“Because No One Would Buy My Photos, Here They Are For Free. Mosul 2017”

As the Battle of Mosul rages on, so does the race between photographers trying to sell snapshots of the conflict to media outlets. Kainoa Little couldn’t find a buyer for his photos, but he decided to share them online anyway – and they tell a harrowing story of struggle and survival.

The Shoreline, Washington-based photographer specializes in war zones, and was in Mosul in April 2017 to document Iraqi Federal Police efforts to liberate the city from ISIL militants. Heavy clashes were underway in the Old City, and causing civilians to flee in mass numbers. Little’s photos capture a vivid range of emotions; the anguish of the refugees leaving their homes, the determination of the soldiers protecting them, and the sheer chaos plaguing all of those involved, to name just a few.

Though Mosul is not yet completely free, the Iraqi forces have made significant headway in reclaiming the ancient city from ISIL. We can only hope that an end to this brutal fight is near, and that Kainoa Little has better luck on the press photography market next time around. Check out his compelling photos below.

More info: Kainoa Little


Federal Police fire on Islamic State positions in west Mosul


A Federal Policeman in a ruined cinema


Federal Police prepare for battle in the Old City. This machine gunner is organizing his ammo


Federal Police enter a theater suspected of containing an explosive device as they try to take control of the block in the Old City


An Islamic State bullet punches through the wall near a Federal Policeman


Federal Police enter a theater in the Old City. Seconds later, an Islamic State gunman opened fire from the upper rafters


Federal Police in the theater


A soldier clears a building in Mosul’s Old City


A Federal Policeman takes fire from the other side of a theater. Several bullets impacted the other side of the wall near where he had been looking through a window


A Federal Policeman runs across exposed ground on the roof of the theater


Federal Police exchange fire with ISIS across the theater


Federal Police in the theater in the Old City

A cook prepares large amounts of rice for the soldiers


Federal Police commanders


Federal Police shave and rest in a civilian home on the front line in west Mosul


Civilians flee from fighting in west Mosul


Refugees from west Mosul wait near the Tigris River crossing


Refugees from west Mosul wait near the Tigris River crossing


A humvee passes civilians fleeing battles in Musharrifah


Iraqi Army piloting a drone


Civilians fleeing battles in Musharrifah


Refugees escaping fighting


American and Burmese medics fail to recuscitate a sniper victim


Civilians fleeing battles in Musharrifah


A woman learns from American and Burmese medics that her son will survive a bullet wound in the leg


A helicopter gunship fires at Islamic State positions