In these portrait series Andrea Bruce documents a rare account of how the war has affected ordinary people in Iraq.

Andrea asked them a crucial question: “What now?”

The answers proved to be complicated.

Russia Ibrahim (26) was cruelly affected by the war as she lost her father and two brothers. Yet she is insistent on staying in Iraq to continue her job as a geography teacher.

Other Iraqis like Belal Al Ameer are optimistic despite their country’s war-torn past. Belal worked for the past three years as a leading reporter for Al Rasheed television, one of the major Iraqi stations. “I see all sides of Iraq in my job,” he said. “It needs years to get on its feet and this is its first step. But it is the first of many. Iraqis will not give up.”

In the aftermath of war, Iraqis are rebuilding their lives and regaining pride for their country.

For some, like Selma Fakher (21), now is the time to start thinking about new chances. Selma is a wedding photographer. It is one of the few professions permitted for a woman in Sadr City. It allows her to shoot images of women, uncovered, in wedding dresses. Something frowned upon by men.

But her ultimate ambition is to be a photojournalist. “One day,” she said.


[November, 2012]

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