"Crouching in the Corner of History" - Images of Iraq - Tina Hager - DoD Roundtable
The power of photography and visual images to tell a story can never be overlooked! The DoD Bloggers Roundtable met with Tina Hager to discuss her experiences photographing and documenting events in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003. Ms Hager’s background as described by the DoDLive announcement:
“…A former White House photographer, Hager accompanied former President George W. Bush on his surprise visit to Baghdad in 2003. Since then she has participated in several embeds with the U.S. military and currently serves as the Task Force For Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) photographer documenting economic revitalization throughout the country. Hager will also discuss her experiences meeting and photographing everyday Iraqis during this period of transition in their country.”
Ms Hager was excited about the documentation of economic and social progress in Iraq from her photography. She said the progress was staggering with the “fertile crescent” becoming fertile again and green with prosperous farms, factories and other signs of economic growth! The Iraqis now manufacture their own farm equipment and the factories (which she compared to East Germany before the fall of the Berlin wall) were again productive. The land in 2003 was dusty and colorless and now shows the promise of green and opportunity. She loved the blue tractors they are producing in their plant and said it was like a game of “Where’s Waldo” to spot the blue tractors in the countryside. Mesopotamian design carpets are again being introduced in world markets too as another sign of progress!
I asked her about the role and economic situation for women in Iraq and she said they were, “definitely moving ahead leaps and bounds”. When I looked at her slide show I saw women police, teachers leading their students on tours and a young girl playing tennis! She said that women can be in charge and that the banking industry was largely women. That included the central bank, a very powerful role for women in their society. When queried how the Iraqis responded to her photography she said they were curious and described herself as tall and female which caught their attention. She said they responded to her photography in much the same way as US citizens do.
Ms Hager is returning to Iraq in April to continue her documentation of the economic revitalization of the country! She said Iraq is back to work and that it is “inspiring”! To see her beautiful slide show, please go to DoDLive!
As a post note to her experiences in Iraq, she commented on the military hospital at Landstuhl, Germany. She said she could not praise that hospital enough and that they had “reverence for each soldier” who arrived for care. Upon arrival each patient is met by a caregiver telling them they are in Germany now and it is ok. Her description was very touching and made me respond with pride for how our country cares for its wounded warriors!
Thank you to the staff at the DoD New Media Directorate and MC 1 Molly Burgess for coordinating this inspiring Roundtable!
Photo Credit: Tina Hager, Photographer for the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), U.S. Department of Defense DoDLive
Photo Credit: President George W. Bush has lunch with soldiers at Fort Campbell, Ky., Thursday, March 18, 2004. "Here, at one of America’s vital military bases, you’ve built a strong community of people who care about each other, and share the challenges and rewards of army life. America is grateful. America is proud of our military families," the president said in his remarks." White House photo by Tina Hager