Nick Ut’s photograph of Kim Phúc fleeing a napalm attack in Vietnam. The amateur images by American soldiers of advanced interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib: Both spell out the obvious, which is that war is hell. But on arriving in Baghdad in 2003, Phil Nesmith found that war is, on the whole, a pretty rote business most of the time. Nesmith set about to illustrate the dignity of the dull moment in a war zone; what he captures, perhaps inadvertently, is a deeply romanticized portrait of the American occupation. Though Nesmith shot digitally, he chose to print his work using an antiquated ferrotype technique not much seen since the Civil War. If only he were using this process to make a political point—instead, his photographs of lonely soldiers standing on empty Baghdad streets offer feel-good fetishism worthy of a neocon’s wet dream. Nevertheless, Nesmith’s compositions are not without nuance. Baghdad looks restored to elegance through his filter, and an ambrotype of an Apache battle helicopter offers a striking, almost surreal juxtaposition of modern sleek and dusty vernacular. “My Baghdad” is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, to Saturday, Feb. 16, at Irvine Contemporary, 1412 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 332-8767.