Entry Title: "The Unknown Soldier"
Name: David Jay , United States
Category and Expertise: Deeper Perspective, Professional
Entry Description: The Unknown Soldier is a series of large scale photographs of young and severely wounded soldiers returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Story: The Unknown Soldier is a series of large scale (approximately 5 ft across) photographs of our young and severely wounded soldiers returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During the years that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were raging, I knew then that I needed to address an often unseen consequence of our (all of our) actions. I began photographing “The Unknown Soldier” series. I photographed subjects across the country, in hospitals, (Brooke Army Medical Center and Walter Reed Medical Center among others) and in their homes, amongst their families, attempting to capture their life following their injury. The public is accustomed to seeing soldiers on TV running the marathon or swimming in the Paralympics. While this may be true, many of our wounded soldiers are not seen by the public, and are struggling just to get by. The Unknown Soldier highlights those men and women less “seen.”
Ultimately The Unknown Soldier is not about war. It is about many things. The images can be uncomfortable for the viewer. It forces us to confront our fears and inhibitions about life, death, sexuality, sickness, relationships, etc. Reality is not always pretty. This is reality. Let’s address it. The Unknown Soldier presents an opportunity to open a dialogue about issues we are not necessarily comfortable with . . . and also issues that we are responsible for.
I hope the images transcend the narrow and simplistic confines of "war" and encourage us to examine the way we engage each other - both friend and stranger - at its most basic, day to day level, as it is these subtle, seemingly innocuous interactions that will ultimately lead us either to peace . . . or to the continuum and carnage of war.