War Zone Traumas, Restaged at Home


By Jessee McKinley New York Times

San Francisco – During her yearlong tour of duty in Iraq Maj. Elizabeth A. Condon saw all manner of horror and heartbreak, from dead bodies in the street and memorials for fallen friends to “little babies with holes in their backs.”

But it was a moment of tenderness, she said, that stuck with her most. It happened when she was helping to care for a young Iraqi woman, whose belly had been left ripped open and infected from an amateur cesarean.

“The eldest women in the room took my hand, and started kissing my cheek and then all the other adult women each came over and kissed my cheek too,” said Major Condon, now 43 and living in Loudonville, N.Y. “It was a very warm, wonderful, wonderful feeling. I don’t know if I saved the woman or whatever. But it was very, very emotional.”

Major Condon’s experience is one of 10 such moments — each drawn from an instance of high drama in a war zone — that have been given a surreal twist by the photographer Jennifer Karady for “In Country: Soldiers Stories From Iraq and Afghanistan,” an exhibition opening on Thursday at SF Camerawork, a downtown gallery here.

“In Country” is the result of five years’ work by Ms. Karady, who interviewed dozens of veterans and asked them to talk about their most traumatic war moments. She then overlaid those memories onto their present-day lives, in the suburbs, back at school and, in one case, on the streets.

Read more at New York Times


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