Devin Mitchell, a student at ASU, brings another to perspective to a group we too often describe with broad strokes. His Veteran Art Project, which involves combining photos of the military in and out of uniform, comes across as surprisingly genuine and poignant. He’s started getting coverage (links at bottom); I’m happy to quickly profile the project here.
I have a lot of issues with how we view members of the military. Generally, we tend to see veterans in two different ways: a strong, upstanding member of society of loyal to family and country, or a broken and dangerous person in need of years of help and therapy. In either, case, we shake hands, offer thanks, buy drinks and build a story out of nothing more than a uniform and patch. In short, we build our own narrative and expectations around this individual, instead of listening to what they might actually have to say.
That’s what I think is great about this project—Mitchell has found a way of honoring military members for their service while also creating room for their individual stories. While I think the project is innovative and honest, I was afraid the trope would grow old. However, as Mitchell adds images, I’ve found exactly the opposite–I don’t mind that they’re all staged in very similar fashion; I care much more about the story of the subject coming through.
Read some about the project here:
Follow the Veteran Art Project on Instagram.