Giles Duley, a 47-year-old photographer, is no stranger to some of the world’s most desperate places. His work on the impact of war has taken him to Lebanon, South Sudan, Ukraine and Afghanistan, where in 2011 he lost both legs and his left arm after stepping on a landmine. But his experience in Mosul, Iraq, in the spring of 2017, covering the fallout of the military campaign to retake the city from Islamic State, was something else.
“I saw some of the worst things I’d ever seen in terms of war – just horrific things,” says Duley, shaking his head. “It was overwhelming and I came back in quite a dark place from that trip. It was shut the curtains, I don’t want to speak to anyone. And I just started cooking, I started making pasta and bread. I realised that was therapy for me, because when you’ve got those dark thoughts and you’ve seen children injured, you can put the television on or you can read a book, but you are still thinking about those things. You can’t get away from them. But I found cooking was the one time I did, because I think it’s the manual tasks: you are lost in that moment.