Ivor Prickett End of the Caliphate
This body of work is a reminder of the power of people to endure and survive no matter what.
Nadhira sat in a plastic chair 15 feet from where excavator was digging through the ruins of her home in Mosul’s Old City. At times she was engulfed in dust whipped up as the driver dumped mounds of stone and parts of her house beside her, but she refused to move. Slowly they found the remains of her sister and niece, who had been killed when the house was flattened by an airstrike in the final weeks of battle to defeat ISIS in Mosul in the summer of 2017.
The levels of violence and killing that I witnessed while doing this work were beyond comprehension. During the nearly two years that I documented the battle to defeat ISIS and its aftermath in Iraq and Syria, I struggled to see the high cost of the war as anything but disastrous. In Mosul alone the death toll was estimated to be over nine thousand and vast tracts of the city were left in ruins.
However, I also saw glimmers of hope for humanity amid the rubble strewn aftermath.
Meeting Nadhira was one of those moments.
Her defiance that day was simultaneously one of the most heart-breaking and inspiring things I have ever seen. Her stoicism in the face of absolute loss was a deeply symbolic moment for me. One which seemed to speak volumes about the futility of war and the failure of intervention in Iraq, but was also a testament to the depth of strength people have in this fractured region.
Less than a year after the battle concluded, signs of life began returning to Mosul.
I was drawn to photographing young couples laughing as they enjoyed themselves at a newly reopened theme park on the banks of the river Tigris. Through the shrieks of joy and booming Iraqi disco music, it was hard to imagine what had passed here not so long before.
One of the most moving scenes I witnessed was of students coming back in force to attend classes at the prestigious University of Mosul, which was heavily damaged during the fighting. Those young minds gave me hope for the future of this majestic city. A new generation was choosing to learn and equip themselves with knowledge as a weapon.
This selection of images is not an all-encompassing view of war, but rather a beacon of strength in the midst of terrible hardship. They can give us hope despite the challenges we face as a global community.
About the author
Europe and the Middle East
Most recently the work of Ivor Prickett has focused on the fight to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Working exclusively for the The New York Times he spent months on the ground reporting in both words and pictures. His work in Iraq and Syria earned him first prize in the General News Stories category of the 2018 World Press Photo and he was named as a finalist in the Breaking News Photography category of the Pulitzer Prizes. The entire body of work entitled ‘End of the Caliphate’ is due to be released as a book by German publisher Steidl in 2019. Based in the region since 2009, Ivor documented the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings in Egypt and Libya, working simultaneously on editorial assignments and his own long-term projects.
Travelling to more than ten countries between 2012 and 2015 he documented the Syrian refugee crisis in the region as well as Europe, working closely in collaboration with UNHCR to produce the body of work Seeking Shelter. Dreams of a Homeland is the result of spending extended periods of time in northern Iraq and Syria with the Kurdish people striving for recognition in the region. With a particular interest in the aftermath of war and its humanitarian consequences, his early projects focused on stories of displaced people throughout the Balkans and Caucasus and culminated in the form of Returning Home.
Ivor’s work has been recognised through a number of prestigious awards including The World Press Photo, The Pulitzer Prizes, The Overseas Press Club Awards, Pictures of the Year International, Foam Talent, The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize and The Ian Parry Scholarship.
His pictures have been exhibited widely at institutions such as Foam Gallery Amsterdam and The National Portrait Gallery, London. He is represented by Verbatim Images in New York and his archive is managed by Panos Pictures in London. He is a European Canon Ambassador and holds a degree in Documentary Photography from the University of Wales Newport.
Joana Choumali, Ça va aller, 2016-2019
Shahidul Alam, Still She Smiles, 2014
Margaret Courtney-Clarke, Cry Sadness into the Coming Rain, 2014 - 2018
Rena Effendi, Transylvania: Built on Grass, 2012
Lucas Foglia, Human Nature, 2006 – 2019
Janelle Lynch, Another Way of Looking at Love, 2015-2018
Gideon Mendel, A Testament of Faded Memory, 2016
Ross McDonnell, Limbs, 2012
Ivor Prickett, End of the Caliphate, 2016 - 2018
Robin Rhode, Principle of Hope, 2017
Awoiska van der Molen, Am schwarzen Himmelsrund, 2010-2018
Alexia Webster, Street Studios, 2011-2018