Photograph collection comes to art gallery
Art Adventure Gallery is opening a new exhibit, a collection of photographs compiled by Jim Lommasson entitled "Exit Wounds: Soldiers' Stories – Life After Iraq and Afghanistan."
The exhibit is a series of submitted photographs that paint the picture of the lives of those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Jim Lommasson is a photographer in Portland," said Coralee Popp, the gallery's director. She said she saw the show back in 2008 and since has seen another by Lommasson in 2015 called "What We Carried."
"(The project) started out there were over 2,000 photographs submitted anonymously, and then he began to interview the veterans and take statements from them once they began to trust him," she said.
The interviews, along with photographs, were compiled into a book of the same name that tells the stories of these people.
"I was just sitting there thinking about 'OK, what are we going to do for February?'" she said, describing how she ended up getting the exhibit to come to Madras.
"The war is still going on and the percentage of people who know someone who is fighting or who have been over there has gone down from 100% to like 1%, I think," she said.
However, Popp said, "When we were fighting in Vietnam, it's like everybody knew somebody."
"We don't hear from the soldiers (anymore)," she said.
Popp said that Lommasson is clear about the intention of the show. "It's not a political statement. It's not about art. It's about hearing from the people who represent us in this war and what their experiences are so that we can know."
While it is still uncertain if Lommasson will be in town for the opening, because of weather and travel concerns, it was important to Popp to bring the show in anyway.
"I know there's a lot of veterans here," mentioning her personal experience speaking to the VFW about her own experience when her husband was missing in Vietnam.
"I read somewhere that a veteran said, 'The worst thing you can say to a veteran is thank you for your service.' They want more than that. They want us to understand and appreciate, and I don't think we are given that opportunity, so I would like to bring that opportunity," she said.
The reception for the show runs from 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 6 at Art Adventure Gallery, 185 SW Fifth St. The book will be available for sale while the exhibit is up throughout the month of February.
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