Why Mister, Why? – 10 years of war in Iraq

Geert van Kesteren,  iAPP Why Mister., Why ?

Geert van Kesteren has been highly acclaimed for his long-term photo documentary work on the war in Iraq. In his book “Why, Mister. Why?” (2003) he shows crucial historical chapters in Iraq’s recent past, chapters that led to civil war and 4,5 million refugees as presented in his second Iraq book “Baghdad Calling”.(2008)

Just recently, as a review of the situation in Iraq 10 years after the war began, van Kesteren published a self-developed multimedia iAPP, based on “Why Mister, Why?” with additional new photo and interview material. Frrom todays point in time the app reflects on the failing efforts to stabilize the Middle East.

In the festival the iPAd-Installation will be shown surrounded by 16 big images from the pioneering work of  “Baghdad Calling”. Long before mobile photography became a hype, standard of use for millions and a controversy in discourse on photojournalism and iphone photography, van Kesteren collected and published handy photos which Iraqi refugees  had obtained from friends and family staying behind, living their day-to-day lives in war torn Iraq.

By giving sych prominence to ordinary pictures by Iraqi people and publishing them alongside with his own images in “Baghdad Calling” , van Kesteren took a bold step. His own work no longer takes central place in the book. The handy photos showed the Iraqi people’s own perspectives, giving them their own voice. Their views are as important as the ones expressed in the photographs of highly acclaimed professional photographer Geert van Kesteren.

Geert van Kesteren has shown an innovative and inspiring use of new technology to tell his story of war in Iraq from different angles and perspectives, also shifting his role as a photographer and classical author  to a facilitator or editor, putting oridnary people`s views and images at the center of attention.
There is a lot to lear for possibilities and roles for photojournalists in the future from Geert van Kesteren. “Without knowing him, one suspects Geert van Kesteren to be the punk of photo- journalism… Instead of pushing back, he embraces new realities. (‘Le Monde2’ on ‘Baghdad Calling’) .

Geert will be giving a presentation of his work ‘Why Mister, Why? emphasizing on the different ways of presenting photojournalism through different media; print, editorial, books at the festival., Saturday 15th of June.