Yezidi Shrine, northern Iraq
The independent photographer Robert Leutheuser began traveling in the Middle East in the 1990s. He found himself drawn to the region’s stark desert landscapesas well as the welcoming Kurdish communities he met in Northern Iraq. These trips led Robert to what has become his main photographic for the last seven years: The Yezidis.
The Yezidis are a small religious group who live predominately in the rural Kurdish regions of Northern Iraq. Their religion dates back to the 11th century, but it’s roots are ancient, borrowing elements from Zoroastrianism as well as Christianity and Islam. Sadly over the centuries the Yezidis have been a perpetually marginalized and persecuted group. They were massacred by the Ottomans, oppressed by Saddam Hussein, and today face a new threat from the Islamic State.
Robert last visited Iraq in 2014 before the rise of ISIS, so since he has spent so much time getting to know the Yezidis in Iraq, I wanted to have him on to share a bit of what he has learned. When I talked with him he spoke about the Yezidi religion, the sheik who has become a close friend, and the phone call he got from another friend as he and his family fled from ISIS.
Sinjari Faqir – Lalish, northern Iraq (2008)
Youth – Lalish, northern Iraq (2010)
Yezidi Peshmergha, Lalish (2009)
Girl and Brothers – village of Rambusî, Sinjar, northern Iraq
Sheikh Gharbi and Sheikh Afan Handling Snake – Sinjar Region, northern Iraq (2012)Under the Pergola – Lalish, northern Iraq (2007)
Piçuk Lalish Shrine – Sinjar Region, northern Iraq (2012)
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