Charles Arnold Lecture Series: Jennifer Karady
In conjunction with its Charles Arnold Lecture Series, the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences welcomes critically acclaimed photographer Jennifer Karady to campus to discuss her photographic work and career on Tuesday, May 1st at 5 p.m. in Carlson Auditorium (76-1125) in the Center for Imaging Science.
Ms. Karady has received recognition for her photographic work involving American veterans from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the past five years, she has engaged American veterans, depicting their individual war stories in large-scale, staged narratives. An extensive interview process with individual veterans initiates each photograph, followed by a collaboration in which the veteran reenacts a chosen moment from their war experience within the safe space of his/her everyday environment, often surrounded by family and friends. Each color photograph is accompanied by a recounting of the veteran's story in his/her own words that has been transcribed and edited from the interviews. The photographer’s process is conceptually inspired by a form of therapy and is intended to be helpful to the veteran. In a 2010 review in Frieze magazine, critic Aimee Le Duc stated, “The work breaks open not only the way we have been consuming the war, but how an individual constructs traumatic events as a survival mechanism.”
Based in Brooklyn, Jennifer Karady received her BA in Literature and Society from Brown University and her MFA from Rutgers University. Her critically recognized series Soldiers' Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan has been exhibited at SF
Camerawork in San Francisco; Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver; and CEPA Gallery in Buffalo. The project was also featured in The New York Times and on National Public Radio. Ms. Karady’s images are in the permanent photography collections at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Albright Knox Gallery, to name just two.
The following text accompanies attached image: Jose Adames, 2009
I got hit by a mortar while on a convoy, which was not a typical mission for us. Three pieces of shrapnel went through my leg. It pretty much swept me sideways and I was knocked out cold. I was immediately Helivaced over to Baghdad Hospital, from there to Frankfurt, Germany. Eighteen Marines in my platoon were wounded. When I heard the stat reports a couple of weeks later, I found out we were hit by 40 mortars and 2 machine gun assaults. It was in a canyon so there was no way to go forward or back. When mortars are coming in, it's pretty much hard to cover yourself from that. That's the scariest thing I've ever been through. That's the bad part, I'll never forget it.
I am terrified of trucks, garbage trucks in particular, and it has to do with the fact that New York has so many potholes. When they hit one they make this deep echoing sound that sounds similar to a mortar exploding. I see a dump truck rolling down the street and I just try to go to the other end as fast as possible. I black out, not in a bad way. I just tune out. Everything gets dark and these images keep fluttering through my mind of the night we got hit. It just replays in my mind.
When I returned I was homeless for a total of 5 months. I spent 2 months in a shelter and I couldn't take it. It was just this thin line of frustration and then my PTSD wasn't helping. So I really needed to come up with other ideas. I was stuck in a vicious circle from boarding house to a shelter at Bellvue. It was ridiculous what they did to me. I had a better chance sleeping on the A train. I felt more comfortable, actually. In New York, 85% of the homeless are veterans. I see a lot of veterans feeling very, very angry.
Jose Adames works with homeless veterans at Black Veterans for Social Justice in Brooklyn, NY and is studying accounting at Long Island University.
Text was condensed and edited from interviews conducted by Jennifer Karady in October 2008.