Visualizing Memory, War
July 4, 2010 How do you photograph memory? It's a question that fine-art photographer Jennifer Karady is exploring. Her latest project visualizes not just any memory, but memories of war brought home by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. An exhibition of photos from her ongoing project, "Soldiers' Stories of Iraq and Afghanistan," is currently on display at SF CameraWork in San Francisco.
Karady is not a journalist; she's not a documentary photographer. She's a fine artist. And among many things, she's interested in "staged narrative tableau paintings," as she put it — images that are carefully composed and visually dramatic. Before 2004, her work had nothing to do with war. But in following the news from Iraq and Afghanistan, she became intrigued by the first-person narratives told by returning veterans — and thought her style of photography might be a way to tell those stories visually.
For veterans, though, they are not easy stories to tell. "Unless you’ve worn the boots," says Starlyn Lara, "you just don't understand the life." Lara's portrait is the last in Karady's series: She is bolt upright in bed — as if waking from a nightmare. The room around her is completely scorched. But she's fully clad in uniform, and a giant pink rabbit looms in the background. Continued
Photo's are at above but Read the rest of the soldiers' stories, as well as the photo's on Karady's website.