Artist: Mary Schaubschlager
Veteran: Paul R., US ARMY
I was lucky enough to meet Paul in person for our conversation. Even after completing the project it is a struggle to isolate the qualities that struck me most about our encounter and his story. His ability to share, eagerness to be challenged, and most of all his honest and constant introspection all fit so poetically into his role as a diver. His nature demands exploration. His profound self-reliance echoes the isolation of a scuba suit: ambitions and desires are contained within a character, as a character is contained within a diver's mask. Paul spoke of navigating underwater wrecks. One could memorize the maps of the structures to be salvaged or surveyed, but once inside the space would most likely be disorienting. His responsibility to enter and explore these sunken vessels also mirror his personal determination to understand himself and his role within larger schemes. Paul willfully holds familiarities on their sides to challenge his understanding of them. This is perhaps, to me, his most inspiring quality that I hope to reflect in the future.
Artist: Nicole Shaver
Veteran: Russell W., US ARMY
Russell W. was a Vietnamese linguist for two years (1960-1971) in the army and was stationed just south of the DMZ at Quang Tri. At a very integral post of intercepting code and translating, Russell spent 12 hours a day in a 30 x 30ft room, described as his own cocoon where time existed only as a measure of record. His money earned was spent on Coca Cola and cigarettes in a foreign country of which he didn’t see much. He recalls living in what seemed like a Wild West town, having “Mud up to your knees, dust up to your ankles,” and everything in the army was green.
Artist: Tyler Green
Veteran: Josephine D., USMC
Josephine was a pleasure to talk to. While our conversation kept coming back to her time as a secretary in the Marines, we often went on tangents, sharing details of each other’s lives. We talked about our dogs. She has a golden collie, which she says is her best companion. He always seems to listen and understand what she says. That stuck with me, and I decided to set the focal point of the image around that relationship. Josephine as a collie herself conversing with her dog, talking of those days long past. They sit in a cottage on a beach, with memories of her time in the Marines all around them. A couple in the distance runs joyfully, as did Josephine and her husband on vacation during their service. A golden retriever lies on a wounded man to keep him warm. Josephine remembered they were trained to do this, and admired them for that.
A plane falls smoking from the sky, talking about how Josephine felt far from danger. And about how her mother was worried about her joining because a relative had died in the service. When I asked Josephine what the difference was between her now, and when she was in the Marines, she replied that she is much warier of the world. To represent that I put, instead of a step outside the cottage door, a small waterfall.
I'd like to thank Josephine for sharing her story with me, and I feel honored to be able to tell some of it.
Goodfellow Barber to the Generale: Remember, Peace is Our Profession
Artist: Stacy Elko
Veteran: Mark A., USAF
Artist: Jennie Neuse
Veteran: Winslow S., US NAVY