Baghdad Suite

This little text tells the history of a photo series made by Andrew Phelps, one of the supporting photographers of FOTODOK, an inspiration and an active aid in reaching our goals.

Photography is a good medium to tell stories, but the people behind the camera often seem to have a lot of special encounters in their personal story book, too. Once in a while, FOTODOK tries to bring these adventures onto the surface.

“A bit abstract, a bit absurd”

Some time ago, Andrew Phelps published a little book called Baghdad Suite. The book contains 8 large format images and is a special-edition-on-demand of 100 copies. The book seems to tell the story of a destroyed Iraqi town, hence the name. A special little edition it is and the story behind the book makes it even more interesting.

While photographing the disappearance of small town Higley – which has gradually been swallowed by Phoenix city (Arizona, USA) – Phelps has a special encounter with a place: “this ‘city’ was torn down the next day after I discovered it out in the desert outside of Higley. I was planning on spending a few days there but I ended up only making 8 images. All are on 4×5 and then the sun went down so I stopped hoping to go back the next day. but it was strange to only have these 8 images, no more, no less, it NEVER happens that 8 out of 8 images are successful so I thought I would do something just with these images, so the book only has 20 pages and is in an edition of 100, it just seems to fit the theme; a bit abstract and absurd.”

This story strikes me as quite extraordinary. The photographer documented, the place is gone, the documents are there in a format that can lest for quite some time, the images seem so familiar, so connected to a ‘collective’ memory, but as is already mentioned in the text on the website: ..The irritation begins when we realize that this Baghdad is possibly not in the Middle East, but maybe, just maybe, east of Phoenix, Arizona.

Femke Lutgerink