“My Baghdad” chronicles Nesmith’s two trips to the war zone in ambrotypes– hazy, antique-looking images created on glass plates.
The surprisingly placid images were shot in 2003-04 and during a brief stint in 2006, and they include barren Iraqi landscapes, birds on a wire and sunsets marred only by a passing helicopter. They have the patina of old Civil War photographs, but were shot digitally — because things move too quickly in Iraq to pull out a large camera and wait for a long exposure. “It’s too dangerous for that,” Nesmith says.
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The opening reception for Phil Nesmith: My Baghdad is at Irvine Contemporary from 6-8 on Saturday. You should check out his work. And encourage him to sell me the picture I want to buy that isn’t for sale, if you just happen to have him cornered.