Time to introduce a new series that I begun this year and have been working (slowly) on completing. The generation that fought The Second World War is passing quickly. This series is my attempt to document those who remain with us in the first few decades of the 21st century. Their efforts, chosen or not, effected the entire 20th century including the geopolitical, cultural world I was born into. Often reflections of this generation choose to idealize war over the harsh realities of death, destruction, duty and determination. Many were boys who just wanted to live out their days peacefully but instead found themselves as part of a large war machine. Others were swept up in the tides of nationalism and charismatic leaders who promised to reshape the world. Regardless of where they approached the conflict from, they all agree that we should not idealize the act of war, that it is a brutal, though sometimes necessary, evil. So far I’ve photographed four men, one of which has already passed, another who wished nothing more than to follow (haunted by nightmares of the war, yet unable to remember what he had for breakfast that morning). An African American soldier who represented a country that discriminated him because of the color of his skin and finally a german professor who found himself fighting for the German Army, nearly killed several times escaping with his life to become a pacifist. This project is not about good v evil, them, v us, but rather it is about the people who unwittingly found themselves a part of this drama, presented as they are now. Not glorified in all the finery of the war machine, but rather, wearing their age. Its my hope that we can imagine what their eyes have seen, what role they played. I’ll leave my fully fleshed out statement and details of the pictured for later on. But for now I present you with some images.
Frank P. US Navy (d. 2013)
Armin M. Wehrmacht, Infantry (retired professor at Towson University)
Edward P. US Army Infantry (fought in the Battle of the Bulge)
Chester P US Navy