One photographer had documented locations that many may not even know exist — fictitious Iraqi and Afghan villages on the training grounds of U.S. Army bases that are quietly tucked away in forests and deserts.
Christopher Sims has many professional titles under his belt: photographer, photo archivist, undergraduate Education Director, and Associate Professor.
Prior to learning about pretend villages, Sims was taking part in editorial coverage of Fort Bragg, a military facility in Fayetteville, North Carolina. During one such visit, a young U.S. Army private told Sims that there is a more compelling site to capture and took him to visit a fictitious village for the first time.
Situated in the deep forests of North Carolina and Louisiana as well as in the great expanse of desert near Death Valley in California, these villages — built as clusters — are spread out over thousands of acres. These villages are referred to by as existing in the pretend countries of Talatha, Braggistan, or “Iraq” — the latter likely accompanied by air quotes and a knowing look.