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Kael Alford: Unembedded

Photojournalist discusses the documentation of war



Kael Alford is a slight woman with the delicate features that give her a passing resemblance to actress Jodie Foster. Her obvious physical vulnerability makes it even more admirable that Alford so often put her life on the line to report on a side of the Iraq war often hidden from Americans.

Over the course of nine months Alford did just that, following insurgents such as the Mahdi Militia, shopping in Iraqi markets and documenting the bloody toll on the ground of the American invasion of Baghdad in 2003. Now a resident of Atlanta's Candler Park, Alford sat down to discuss the perils and the necessity of documenting war.

Alford, a veteran photojournalist, has also reported from the front lines of the conflicts in Kosovo and Macedonia. She joins three other photographers – Iraqi Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Thorne Anderson and Rita Leistner – in the Unembedded: Four Independents on the War in Iraq exhibition at Atlanta Photography Group Gallery (75 Bennett St., space B-1, 404-605-0605; www.apgphoto.org) . Alford was one of a small group of photojournalists who worked without the protection of the United States military while in Iraq. Her brutal, heart-wrenching shots of dying mothers and dead children and a country reduced to ruins reveal a side to the war in Iraq many Americans would rather not acknowledge.

Alford will also present a lecture, "State of War, State of Grace," on Saturday, June 30, at noon. Admission is free.

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