Open Wounds

Shortlist 2021

Younes Mohammad

Younes Mohammad was born in 1968 in Dohuk, Iraq. He is a Kurdish freelance photographer mostly active on assignments for newspapers, magazines. Younes spent his life in Iran as a refugee from 1974 - 1998 and graduated with an MBA in Tehran. Photography was his passion, but he had no chance to follow it while the war situation continued during Saddam's time. In 2011 he quit his job and started his journey as a photographer. His work has been exhibited and published internationally.

The Conflict

Open Wounds

These photos are part of a long-term project documenting the sacrifices of Kurdish Peshmerga in the fight to put down ISIS*. It includes talks with a hundred Peshmerga, intimate portraits of the wounded fighters and their families, documenting the battle's stories and their ongoing struggles to navigate post-conflict life. Almost all of the men showed severe physical injury. Arms, legs, and eyes lost. Bodies so riddled with bullet and shrapnel wounds that simple movement created wincing pain. These men also showed the signs of the heavy burdens of the mental traumas, of PTSD, and of memories that would not leave them. Despite all they suffered, they often said they would go back to the fight again if ever called. They would do this for their children, families, people, and the wider world. I have decided to use a black fabric background to focus on them, not anything else, and I also decided to do it in each of their homes with the natural light that exists at their home, and the light was a huge challenge for me.

*The organization is designated as terrorist according to the Law of the Russian Federation