Nina Berman on her work: “Since October 2003, I have been making portraits of American soldiers who were severely wounded in the Iraq War. I seek them out in their hometowns after they have been discharged from military hospitals. I photograph them alone, mainly in their rooms, which feel still and heavy. I avoid the homecoming parades, the purple hearts ceremonies, the yellow ribbons and events with politicians. I want to see the soldier alone in a quiet space, as each confronts his or her sacrifice and considers the experience of war and life ahead as disabled veterans. Before I photograph, I interview them and record these interviews. When seen together, the words and images create a complex, sometimes contradictory portrait of the cost of war. Meeting so many disabled young men and women was deeply disturbing to me. I felt responsible because they had fought in my name and I felt the reality of my own privilege.
There is a curious divide between individuals who live the war each day – the soldiers and veterans, their families, the people of Iraq – and those for whom war is a distant incomprehensible abstraction. My intention with this work is to make that abstraction more intimately felt”.