Rocket ship

Charlene journal

May 2019, Iraq The picture above was a 2019 highlight: crossing the mighty Tigris River in a small wooden boat with my teammates Chelsea and Ihsan. We were on a field trip, documenting Preemptive Love’s medical relief programs around a chunk of Iraq. Ihsan, the genial Dr Mustafa (a doctor in one of the many clinics around Iraq that my …

The Challenge of True Solitude | Brian Bolster

Charlene journal

This is one of the most beautiful short films I’ve ever watched, made by filmmaker Brian Bolster. Magnificent in its still, poetic frames, spare narrative, and quiet, spacious edits, it’s a gorgeous telling of Oceanic Hotel winter caretaker Alexandra de Steiguer’s story, and the draw of living in an empty hotel in a weather lashed island, during the cold. I’ve …

81

Charlene journal

Singapore If my dad was alive, he’d be 81 today. He probably wouldn’t be making annual pilgrimages to the South China Sea to catch marlin anymore, the way he used to when I was a kid. He often told me, in his later years, that he didn’t have the strength / endurance to do sport fishing anymore. Enjoyed talking about …

Raving in Kurdistan | March 2019

Charlene journal

Late March 2019: Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq (Kurdistan) I had a bit of a difficult start in Iraq. A couple of weeks into my moving there this past March, I was in a car accident, while on a trip for work. To this day, neither I nor the colleague driving know what happened. One second we were cruising down a mostly …

Meeting the Titan: Making the X-Pro3 movie with Ihsan Ibraheem

Charlene journal

Sulaymaniayh, Kurdistan, Iraq This movie is the best part of the entire X-Pro3 project for me. It’s the most epic of all the things I delivered, because ace filmmaker Ihsan Ibraheem made it. He’s a one-person Hollywood production machine. He directed the movie, coached the clueless star, did the cinematography, set design, editing, grading, sound capture, and sound engineering. If …

Meeting the Titan: the Fujifilm X-Pro3

Charlene journal

Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq This article was written for the official Fujifilm X Series portal. The version on this blog comes with some minor changes. World, meet the X-Pro3! I’ve been holding this baby close to me for a while now and it’s good to finally be able to talk about it! If you were keeping an eye on the X …

My Best Photo in 4 Months

Charlene journal

It was one of the rare occasions that I had a full hour to hang around and just watch Buthena attend to her clients. Everyone was a little unsure about the cameras at first but I was there for so long that they got used to it and stopped paying me any attention.

That, for me, is always when the magic happens.

Good Medicine

Charlene journal

Central Iraq, May 2019 In my present line of work, I meet many extraordinary people. Folks who have made it through war, exile, unimaginable loss, and still find the grit to get up and do their best each day. Folks who go above and beyond to care for those around them. Like the extraordinary Dr Mustafa, whose story is up …

Language Lessons

Charlene journal

Photo above: December 2018 in Copenhagen. Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq I’ve been learning Arabic, the last couple of months in Iraq. It’s doing some funny things to my brain, which became apparent during the latest trip to Copenhagen (I was there a couple of weeks ago, for 6 precious days). My progress in Arabic itself is slow, but spoken Danish is …

Amouna | Preemptive Love

Charlene journal

Kurdistan, Iraq In the photo above, Amouna kisses her granddaughter during an afternoon of work. I’ve been waiting to post this one for a while. Read the full post here. As a woman, it’s always great to see other women reclaim their confidence and their lives. And so often, all most of us need is a little helping hand. Amouna …