Lydia Phillips

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Driftwood Beach, GA

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm

I’ve recently been able to spend some time on the coast of Georgia– a place entirely new to me. On this particular morning a friend and I got up extra early to watch the sun come up over the Atlantic ocean on Driftwood Beach. The pictures aren’t half as beautiful as the real thing!

The humidity quickly fogged my lens, making the entire scene extra-eerie!

Sunrise over the ocean. 

Driftwood Beach

Entire trees litter the beach.

A tree stump grounded in sand.

Alex in the ocean.

Even in full sunlight its still such a beautiful beach!



In Uncategorized on January 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I have the unique privilege of knowing a professional ballerina. Sarah dances for the Washington Ballet company and she and I have worked together on a handful of photo projects. I’ve been talking with her recently about an upcoming shoot and it reminded me of these pictures she and I took almost a year ago. They’re all shot on location at the National Cathedral!

Ocean City, MD

In Uncategorized on January 22, 2011 at 12:04 am

A day trip with Julia Benton!

Meredith: A Collection

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 at 11:58 am

our "Taylor Swift" photoshoot

A Small Portfolio

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2010 at 11:32 pm
As an introduction to my blog, here are a few portraits from the last year or less. 

senior picture for a Georgetown graduate


In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm



In Uncategorized on July 19, 2010 at 5:11 pm


Nvar is the most beautiful 8 year old I’ve ever met! Lately we’ve been lovingly referring to her as our “poster-child” because of how often we’ve posted this picture around, garnering all kinds of support. Her photos have attracted attention all over Facebook; two separate donors have put $500 or more toward her surgery costs. People seem drawn to her in ways that they haven’t to other PLC kids (as far as I can tell).
Today I got to spend the day with her, playing games and learning colors in Kurdish and getting echocardiographs. What a crazy unreal experience! Playing hand-clap games with an Iraqi child whose heart is beating despite a huge whole in the bottom two chambers. In a few hours she’ll go through an operation I can’t even imagine, an operation I hope I never have.
She’s is the bravest, silliest, most beautiful 8-year-old I’ve ever met. Please be praying for her!


In Uncategorized on July 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm


After a 4am flight out of Iraq we arrived in Istanbul sometime around 11. I don’t remember much of it because I passed out in every mode of transportation, but we’re here! Most of the crew slept through the afternoon but we made it out to the Bosphorous Strait for a little swimming/feet dipping.
Turkey feels like a safe haven of comfort that I never want to leave. I didn’t realize how “uncomfortable” I was in Iraq until I got here. Not that I was ever unhappy in Kurdistan, there’s just something ultra familiar about Turkey and I feel so safe and happy.
Still miss Iraq, just a little.

>Lighter heads for heavy hearts?

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm


A couple of nights ago Ben (another intern) came home saying there was smoke coming from our office building and it may be burning down. Claire, Alex and myself headed out immediately to see what was going on (the office is only a 5 minute walk from our house). When we got there this is what we saw (it was in fact, not our office but a hotel on the same block)….

I quickly snuck past all of the police tape as “media”

The riot squad showed up with shields, armor, automatic weapons, and tasers.
This woman was pleading with the police to show her one of the bodies they had recently pulled from the building. They sent her away.
I only saw 4 bodies lifted out of the the windows the entire hour and a half we were there.
60 of the 62 rooms were booked that night.
We were chased away (with the rest of the crowd) by police men with tasers. Seriously. If Iraq was in America it would be a lawsuit.

In the end, 29 people were killed and 40 were hospitalized.
That same night we learned that the piece Yahyah needs to replace the pulmonary valve he was born without won’t arrive at the hospital in time for surgery.
Earlier that day a 14-year-old boy from Halabja had been in the office. 8 years before he was born, Saddam Hussein gassed his parent’s village–killing 5,000 people in a single afternoon. Now, 22 years after that day, Saddam Hussein is (“indirectly”) going to kill their son. Its incredible to me that more people aren’t angered over this chain of events. When I met him, Joshua told me (aside, even though the boy doesn’t understand English) “He’s going to die.” This boy who has lived 14 years is dying and inoperable.
A lot of heavy stuff this week. Tonight we go to Turkey though where we’ll see 4 new kids receive life-saving surgery. Praise God.

