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Baghdad, Iraq

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About

I used to love drawing as a child. After I took my first photography class in high school, drawing fell to the wayside. I started taking every opportunity to work in my school’s B&W dark room, often spending long, frustrating hours trying to learn the basics. I intended to continue my studies in college and work as a photojournalist like my heroes, Robert Capa and James Nachtwey. Their images inspired me, changed me, and made me feel that through visual communication, I could change the way in which people saw the world. They empowered me, and made me want to gain the credentials necessary to walk in their footsteps.

That process was interrupted by the invasion of Iraq. I had joined the Washington Army National Guard at 17 with the intention of cutting my teeth as an Army journalist. I got what I wished for—with mixed results. The aftermath of the deployment left me wondering if I truly wanted to be a photographer, or work in photography at all. My teenage naivete and optimism has fizzled, but I still pick up a camera from time to time. I may eventually go back to school for photojournalism.

I hope you enjoy the images that I have decided to share. Every once in a while, I go back over the thousands of images that I shot in Iraq, and pick a few more to share with people. Many are snapshots, most were shot for the Army and have lost all meaning, but a few have only gained meaning since I’ve returned. It’s an incredible experience as a photographer to see the meaning of images you’ve created change with time and—to borrow from the old cliche—take on a life of their own.

I encourage feedback and critique—please let me know what you think of my work.

Jan David Critchfield 's current location:
Seattle , United States

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