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Leave and Let Us Go is the culmination of my photographic work across Iraq over the last seven years. For generations, the Middle East has been solely defined for the West by conflict and this work aims to challenge how geopolitical events and their impact are presented. 


Leave and Let Us Go began in 2017 during the Mosul Offensive with an 88km panoramic image of Mosul Road, the main thoroughfare connecting Erbil to West Mosul. Sitting on top of a truck, I took one image every three seconds and manually stitched each image together to create a visual of the landscape and daily life along a road that connected the heart of the proclaimed ISIS Caliphate to a city they could not capture.


As I continued to cover the offensive a stark divide emerged between what I was documenting and the reality on the ground. One day a soldier sat next to me and shared photos on his phone: His kills. His wife. His girlfriend. His children. His university graduation day. His wedding night. This interaction repeated itself so often, I began asking to download these first-person accounts; over the next three years, I built an archive of 350,000 images and videos from over 50 individuals across Iraq. The resulting Leave and Let Us Go is a multi-dimensional project that returns the narrative power to its own citizens and challenges the foreigners' gaze.  


Leave and Let Us Go is comprised of sections from the panoramic of Mosul Road, phone images and videos from participants as well as suspected ISIS members, scanned family photo albums, found objects, and my own documentation across Iraq. Throughout the process of building the work and choosing which images to use in the final selection, the participants were closely involved in selecting the images which they believed represented them most accurately. Before each new publication, I speak with each participant and ensure they are still comfortable with each image or video being used. This project is dependent upon its collaborative nature and is constantly growing as a result. Images taken from phones and scanned images are noted within the captions and attributed to their creator, except when the participant asked to remain anonymous. 



Leave and Let Us Go book by Alexandra Rose Howland published by GOST Books on Iraq

GOST Books
180 x 240 mm, 340 pages
6 gatefolds

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