Jaeson “Doc” Parsons is a veteran too. Like other veterans, he recognized the discontinuity that exists between veterans and the civilian population that vastly outnumbers them. Returning from Iraq in 2007, Parsons nurtured an idea that had been forming for a while. This idea has been transformed into The Graffiti of War Foundation and its picture project.
Recognizing the ever growing space between civilian and veteran is the foundation of this project. The Graffiti of War aims to bring the reality of war to the civilian populace that remains here on American soil, in comfort and safety. This isn’t the “reality” that is shown on CNN or other news, those show the war, for sure, but they often leave out the most vital part. A war affects the soldiers fighting it in many ways more than the physical wounds. Fighting a war is a psychological feat, one which no one can escape. It is that reality, the mental one, the emotional one, which is showcased by the Graffiti of War.
The end goal of this project is to publish a book of photographs which encompasses all aspects of the war and its effects on the soldiers via their art. Art doesn’t have to be a pretty watercolor done in a studio, it can be the simplest form of spray painting to a sidewalk chalk drawing, to a message written on anything and everything found in a war zone, or a handmade sign tacked onto a barbed wire fence. These are pictures taken by soldiers, of their art, or any they’ve seen, that tells just a little bit more of the story. Maybe after gaining a little more understanding, those who have never gone to war, those who have stayed in safety, those who haven’t tried to empathize, will be able to relate better to those that have. These pictures, and the graffiti in them, are an outlet, expressing all ranges of emotion, and in the best of cases, offering some healing in the process.
If you have photos that would contribute to this project, there are very few guidelines, as Parsons says, “war is never PG-13 rated, and neither will be the book.” Images that degrade another person, such as a spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend, will not be used. While pictures that contain profanity won’t be used as promotional pictures online, they will be used in the book. Generally, the profanity must serve a purpose to the overall understanding of the picture. Additionally, blurry or unreadable pictures are not as effective and will not be used.
Photos can be submitted in a few different ways.
Submitting a photo releases all rights to its use to the Graffiti of War Foundation, so please do not send any copyrighted photos.
In an effort to create the most complete picture possible, The Graffiti of War Foundation is spending the summer in Iraq and Kuwait. While there, the team from the Foundation will take photos of art by the troops and locals, in addition to interviewing troops, and documenting the entire expedition with video and blog.
Parsons is hopeful to have a finished product by the Christmas season 2011, but that is still very tentative. It is possible to pre-order the book by sending an email to email@example.com.
More can be read about The Graffiti of War Foundation and their project at their website. Additionally, the summer expedition will be followed by Maxim magazine, and documented on a special military tab on the Maxim website, created especially in support of The Graffiti of War, and communication it is opening up between civilians and veterans.
Photo provided by The Graffiti of War Foundation.