Photographer Teun Voeten arrived in Baghdad on April 13 and immediately began shooting the city’s many portraits of Saddam Hussein. At first, he says, the Iraqis were afraid to touch the portraits, but after the statue was pulled down in front of the international press, the de-Saddamification of Baghdad began in earnest. A few days after Voeten took these photographs, most of the portraits were destroyed. History.
Voeten is a Dutch photographer and writer based in New York. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, he skipped college classes to cover Iraqi Scud attacks on Israel during the first Gulf War. He has covered conflicts in Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Colombia, and has been published in Vanity Fair, Newsweek, The New Yorker and National Geographic Magazine. His book How de Body? One Man’s Terrifying Journey Through an African War was published last year by St. Martin’s. This past summer, Voeten was artist-in-residence at CalArts and worked on a project about downtown L.A.’s Skid Row — “the scariest place I have ever been,” he says. His work can be seen at www.teunvoeten.com.