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Glad Tidings of Benevolence

Glad Tidings of Benevolence

by Moises Saman

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Published to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, Glad Tidings of Benevolence brings together Moises Saman’s photographs taken in Iraq during this period and the following years, with documents and texts relating to the war. Exploring the construction—through image and language—of competing narratives of the war, the book represents the culmination of Saman’s twenty years of work across Iraq.

Please be aware that this book contains graphic imagery.

More about this book

Saman began working as a newspaper photographer in Iraq shortly before the invasion in 2003. He has covered the US occupation and withdrawal, displacement, human rights abuses, humanitarian crises, governance and ISIS. Rather than present a linear historical account of Iraq after Saddam Hussein, Saman aims to convey the cacophony of voices that have narrated the war.

In the book, photographs by Saman are presented alongside texts including quotes from political and military figures, lists of killed Iraqi civilians and US coalition military personnel, an edited log of military operations, handbooks for soldiers, redacted official transcripts and pop culture references that reflect a sinisterly ironic lexicon of war. The pairings of text and photograph provoke questions about narrative formation in war. Some pairings reveal a clash between Saman’s visual representation of the conflict and official discourse, while others provide unexpected intersections or bridges.

The title of the book, and subsequent chapter subtitles, are picked from the list of thousands of code names used by the US military to identify their operations in Iraq from 2003-2010.

Published March 2023
Preface by Sinan Antoon
195 x 260 mm
384 pages, 200 images
ISBN 978-1-910401-77-4

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  • Moises Saman is a documentary photographer and a member of Magnum Photos. His work has received numerous awards, including the 2015 Guggenheim Grant for Photography, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund (2014), the Henri Nannen Preis (2014), the World Press Photo (2004, 2007, 2014), and Pictures of the Year International (2012, 2014, 2015). Saman is a regular contributor to National Geographic, The New Yorker, TIME, The New York Times Magazine, among other international publications. From 2007-2012 he was a regular contributor to The New York Times, and from 2000-2007 was a staff photographer at Newsday newspaper in New York. His first monograph Discordia was published in 2016.

  • ‘My photographs are not intended to represent an objective account of the Iraq war against which to compare the texts. Rather, the book grapples with my own role and power as a narrator – particularly one with access to foreign publications – and the biases and limitations inevitably embedded in my work.’

    - Moises Saman