New York Times photographer Bryan Denton was embedded with Iraqi counter-terrorism forces near Mosul this week when they were targeted by a series of ISIS car bombs. One of them reached its target and exploded.
He was wounded, along with some of the Iraqis. Denton's story and photographs about the experience appeared in the Times and Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with him about it.
Interview Highlights: Bryan Denton
On how he feels after the car bombing
"I think what was the most surreal about it is that, as a photographer, when you're working, when you're covering the front lines, I try to be as efficient as I can in the way that I work. And I really, I usually I try to calculate my risk as, 'Am I gonna get a lot of good, interesting journalism out of this, if I'm going to be taking this risk?' And frankly, sitting on the back of a MRAP all day wasn't exactly I hoped for. Before I got wounded, and before the day had really started, I was thinking, 'Wow, this is actually not that useful journalistically, because I'm just sitting here in the back of a truck.'"
On how ISIS uses car bombs
"They’re very clever about how they stage them. They stage them at points where they know that they don’t have a very long run to get to the convoy, because the longer that they’re exposed, the more likely it is that they're going to be hit by an airstrike that’s called in. Usually, every time one appeared, there was maybe a 15- to 25-second window that you had before it was upon you. It was incredibly nerve-wracking, because you just didn’t know what was coming around the next corner, essentially."
On the offensive to retake Mosul
"These battles are incredibly difficult to fight tactically, especially once you get into the city. Now, if ISIS decides that they want to make a really hard stand inside the city, we could see this stretch into December, and even into January or beyond."
"Usually, every time one appeared, there was maybe a 15- to 25-second window that you had before it was upon you. It was incredibly nerve-wracking, because you just didn’t know what was coming around the next corner."Bryan Denton, on how ISIS has used car bombs against Iraqi forces
On the danger of working on the front lines
"For me I've never thought of myself as a war photographer. For me, my passion in my career has been covering the Middle East, and especially focusing on this sort of pivotal moment that we’ve found ourselves in this historically. I mean, the aftermath of the Arab Spring and all of the changes that are taking place and so, a lot of my coverage has centered on stuff happening behind the front lines and how these societies are changing.
But I also believe that it is important at times to take calculated risks and to show people at home what war is actually like, especially in this day and age when the U.S. is sort of peripherally involved in these conflicts and U.S. population doesn't really have a whole lot of access to the extent of our involvement. So I think it's really important to be able to shine a light on that in some ways."
This article was originally published on October 28, 2016.
This segment aired on October 28, 2016.