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August 22, 2010

Jeremy Lange: The War At Home

The first of several posts on Jeremy Lange’s War At Home:

Photographer Jeremy Lange wanted to be a Marine when he was seventeen years old, in the early nineties after the first Gulf War. He scored very high on all of the tests and was told by the recruiters that he could basically write his own ticket in the military. But with the final enlistment letter in his hands, he stood at the mailbox near his parents’ home for half an hour, and finally decided not to send it in. Like many young men, he relates, “I was attracted to the adventure and the excitement, but ultimately I knew that I would not do well under such authority, and while I was patriotic, I could not be so totally devoted to one cause.”

Living in Durham, North Carolina, near the military bases of Fort Bragg and Camp Lejune, and following the wars of our time in the newspapers, Jeremy realized he didn’t know a single person overseas or even a family with a soldier abroad. So he began to meet soldiers and their families and photograph as many aspects of their experience as he could.

He wrote me, “The military is truly a family apart these days with so small of a percentage of the population serving, that it is easy for people to think of it as a separate entity with nothing to do with them. This is part of the reason I started this project in the first place. But, the militarization of our culture is as prominent as it is separate. Quiet and loud at the same time.”

–Alan Chin

PHOTOGRAPHS by JEREMY LANGE

captions — (top) July 19, 2008. Georgia. A roadside tribute to an American soldier serving in Iraq.

(middle) December 02, 2008. Sanford, North Carolina. A deployment ceremony was held for Company D, 1/252nd Combined Arms Battalion of the North Carolina National Guard, part of the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, that shipped out to Iraq for the second time in April 2009. The NC National Guard sustained 10 KIA during the last deployment and this will be the first time the NCNG will be directly involved in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq.

(bottom) August 8, 2006. Aberdeen, North Carolina. Jill Jernigan, left, a childhood friend of Mr. Gray and Courtney Gray, Mr. Gray’s widow, console each other: A memorial service at Bethesda Cemetery was held for Brenton Gray, a former special forces soldier and private contractor killed in Iraq. The memorial was continued at a favorite bar of Mr. Gray in nearby Southern Pines.

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