>Preemptive Love and the Second Generation of Genocide

In Uncategorized on July 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm


Since I’ve been here in Iraq I’ve been working toward a photo essay that could somehow mediate between the kids dying of congenital heart disease in Kurdistan and the rest of the world. Iraq’s high number of children with heart disease is most frequently attributed to Saddam Hussein’s chemical attacks, intrafamily marriage, and poor prenatal care. An underfunded, undereducated health care system perpetuates the problem.
Though all of these circumstances are intertwined, it’s the first of these causes that compels me so strongly. Every kid I meet born with a hole in their heart reminds me that chemical warfare still rages. Every baby who turns blue when she starts to cry forces me to see the legacy that violence leaves behind. I hate this, I hate the repercussions of war that these children (and their parents) are forced to bear.
The Preemptive Love Coalition exists in opposition to these acts of war and in support of peace between communities, peoples, and nations at odds. Most tangibly, these goals manifest as life-saving heart surgeries for Iraqi children with congenital heart disease.
So this is it, as it stands now. Its not finalized but I wanted to put it out there and hear your thoughts. So please, critique…
Second Generation Genocide

An empty crib sits in Soziar Hamdan’s living room. At 20 months old, Soziar has already had her first heart surgery, creating a shunt to re-route blood from her aorta to the pulmonary artery in efforts to bypass oxygen-poor blood from the heart directly to the lungs. In 5 years Soziar will need at least one more surgery to fully correct her multi-faceted condition.

Ahmed Bakhtyar, 10, aims a toy pistol at his mother in the living room. In addition to a large hole between the lower chambers of his heart, Ahmed was born with his major arteries reversed and without a pulmonary valve. The Preemptive Love Coalition sent him to surgery last summer but the single operation wasn’t enough to heal his multiple complications. Though he is in desperate need of a second surgery, doctors are hesitant to address Ahmed’s high risk condition as it is unlikely he will survive another operation and recovery.
Dr. Aso Faiq uses an echocardiograph to view an infant’s heart. Dr. Aso is the only pediatric cardiologist in northern Iraq and he screens as many as 150 children a week for heart disease.
Yahyah Omar, right, plays a video game with his neighbor while his parents discuss treatment options for their son’s heart conditions. The hole in the septum between his lower heart chambers is intensified by a reversed pulmonary artery and aorta. He was also born without a pulmonary valve; the replacement valve will cost his parents an extra $5000 alone.
Clubbing in the fingers and toes is one of the most obvious symptoms of a heart/lung defect. Malabsorption of oxygen into the blood stream causes this deformity, which worsens over time.
PLC sent Honya Mahdi to surgery in Turkey last December. She was born with a hole in between the bottom two chambers of her heart, known as a large ventricular septal defect (VSD). The patch-up was a relatively simple but urgent operation, if left alone she would have soon been inoperable. Today she is healthy and happy!
Though she is nearly two years old, Soziar Harmen still has not learned to walk. Heart defects stunt growth and development, largely due to a severe lack of oxygen to the brain. Soziar suffers from tricuspid atresia and a large ventricular septal defect (VSD), with severe artery stenosis.
Klash-maker, Kak Aram, is reflected in a mirror in his shoe store. Aram has worked with the Preemptive Love Coalition to sell handmade Kurdish shoes to fund heart surgeries for Iraqi kids for over a year. Aram is an invaluable asset to PLC as a shoemaker and an example of local solution to a growing problem.

Nvar Latif, 8, makes faces with her father while her brother looks off. Physical exhaustion from her 4-fold heart complication, Tetralogy of Fallot, forces Nvar to spend most of her day inside. The Preemptive Love Coaltion is funding her life-saving heart surgery in Istanbul this month, just in time for her 9th birthday.
-Lydia O’Neil Bullock