Mural left behind in Camp Buehring by an unknown engineering unit (2019 photo by Eric Strand)
Camp Buehring is a long way from Minnesota. Grafted onto the middle of the Kuwaiti desert, the base heats up to 125 degrees or more in the dry season and gets drenched by six-inch floodwaters in the rainy season. For Sgt. Eric Strand, a former finance soldier with the Minnesota National Guard, it was also a boring place to spend a deployment — until he took a long hard look at the twelve-foot high concrete walls surrounding him.
The walls, called Texas barriers or T-walls, are resistant to rocket and mortar attacks, making them a ubiquitous protective feature on the U.S. military bases that have sprung up around the world as part of the Global War on Terror. T-walls also make for great canvases, as evidenced by the countless service members who have painted vivid murals on the barriers in the years since the Global War on Terror began.
By Veterans' Day this November, former combat photographer Stacy Pearsall will have traveled to all 50 states, snapping stark black-and-white portraits of more than 7,500 military veterans.
Despite the care she takes composing each shot, correcting the lighting and cajoling her subjects to engage with the camera, the photos aren't the main thing. The main thing, for her, is the chance to connect with fellow veterans.
According to the retired Air Force staff sergeant, her "Veterans Portrait Project" began as a sort of self-styled therapy as she recovered from a neck injury and head trauma that resulted from a roadside bomb blast in Iraq in 2007. She said it remains a balm for the physical and emotional aftermath of her experience.
Serving in the Indian military is an adventure, even if you end up working in the chow hall. Earlier this week, a video surfaced of an elephant wandering through the dining facility, much to the chagrin of the local troops.
Photographer Inbal Abergil remembers her confusion the first time a friend invited her to the beach for Memorial Day, shortly after she immigrated to the U.S. in 2009. “I said, ‘But we’ll be going to ceremonies right? To pay our respects?’”
“He’s either going down as the best president ever, or the worst president ever,” the artist Jon McNaughton was saying in mid April over a breakfast of buttermilk pancakes at a cafe in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Danny Shervin was in college, drinking and playing with gunpowder as he and his friends tried to make miniature rockets and explosives, when a bunch of the incendiary grains spilled on their linoleum kitchen table.