I pulled on my running shoes and stepped into the sweltering streets. It was a Thursday in July 2003, twilight, and well over 100 degrees. I was feeling a little reckless. If this ended badly, the only thing anyone would remember was how stupid I was.
We had set up the New York Times office on Abu Nawas Street. We lived and worked there: an Ottoman-style house with a gated yard and a veranda on the second floor that looked out on a boulevard that tracked the eastern bank of the Tigris River. In those first days, we didn’t fortify the place; no razor wire or blast walls, no watchtowers or machine guns mounted on the roof. Cars motored past our front yard on their way to the Jumhuriya Bridge a couple of miles up the road.
When Carolynne St. Pierre, a maternity nurse known for her keen wit, was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer, she knew how she wanted to die. According to Oakland-based documentary photographer Preston Gannaway, St. Pierre wanted to leave this worl