A Journey of Faith and Resilience by Emily Garthwaite

In our modern age very few pilgrimages have stood the test of time and survived through the years. With her photography series “Iraq: Road to Arbaeen” Emily Garthwaite takes us on an extraordinary journey, following the steps of the Iraqi people from Najaf to Imam’s Hussein’s shrine which is located in Kerbala. This is the biggest annual gathering on religious ground and yet it has been ignored by the media and widely unknown to the public.

Emily Garthwaite sheds some light on this event through her lens, bringing the stories of the pilgrims to life. Her subjects are often looking straight to the camera with an honest gaze, telling their own tale of resilience and solidarity. In the rest of the images the young journalist captures brilliantly the people caught off guard doing their own thing. They’re often portrayed behind a light morning mist, flames, smoke or transparent surfaces which makes for an outstanding metaphor to describe the Iraqis: people of whose suffering the whole world knows, but also people of mystery who need to be better understood, who need to be accepted for who they really are.

Through her captivating photographs the author also manages to reveal that even though the Iraqi people have been through a lot, they’re still holding on tight to their families, to their beliefs and core values.

All photos are courtesy of Emily Garthwaite