The Iraq war: Through one photographer's lens

This photograph shows US Marines taking detainees in for questioning Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith

A new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum North to mark the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War features photographs taken by award-winning British war photographer Sean Smith.

‘Iraq: Photographs by Sean Smith' features images taken before, during and after the invasion by US-led coalition troops in March 2003.

They focus on how the war affected and shaped the lives of ordinary Iraqi people during the military operation.

Smith arrived in Iraq in January 2003, on assignment for the Guardian Newspaper and was in Baghdad when the invasion began. Since then, he has returned to the country a number of times.

2003

This image shows UD soldiers watching for snipers as their colleagues deal with a burning vehicle blown up by an improvised explosive device (IED).

Six soldiers and an interpreter were killed in the attack.

US soldiers watch for snipers as their colleagues deal with a burning vehicle blown up by an IED. Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith
A child recovers a pet rabbit from his bombed neighbourhood, Baghdad. Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith
An Iraqi boy dressed as a soldier shows his family’s support for Saddam Hussein, Baghdad, 2003 Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith
Boys from Saddam City, a suburb in Baghdad later renamed Sadr City, with weapons and ammunition looted from a government building, 2003 Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith

2005

In 2005, as the first multi-party elections in fifty years took place, insurgents tried to smuggle explosives into Baghdad to disrupt the voting. US Marines advanced through towns in the region, including Ubaydi, searching for insurgent cells.

Residents of Ubaydi flee their homes, as US Marines occupy their town, 2005 Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith
A young boy appears distressed as US forces stand nearby Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith
An Iraqi woman caught up in fighting between insurgents and Coalition troops, Ubaydi, 2005 Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith

2006

This image won Photograph of the year at the 2006 Press Photographer's Year awards.

It shows US Marines taking detainees in for questioning as part Operation 'Steel Curtain', which aimed to break up insurgent cells located on the Syria Border.

US Marines taking detainees in for questioning
A local boy playing in the river as an Iraqi interpreter looks on, Hawijah, 2006 Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith
Woman are seen holding weapons in Tikrit Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith

Ten years on, Smith said of the conflict:

Sean Smith said he would love to return to Iraq. Credit: Guardian News & Media / Sean Smith
  • Iraq: Photographs by Sean Smith, will be displayed the Imperial War Museum North until 2nd February 2014.