A small sign of hope and rebellion amid the destruction of Sinjar, 2017

Recovering Iraq:
Stories of family, culture, help and hope


It was the waning days of ISIS in the Spring of 2017 and I was in Northern Iraq. Before hand, most of what I knew about this place seemed hopeless and violent, but I also thought I might be wrong about that. So I went there to learn first hand about the human tragedy and resilience of the people in the region. Over the course of three weeks I traveled and met with many displaced Kurdish families in temporary shelters and large encampments in Kirkuk, Sinjar and Mosul.

I wondered who these people were and what of their culture might be lost? What does it mean to suffer unimagiable horror and still find hope? What kind of help is still needed and who's doing it? And I wondered why everyone is so warm, friendly and generous, and yet seemingly so quick to kill each other? As it's hard to really understand anything from a safe distance, I went there instead. And in the process hoped to share meaningful photographs and stories that people may benefit from. Some of those are featured here.


Visiting with kids at a camp in Mosul and walking down a Sinjar street


I want to extend a very special thank you to Sue O'Connor and the Medair team for all of their support throughout this project. Medair is a humantiarian aid NGO helping vulnerable people in the Middle East and throughout the world. Please check them out and help where you can.

Thank you to some of my friends and collaborators: Ryan Fritzsche for video production; Rachel Dowd for press and storytelling support; Justin Sanders for copy editing; and Michelle Zassenhaus for helping me with photo editing. Please note that unless otherwise stated, all of the thoughts and opinions found on this site are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of other individuals or organizations.