Baghdad, Baghdād, Iraq

Saddam Hussein's Palace

Richard Mosse took photographs of Saddam Hussein's palaces after they had been occupied by American forces. These strange photos depicted gaudy excess, contrasted with soldiers lifting weights, erecting cubicles, and hanging photos of bikini-clad women -- and all the glitz and glamour turned out to be thin as pasteboard. In an interview with BLDG Blog he said:

"Al-Faw Palace is a fabulous monument to rushed construction, poor materials, and gaudy pomp. Saddam had apparently insisted that the palace be finished within two years, so many shortcuts were taken during construction. For example, the stairway banisters were made of crystallized gypsum—rather than carved marble—and where pieces didn't quite fit together, they were just sanded down rather than replaced."

The "crystal chandelier" in this photo was made of plastic.

Saddam Hussein's Palace