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Bedrooms of The Fallen

The link above leads you to the photographic project titled Bedrooms of The Fallen, which concentrates on veterans in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (of 2001- ) The photographer who shot this project, Ashley Gilbertson spent countless hours, time, and delicacy in engaging with these families to get as close of a representation of each veteran as possible.  After speaking about this with a friend earlier today, I revisited it.  Even though this is an ongoing project, the raw emotion and magnitude of such a project is immense.  Ashley could speak for hours on this project and he always made it a point to talk about how hard it was to photograph. For myself something like this is almost a Catch-22-like situation.  In some respects this is as emotionally and intellectually connected as you can get to these families- the countless trips to visit their homes, the family members, speaking with the family, bringing up old memories.  These are all things that need to be done before barging into such a tranquil and foreboding scene.  The level of respect between Ashley, the veterans’ families and the images is indescribable and as a photographer I can understand that after all the trips to these families and all the discussions, mementos, and the tears it’s even more difficult to raise your camera to something like this.  

In photography and journalism in general there are endless possibilities to the type of project you can work on.  Projects such as this one takes a very specific approach, and the greatest of these projects bypass the need, or the unavoidable obviousness of the photographer and serve as a subtle medium between you and the subject’s person.  To me, the great projects almost always cut out the middle man.