By William Carter

Photographer, Author, Jazz Musician

Those Teens Part 8

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With the present series of posts. I bring together photographs made from 1958 to 2014 — 56 years — highlighting teenagers from cultures worldwide. Where it is sometimes not obvious if someone is technically a teen, or a bit younger or older, I have opted to be inclusive.

Wide differences of time and place, class and society are obvious in this series. More and more, though, my way of seeing has been to look past the external differences — toward the humanity, the soul that unites.

teens8.1Yemen, c. 1965

teens8.2Gaza, c. 1993

teens8.3California, c. 1972

teens8.4Indiana, c. 1972

teens8.5Washington, c. 1962

teens8.6Illinois, c. 1973

teens8.7California, c. 1970

Written by bywilliamcarter

October 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Iraqi Kurdistan: More Surprises (Part 3)

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Many of us learned in school that Mesopotamia’s Tigris-Euphrates Valley cradled the world’s earliest civilization. Unending waves of conquest would sweep over this well-watered land, obliterating much —  but not all — of its history. Recent violence in northern Iraq spotlights once-isolated ethnic groups, such as the Yazidis and the Chaldean Christians; Aramaic-speaking villagers as well as remote members of the Muslim Kadri sect. Some of these far-flung peoples and languages date back thousands of years.

And, archeologists have long suspected there were important artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia still awaiting discovery in caves in Kurdistan. I learned this after a journalistic trek on foot and by donkey through the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan “recently” — only fifty years ago.

Welcomed by the, as yet, little-known Kurdish peshmerga guerrilla fighters, I was doing a photo story on their long-running struggle for autonomy within Iraq and Turkey. At one point my hosts showed me broken, thick stone rock carvings a local sheik had had dragged out of a cave. Evidently he wanted to sell them to me, but I was not in that business. It would have taken an expedition to move them. I took pictures of them, with their hieroglyphic writing. The next year, in London, I showed the photographs to the British Museum. The experts became quite interested, and wanted lots of details, including the exact location, which I was unable to provide other than “oh, we just happen to stop there for tea last June on the march from point A to point B, somewhere north of Sulaimaniya.” Nonetheless the British Museum reproduced my pictures in a scholarly publication.

Given the destruction of the once wonderful Baghdad Museum occasioned by the Bush-era invasion, I sometimes wonder if that stele, and others (?) like it, are not safer staying in their caves. During Saddam Hussein’s ruthless bombings and gassings of isolated ethnic villages — as under the current Isis marauders — some of these thousand-year survivors have themselves reverted to living in caves. Again, I photographed one group all too briefly before hurrying on to rejoin the peshmergas’ march. I always wanted to go back and explore these other ethnicities of Kurdistan, but that was not to be. This year, 2014, the Kurds invited me to fly into Erbil, now a modern city built on oil revenues. We would have loved to, but pushing 80, I hesitated — luckily, just before a new wave of gunmen surrounded the city.

 

Iraqi Kurdistan 1965 photographs © William Carter

IKMS1.1

Member of the Muslim Kadri sect celebrates spring ritual near the Iraq-Iran border

IKMS1.2

Members of Muslim Kadri sect celebrate spring ritual near the Iraq-Iran border

IKMS1.3

Christians sheltering in a cave from aerial bombing — Iraqi Kurdistan

IKMS1.4

Christians sheltering in a cave from aerial bombing — Iraqi Kurdistan

IKMS1.5

Mesopotamian stone carving hidden in cave, Iraqi Kurdistan

IKMS1.6

Mesopotamian stone carving hidden in cave, Iraqi Kurdistan

IKMS1.7

Hieroglyphics on stone in cave, Iraqi Kurdistan

Written by bywilliamcarter

September 19, 2014 at 1:16 am

Iraqi Kurdistan: More Surprises (Part 2)

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In this part we focus, in black and white, on the villagers and shepherds living in the mountains of northern Iraq in 1965.

For background text, please see the previous blog (part 1).

Iraqi Kurdistan 1965 photographs © William Carter

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8. I think this is the town of Halabja, later victim of a horrible gas attack by Saddam Hussein.

