Iraq’s youngest photographer reflects

December 22, 2011

Qamar Hashim is an 8-year-old Iraqi photographer. He tours famous streets to picture Baghdadis with his single camera and is the youngest Iraqi photographer to win several local awards, according to the Iraqi Society Photographic (ISP).

Below, Qamar responds to a series of questions.

When did you take your first photograph and what did it show?

I do not remember exactly the first picture but I had been mimicking my father since I was 4 or 5 years-old and started to take pictures of the Tigris river, the gulls, birds, old houses and heritage places.

Why do you think photography is important?

Photography is very important. It documents life and pauses time. We can show the city, life and the people.

What do you want to show people about Iraq?

I want to say through my pictures that Iraq is precious and Iraqis are very kind. Iraq is peaceful and has a great history.

Photo courtesy of Qamar Hashim

How do you feel about the U.S. troops leaving Iraq?

I am afraid of the U.S. soldiers, they destroyed the house my family rented in 2003, when I was a fetus. Thank God my family survived and I am happy now for their departure. I am free and not afraid of their tanks.

What do you want to be when you finish school?

I like to act and I would like to be a child-activist.

Which is your favorite photo you have taken and why?

My favorite picture is of a man sleeping who sells books at al-Mutanabi street. Also a picture of a bee on a rose, I ran a lot to follow the bee until I got this picture.

Are there any photographers you look up to?

There a lot of good photographers and I learned from them (Adel Qassim, Fouad Shakir, Kareem al-Ba’aj, and Hameed Majeed).

Are there any photos you wish to take but haven’t been able to yet?

The dangerous pictures like fire, blasts, other incidents but I have been sent off the site. They say I am a child. Also I wish to get a picture of the triangle of migrant birds.

What does the future of Iraq look like?

I see a flourishing future for Iraq especially when my family owns a house. I love Iraq, my home, and it is more precious than anything else.

Photo courtesy of Qamar Hashim

Photo courtesy of Qamar Hashim


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May the LORD bless you and protect you.
May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.

Posted by Lucia66 | Report as abusive

i hope you’ll grow up having the same innocent and tender look despite all the violence. people like you kiddo makes us believe that the future can be bright… i wish you greater things in the future!

Posted by Karamel | Report as abusive

That’s great! Wish him luck!

Posted by zoyashu | Report as abusive

Thank you for sharing your world with us…Bless you and yours and Iraq…

Posted by susieqq | Report as abusive

Haiii Qamar Hashim, after reading your interview,i got a new freshness,even i like to go out with my camera in streets like u. really great.Dont stop ‘GO A HEAD MY BOY, ALL THE BEST’.

Posted by born4click | Report as abusive

Out of the mouths of babes! “I am afraid of the U.S. soldiers, they destroyed the house my family rented in 2003, when I was a fetus. Thank God my family survived and I am happy now for their departure. I am free and not afraid of their tanks.” We need look no further to understand the will and opinion of Iraqi citizens. They never wanted us to invade and destroy their homeland, the majority were better off under Saddam’s rule. The loss of life, ours and theirs, was a criminal waste, and something we as a country should be well ashamed of.

Posted by Marla | Report as abusive

We see our hardships and this child found the image of a bee on a rose.
It goes to show how everything is perceived.
Life is truly art in motion.

Posted by avgprsn | Report as abusive

Maria: You have clearly never been to Iraq, or anywhere in the Middle East. The statement “…the majority [of Iraqis] were better off under Saddam’s rule” reeks of a complete lack of understanding of the conditions in Iraq during Saddam’s rule. If you were Shi’a, yes, life was not horrible in Iraq but, also, certainly not enjoyable. If you were Sunni, life was tolerable so long as you shut your mouth — and all of your relatives shut their mouths, too. In the long term, the results of the American liberation of Iraq will be very positive, even if the country has a period of civil war, just as the American Revolution resulted in an extremely positive outcome despite the American Civil War. I do not discount the lives lost in the Iraq War, but I also don’t blind myself to the lives that were lost prior to any invasion, and the likely greater life expectancy — and quality — that will be the legacy of this violent episode in Iraq’s evolution.

Posted by Welred | Report as abusive

Seems like some of the words have been enhanced. Often translation tends to influence the actual words of the person, and in children they tend to misinterpret the words because they are translated through an adult mind.

Posted by Akrunner907 | Report as abusive

May Allah give you guidance to lead the way and and you grow -up into a real hero in your profession as well a citizen. I praise your emotions that can feel..Allah Hafiz.

Posted by AhmadAnas | Report as abusive

All the very best – Get Going… little one with the camera on streets. Capturing life on streets is really amazing.

Posted by Singhania | Report as abusive

This is a great storyl This boy brought tears to my eyes. May Allah bless him and all of the Iraqis. I wish him gooood luck..and I am sure he will be one famous photographer someday.

Posted by Hawra | Report as abusive

I hope one day the Americans apologise for destroying your country and pay for you to have a better future.

Posted by niko123456 | Report as abusive

Mashalla Qamar …Rabna yihmeek wa yuhufthek
May God Bless and protect you…
I have been into photography since I was 17 and next to you I feel am a dwarf next to a giant…Keep the greaworkt

Posted by mkadi70 | Report as abusive