The Pulitzer panel of judges have finally announced their picks for this years photography award. I’ll just be focusing on the award for Feature Photography because a long series is harder to pull off in terms of maintaining quality across all the images and being able to communicate an evocative story.
This year the award was given to Craig F Walker for his series Welcome Home. He documents the return of veteran Brian Scott Ostrom from the war in iraq and the difficulties that he faces in returning back to his normal life, especially in the manifestation of personal trouble due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The entire set of images can be viewed at http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2011/12/special-project-welcome-home/26786/
This too ties in with the article by Nicholas Kristof from the New York Times about a veteran committing suicide every 80 minutes. It’s apparent that the issue of veterans returning from war is going to be a problem that will plague the US for many years to come.
Interestingly enough, Walker has won the prize just 2 years ago, for his series Ian Fisher : American Soldier. Also, I’m feeling rather proud that I saw Welcome Home before it won the pulitzer (just a small sidenote, perhaps my only highlight of the day). Do check out all the links! They’re well worth your time.
I recently stumbled across another intriguing project entitled Bedrooms of the Fallen by Ashley Gilbertson. Given my interest in war photography and war in general, I couldn’t help but follow the crumbs back to the original site.
The premise of the project looks promising, and the description goes as such
These bedrooms once belonged to men and women who died fighting in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These fallen men and women were blown up by IEDs, RPGs, hand grenades and suicide bombers. They were shot down in ambushes and by snipers. They died in helicopters, in humvees, and in tanks. It all took place thousands of miles away from home, and the country they fought to defend.
The purpose of this project is to honor these fallen – not simply as soldiers, marines, airmen and seamen, but as sons, daughters, sisters and brothers – and to remind us that before they fought, they lived, and they slept, just like us, at home.
I love the idea of the project and the photos that have been put up on the site look promising. The series covers casualties from both the Iraq and the Afghanistan Wars and I think it’s an important part in conserving the memories of those who fought in the war as well as presenting the consequences of the wars.
There was a Kickstarter page for the project (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ashleygilbertson/bedrooms-of-the-fallen) that was set up to raise funds for continuing the project and expanding it’s reach outside of the US alone. I’m quite sure that any contributions to the cause would be appreciated and would help Gilbertson expand his series. You can contact him and view the photos that he has taken so far at http://www.bedroomsofthefallen.com/
Also worth noting is that Gilbertson has published a book from his previous time in Iraq, entitled Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot (for those of us not so fluent in military speak, that corresponds to WTF) and can be bought from Amazon for $35.