The Digital Journalist
© David Leeson

A Last Dignity. Iraq

An Iraqi man closes the eyes of a dead man who was looting a Baghdad bank. Shortly after I made this photo, he was moved into a public area so others could see what happens to looters. One man said, "This is what happens when you steal." The man was one of four armed men trying to rob a bank when he was shot dead by soldiers from Task Force 2-69. The other three were captured. He had stolen a light fixture from the side of the bank. Sadly, any of us could purchase a similar item for 6 bucks at a hardware store.

I received criticism for "self-censorship" during the war. I have little patience with such comments today. I make the decisions on what I shoot and what I do not shoot. I believe that all life has dignity that extends even into death. I struggled with making images of the harsh realities of war while still respecting that dignity. This image is a perfect example of what I sought. I do not shy from the brutality. But there should be some compelling reason beyond the blood to make the photo.

The hands reaching down to close the man's eyes were enough to justify this photo for me. I recently titled it, "A Last Dignity."