Categories
Embedded in Iraq: 20 Years Later

subj: welcome wagon

subj: welcome wagon
posted by jim on may 06, 2004 at 08:01:38:
the flight into baghdad was full of flies and lunch was one slice of baloney on a bun. i passed, and i wondered how they get flight crews. the pilot spiraled down directly over the airport like a fighter jet. the room is better that i expected. my balcony has a nice view across the tigris and the green zone. this is good because any incoming will be coming from behind me. ha ha. the folks in the bureau are brilliant. and very likable. there was a car bomb at a green zone checkpoint before i got here. 5 or 6 killed. we heard an explosion while the staff was pointing out the sites to me from a balcony. two shooters dashed out but there were no injuries and little damage. can’t wait to get to work. jim

Update, 2024: This snuck up on me but it was 20 years ago today that I landed in Iraq. I kept a mailing list, kind of a closed blog for friends, and this is the first entry. I am thinking about posting them all throughout the year but I can’t decide it it’s worth it.

About: In 2004, I took a leave from my job at the old Philadelphia Daily News and spent next 12 months photographing the war in Iraq for the Associated Press. I shared my experiences with friends and family on a private mailing list and now I am posting my entries on the same dates 20 years later.

Categories
Photographs from the Exhibition

Before the war

Original caption found in metadata: Peace protesters pass City Hall Saturday. Police estimated that ten thousand demonstrators marched in Philadelphia against war with Iraq. Date: 2/15/03, Time: 1:36:05 PM, Shutter: 1/750, f: 4.0, ISO: 800, Lens: 17mm, Philadelphia, PA, US

Photographers had to use unusually wide lenses in those days to compensate for the small footprint of sensors in early digital camera. I was probably using a Nikon D1h at that time.

The US invaded Iraq on March 20. I went to Iraq to cover the war for the AP about a year later.

Categories
Photographs from the Exhibition

Parents embrace

Antiwar Activist Celeste Zappala Embraces Friend During Rumsfeld Visit
Philadelphia
2005
Jim MacMillan

Original caption: Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia, right, mother of U.S. Army Sgt. Sherwood Baker of Wilkes-Barre, PA, who was killed in Baghdad last year, hugs Michael Berg, father of young American entrepreneur Nick Berg, who was also killed in Iraq, during a demonstration on South Broad Street Wednesday. About 50 members from several regional peace groups gathered for the protest and a reading of names of U.S. and Iraqi war dead, during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who was in Philadelphia to address the World Affairs Council.

I took this photo about a month after I returned from covering the war in Iraq for a year for The Associated Press. Six years later, I interviewed Celeste when I was producing War News Radio at Swarthmore: Honking for Peace: Two Seconds of Solidarity

Categories
Photographs from the Exhibition

Taking Broad Street

Thousands of Antiwar Demonstrators March South on Broad Street
Broad and Spring Garden Streets
2003
Jim MacMillan

I don’t remember if I was leaning out of a window or standing up on the roof but I took this photo with a long telephoto lens from high up in or on the old Daily News building at Broad and Callowhill Streets. My original caption says 10,000 demonstrators were marching against war with Iraq. I have seen very few marches this big in Philadelphia. Digital camera metadata: Date: 2/15/03, Time: 12:33:11 PM, Shutter: 1/2500, f:4.0, iso: 800, Lens: 175mm

Categories
Photographs from the Exhibition

Sit-in for peace

College Students Occupy Philadelphia Office of US Senator Rick Santorum to Protest Against US Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 
Center City
2002
Jim MacMillan

This is my only photo from the exhibition that was taken indoors, which didn’t make a lot of sense for my “Street Level” photo column at the time, except that I remember thinking it made no difference in the sense that a politician’s office is a public space anyway.

Original caption: Twenty students from UPenn and other area colleges occupied the Center City office of US Senator Rick Santorum for six hours Thursday, sitting in opposition to the impending war on Iraq. When the office building closed at 5pm, as seen in this photo, police arrested the 16 remaining activists, while more than 70 others rallied outside. 10/03/02

Categories
Photographs from the Exhibition

Masking up

Antiwar Demonstrator Checks Another’s Vintage Gas Mask Prior to Demonstration
Dilworth Plaza
Jim MacMillan
2003

Young protesters help each other secure vintage gas masks before an antiwar march around Center City Philadelphia a few weeks before the US military invasion of Iraq. My notes say there were were 150 demonstrators and several skirmishes with police but no arrests.

Digital camera metadata: Date: 03/20/03, Time:4:07:47 p.m., Shutter: 1/90, f:4.0, iso:400, Lens: 26mm

Categories
Photographs from the Exhibition

Photojournalist zipped

Police Place Photojournalist in Police Van During Demonstration at Republican National Convention
Center City
2000
Jim MacMillan

I think I got this picture on the eve of the first day of the convention when police and protesters squared off on Walnut Street, a skirmish broke out and I saw this photographer I didn’t know get zip-tied and whisked away. The crazy thing was that I wound up sharing a hooch with him on a US Army base in Mosul four years later but didn’t recognize him until I was looking though my images a few years after that and stumbled across a less dramatic frame in which his face was more visible. He confirmed it was him but I’m not going to call him out because we’ve lost touch and I have no idea how he’d feel about it now. Small world yo.

Categories
Photographs from the Exhibition

Human wishbone

Police Attempt to Restrain Demonstrator During Protest
LOVE Park
2005
Jim MacMillan

I don’t think I ever understood what was going on in this picture but here is what I remember: It was a hot summer day shortly after I came home from Iraq in 2005 and there were at least two demonstrations taking place simultaneously, one demanding the right to skateboard on LOVE Park and another group objecting to the genetically-modified food industry conference visiting Philadelphia that week.

I shot this while standing on the platform on the edge of the old fountain, which was as slick as ice from some in the mob splashing water up toward the struggle. One little brat tried to push me in and it took all of my acrobatic skills and a lot of good luck to keep my balance.

I didn’t see whatever lead police to try to grab this guy but then others pulled him away and he slipped off through the crowd. Take a close look at how many hands are wrapped around his left arm alone. It’s also interesting to look at all the early digital video cameras in the crowd.

Categories
Photographs from the Exhibition

No guns here

Gun Violence Prevention Demonstrators
East Market Street near Independence Mall
2018
Jim MacMillan

This is one of three photos in the exhibition that I captured using a Canon pocket camera held high on a selfie stick while zooming, framing and firing the shutter with an app on my iPhone.