Near Dark

Martyn Aim

2014 - Ongoing

While the liberation of Mosul is complete the war against ISIS continues. In the last months of the battle for control of the city Iraqi forces clashed with Islamic State militants in the rubble of the narrow lanes of the Old City of west Mosul - fighting house to house. From the mass graves and burning oil fields of northern Iraq to the prisons and slave markets of Mosul, the shared testimony of Iraqi's who have fled Islamic State occupation are unimaginable in their cruelty. Islamic State militants now move among civilians planning future attacks. The threat Islamic State poses to the future stability of Iraq, Syria and beyond remains. It is not possible to bomb this fierce philosophy into submission - the fight is far from over.

These photographs were taken during my daily coverage of the war in Iraq working as a photojournalist. I began to strive to see beyond the conflict and to capture the terrible surreal beauty conjured in moments of unexpected silence, in stillness, on deserted streets. They are dark visions that stopped me in my tracks. I have been living and working in Iraq, Turkey and Syria since 2014 covering the fight against Islamic State and the impact on civilians. I am applying for the grant so I can return to the Middle East, primarily Iraq and northern Syria, and to continue documenting life for people in the region coping with the aftermath of war. The grant will allow me the time to work in a more nuanced and purposeful way with the end goal of publishing a book. Thank you for your consideration.

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