Geert Van Kesteren: Why Mister, Why?
Introduction by Michael Hirsh.
Featuring more than 250 images, Why Mister, Why? is a compelling account from photojournalist Geert van Kesteren. For the most part of 2003 and into 2004, van Kesteren made these images in a struggling Iraq, intertwining them with his personal experience of the situation in diary-like notes. In that way, this body of work resonates with an honesty found only when the narrator and photographer of a story are one and the same. The situation in Iraq, following the declaration of "mission accomplished," represented a culture clash of rare proportions, and van Kesteren was witness to what went wrong. He saw clouds of sadness coming from the mass graves created by the Saddam regime, while Shi'ites enjoyed their awakening freedom. Embedded within the ranks of US troops, he witnessed disgraceful raids on Iraqi citizens. And these accounts are presented here for the reader to see, feel, and try to understand. In a clear photojournalistic way, van Kesteren outlines why it will take a long time before the Iraqi people can enjoy the semblance of peace. Accompanying the images is an introduction by Newsweek senior editor Michael Hirsh, with whom Van Kesteren shared several tense moments in Iraq.