Hana Kamal follows Bettys secret journey towards becoming a woman, Marwa Sarkawts images portrays a father who lost an eye, an ear and a leg fighting ISIS, and Saba Kareem is fascinated by palm trees.

These are some of the Iraqi female photographers who took part in a collaborative project between Framing Photojournalism School and Swedish Global Reporting, funded by the Swedish Institute.

Photography has historically been a form of expression only for Iraqi men. This project brings together female photographers to empower them in their profession and to disseminate images from Iraq taken from a female perspective.

“Palm Trees”

By Saba Kareem 

Essaouira, situated 35 kilometers south of Baghdad, is currently one of the most renowned cities in Iraq for palm tree cultivation and preservation. In the past, Iraq was known as Ard Al-Sawad (The Black Land) due to its abundance of palm trees; however, as time passed, the number of palm trees began to diminish due to land investment and the construction of housing units or other buildings, resulting in a decline in some governorates.



By Hana Kamal

“I first considered transitioning when I set it as a long-term goal in 2022, it was meant for the upcoming years, but the dysphoria was excruciating, so I chose to transition after having the worst mental breakdown of 2022, and I began taking hormones prescribed by me on September 1st. 

Transitioning now is extremely dangerous since not only do I still live with an unaccepting family, but I also go out on a regular basis, therefore I wear clothes three times my size and attempt to hide my medicines as much as possible. 

The mental aspect of transitioning was the most challenging for me; after finally accepting myself, it took me months to build up the confidence to transform myself into my true self.

When my family leaves town for the weekend, I avoid traveling with them so that I may be the woman I am and do all the things I enjoy. 

I always lock my bedroom door and carry my keys with me so that my family does not enter my room and find my personal belongings. I keep my makeup, perfume, and hair supplies in a concealed drawer, while I keep men’s perfume and a shaving kit on my table. 

I used to sneak into my mother’s wardrobe as a child and simply connect with my feminine side; as I’ve grown older, I’ve felt the desire to become my own version of my mother, so I dress up and reflect what’s on the inside into my fashion sense, whether it’s drag or just glam.”


The portrait of a Peshmerga 

By Marwa Sarkawt

In the battle against Daesh in Zummar, north of Nineveh governorate, in August 2014, 42-year-old Wshyar Aziz Maghdeed lost his left leg, left eye, and left ear. Wshyar now spends his days as a cook in a factory. He’s the proud father of four kids: two sons and two daughters.


“Basna’s story”

By Veen Mahmoud 

I chose this young girl so that I could support her abilities with a few pictures and words. Despite the difficulties she has faced, she has never given up and has always tried to make her life and that of those around her happier.

Basna is a Kurdish Yezidi girl who was born in Sinjar district on August 10, 1993. In 2014, she, like everyone else in the region, was targeted by ISIS. She was in sixth grade at the time, and she planned to finish university and live a natural life, which is everyone’s basic right, whereas all she wished for was a bright future for her family and her siblings and sisters.

From that day forward, she was obligated to work in a restaurant and a hotel, where she volunteered frequently to acquire new skills and where she also learned to ride a bicycle to make her daily commute to and from work easier. She used every ounce of her physical, mental, and spiritual strength to provide for her family, and eventually, with the assistance of various organizations, she was able to establish her own enterprise.


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