Written by bywilliamcarter

September 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm

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Reliable Friends; Tough Territory

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Mullah Mustafa Barzani

1. Mullah Mustafa Barzani

In this resumption of my series on the Kurds of northern Iraq, we celebrate — in black and white — their famous 20th century political and military leader: Mullah Mustafa Barzani. Today, his descendants in Erbil and Baghdad carry on their people’s long push for autonomy.

It is hard for Americans to appreciate the depth and tenacity of this struggle. Following the centuries-long dissolution of the Ottoman empire, dozens of tribal and linguistic groups still struggle to survive the shifting sands of Middle Eastern politics. It remains a tough neighborhood. And Mullah Mustafa’s toughness is evident in these pictures.

Democratic ideals projected through a Western lens can go only so far in this region — something well worth admitting now, amid the shifting sands of power politics. Memories of Beirut in the 1970s remind us of the temporary nature of all alliances within and among a myriad of subgroups and special or outside interests. Deeply rooted habits of splintering, betrayal, and infighting survive every “boots on the ground” intervention.

The Kurds remain staunch friends of the U.S. They have major petroleum reserves. The Americans have been blocking the Kurds from selling their oil directly on the international market. However, instead of clinging to the unworkable fantasy of rebuilding a tripartite, failed state of Iraq, the Americans should encourage these proud mountain people to make whatever “declaration of independence” they feel they can handle — supported by oil sales.

In a time of softening frontiers, ethnic affinity between the Iraqi Kurds and those in Turkey and Syria raise questions — and opportunities. Last summer, a retired CIA Director whispered to me that certain of America’s close friends in the region would applaud a Kurdish diversification of the sourcing and supply of Middle Eastern petroleum on world markets.

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Iraqi Kurdistan 1965: photographs © William Carter

 

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Written by bywilliamcarter

August 23, 2014 at 12:22 am

Those Teens Part 7

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With the present series of posts. I bring together photographs made from 1958 to 2014 — 56 years — highlighting teenagers from cultures worldwide. Where it is sometimes not obvious if someone is technically a teen, or a bit younger or older, I have opted to be inclusive.

Wide differences of time and place, class and society are obvious in this series. More and more, though, my way of seeing has been to look past the external differences — toward the humanity, the soul that unites.

ateens7.1jpgEngland, c. 1967

teens7.2Iraq, c. 1965

teens7.3California, c. 1960

teens7.4Illinois, c. 1973

teens7.5California, c. 1974

teens7.6Yemen, c. 1964

teens7.7Tibet, c. 1992

Written by bywilliamcarter

August 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Those Teens Part 6

with one comment


With the present series of posts. I bring together photographs made from 1958 to 2014 — 56 years — highlighting teenagers from cultures worldwide. Where it is sometimes not obvious if someone is technically a teen, or a bit younger or older, I have opted to be inclusive.

Wide differences of time and place, class and society are obvious in this series. More and more, though, my way of seeing has been to look past the external differences — toward the humanity, the soul that unites.

teens6.1Virginia, c. 2010

teens6.2Virginia, c. 2011

teens6.3Illinois, c. 1972

teens6.4Illinois, c. 1972

teens6.5Illinois, c. 1972

teens6.6England, c. 1964

teens6.7England, c. 1964

teens6.8Yemen, c. 1964

Written by bywilliamcarter

August 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Those Teens Part 5

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With the present series of posts. I bring together photographs made from 1958 to 2014 — 56 years — highlighting teenagers from cultures worldwide. Where it is sometimes not obvious if someone is technically a teen, or a bit younger or older, I have opted to be inclusive.

Wide differences of time and place, class and society are obvious in this series. More and more, though, my way of seeing has been to look past the external differences — toward the humanity, the soul that unites.

teens5.1Iraq, c. 1965

teens5.2Iraq, c. 1965

teens5.3Indiana, c. 1972

teens5.4Kansas, c. 1971

teens5.5England, c. 1967

teens5.6England, c. 1967

Written by bywilliamcarter

July 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm

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