazid fled to Sinjar Mountain.  Kurdish forces, the YPG and PKK, opened a corridor enabling the Yazidi to flee.  The Yazidi are still living in refugee camps, or taking shelter wherever they can find it.

    Three families are squatting on the first floor of an uncompleted block of apartments outside Dohuk;


    The Matriarch of the family married at 13.  Her husband died when she was 19, by which time she had 4 boys.  They were taken prisoner by Daesh, but she was released after 6 months, put on a bus and sent back to the Kurdish region, too old to be of any use or interest.  Her eyes are fading, and her legs weak.  She is strong.


    She still hopes to hear from her sons, but has not done so.  It is unlikely they are alive.  She lives with her surviving daughters in law, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.


    The families remain scattered.  As Daesh lost ground hope faded that missing relatives would be returned alive, but some are still being brought back, traded by people smugglers through WhatsApp.  This family is almost complete, the last child returned this month.  There are sightings of a son, from other returnees, but no direct contact has been had for years.  Daesh indoctrination runs deep.  Returnees, and their families, often have difficulty in adjusting.


    For all that, love and life continues.  Where there is life, there is hope.


    For office safe photographs;   https://vimeo.com/332940804


  • #402863


    A good read Chris, unsettling, but good, and good images too. Love the shot of the Matriarch, she’s looking straight at the camera.

  • #402866

    John Thompson

    Yes, very good indeed Chris.  Thanks for sharing.

  • #402875

    Robert Apple

    Thanks for that Chris.

  • #403006

    Erik Fransman

    Chris thank you for your story in pictures.

  • #403137

    chris pook

    Thanks everybody.  Here I am in Dubai, washing away the experience in Peroni.  Probably not recommended by Doctors.

    I’d host any of you in Northern Iraq.  It’s fairly safe and very photogenic.

    Erik, I’d particularly like to host you there.  They have stories to be told, and although we have not met in person I think I can tell you have the empathy to make the most of the experience.

    Amsterdam to Istanbul, Istanbul to Erbil, you’d be here in a day.

    • #403145

      Erik Fransman

      Thanks for the invitation to host us and me.
      Very tempting. As a photo but even more human experience.
      It is good for us all to get away from the comfort zone of our lives where we have no real problems whatsoever.
      I would love to go there, although I do not see myself going there in the near future.
      Since I am a snapper (oh boy, I promised myself I would never use that word) the trip would be considered a holiday. This I can’t afford. (mostly can’t afford in time)
      I wish I had a professional reason to visit.

  • #403150


    Enjoyable series Chris.

    Erik the snapper! Welcome to the club for people who are honest and tell it like it is!

    • #403304

      chris pook

      Thanks Billy, it was fun to shoot, mainly.  They are quite camera shy, and particularly adverse to being seen to smile.  Not shown here, but I got them all (except the old lady) smiling in the end.

  • #403301

    chris pook

    We host a lot of media in my day job.  All the usual suspects.  My main client in Northern Iraq are the UN, who are reliant on donor funding for the de-mining / CIED / Explosive Remnants of War programme we are executing.  Keeping their work in the public eye is important to them.

    I’ve got a guy up there at the moment, Cengiz Yar, spending some time with us.  His work is strong.

    We also bring in a corporate photographer for a few days every couple of years.

    I have close links with our media team in London.  I know where to come if they want a corporate movie…

  • #403515


    beautiful and compelling photos.  hopefully life gets better for these families.

  • #403577

    chris pook

    Thanks Beth.

  • #403582


    My favorite is the portrait of the Matriarch of the family! Such a stunning image, great job.

  • #403589

    chris pook

    Thanks J.  🙂  The Yazidi have been well looked after by the Kurds.  To be Kurdish is to have been a refugee… they have a lot of empathy.

    One of my Finance Ladies is from Kosovo.  She was a refugee at one time.  The things you learn about your staff…

  • #404667

    Anne Hornsby

    So worthwhile to hear this story and see your images of this family, Chris.   Especially the matriarch.   I had wondered what had happened since 2014.    Thank you for an update from the experience of a family.

  • #405098


    what i love chris is the different attitude out there to the lense……more natural/real.

    • #405294

      chris pook

      Thanks Falxy.  Just like horses, they spook easy.  You have to introduce it slowly and let them get used to the idea.  Then throw away anything you took in the first half.

  • #405321


    Good read , your photos are A+.

    Thanks for sharing your works.

  • #406351


    throwaway the first half…………..just the same back here but without the language prob

    • #406504

      chris pook

      Umm, I’m a bit lost on that one, but no matter.

    • #407424

      chris pook

      Ah, gotcha now, sorry for the misunderstanding on my part!

  • #406520

    Sarthak Choudhary

    While we are sitting under our rooves, sunken in our own worldly affairs, we don’t even realise what is going on in the rest of the world. There is always a story which has this potential of making your problems feel trivial.

    Thank you for bringing this story here.

    • #407420

      chris pook

      Thanks Sarthak.  Your words take me to Primo Levi, again.  ‘You who live safe In your warm houses…’

  • #407533

    Luis M.

    You are a great photographer.  Again I ask, why can’t we all get along?  Man’s ego is the culprit.

  • #407612


    I’m in the middle of watching “Black Crows” on netflix.  It’s probably the ugliest, most horrifying and scariest show I’ve ever watched.  Watching this, I can only imagine what these people have gone through, and are still going through.

    Great read Chris!.. and I can only imagine what you witness on an almost daily basis.  Much worse than most of us can truly relate to or imagine.

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