Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
A Photographer's Chronicle of the Iraq War
"Remarkable. An Australian freelancer in his twenties, [Gilbertson] went to northern Iraq before the war and has been going back ever since, mostly on contract for the Times. His new book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot collects Gilbertson's four years of work in Iraq, with an introduction by his Times colleague Dexter Filkins, and a colloquial, self-revealing text beautifully written by the photographer himself. The pictures chart the descent of Iraq from the initial post-invasion euphoria into the extreme violence of the battles for Karbala, Samarra, and Falluja. They also show a young photojournalist, who "wasn't interested in covering combat," learning his craft, proving his mettle, forcing himself into situations that nearly destroy him morally as well as physically, and finally discovering, amid the inferno of Falluja in November, 2004, the strange tenderness that characterizes the very greatest war photography. Gilbertson's pictures from the battle of Falluja . . . perform the opposite function of the war pornography that Abu Ghraib and Zarqawi gave the world: they give back their subjects the humanity that the war is taking away."
George Packer, New Yorker