Iraq war veteran and U.S. Marine Tyler Ziegel, who was wounded in a bomb blast and overcame the most horrific injuries, died Christmas Day after slipping on ice in a parking lot of a local restaurant near his hometown in Illinois. He was 30 years old.
I photographed him in 2006 and 2008 and became friends with his mom, Becky. Some people find it too difficult to look at the pictures maybe because his facial injuries were so severe. I kept wanting to look at him. His strength, his odd and dark sense of humor, his lack of self-consciousnesses in front of a camera, and his determination to live a “normal” life was amazing and inspiring to me. My deepest sympathies in these sad days to the Ziegels and the many Marines, caregivers, relatives and friends who loved him.
Photo ©Nina Berman, 2oo8 “Ty on the land of his dreams”
All Rights Reserved
On this upcoming veterans day, images from Purple Hearts and Marine Wedding will be shown at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Exhibition titled: War/Photography:Images of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath opening November 11. If you are in Houston, please drop by and say hello. Many of the participating photographers will be present.
Purple Hearts is also being shown this month at:
5th European Month of Photography
Exhibiton: The Critical Camera exhibition
through November 17, 2013
Portland Art Museum
Exhibition: Flesh and Bone:Photography and the Body
through January 6, 2013
Portland, Oregon, USA
Honolulu Museum of Art
Exhibition: Courage and Strength
through February 24, 2013
Marine Wedding is also being shown at:
The John Michael Kohler Arts
Group Exhibition: the kids are all right
through January 20, 2013
For a full list of exhibitions, please visit: www.ninaberman.com
Photographs ©Nina Berman, All Rights Reserved
In October 2003, I met Sgt. Jeremy Feldbusch. He was an Army Ranger, 24 years old at the time. Three weeks into the war he was wounded in an artillery attack near the Haditha Dam. Metal sliced through his head and left him brain damaged and blind. “He sees nothing but darkness,” his mother said. Feldbusch had been the first in his class of 228 rangers. At one time in his life he wanted to be a doctor. Filmmaker Richard Hankin made Home Front about Jeremy and his family.
Two days after meeting Jeremy, I met Sam Ross, 21 years old, who was wounded in Baghdad during a mine clearing operation. Sam lost a leg, half his hearing, and his eyesight. He had shrapnel in his body, and a hole in his right hand. He was living in a trailer in southwestern PA. His mother was out of the picture. His father was incarcerated for murder. Years later, the New York Times, wrote about him. I think about Sam a lot. I’m hoping to see him soon as he just got out of prison.
Alan Jermaine Lewis, 23, lost both his legs when his humvee struck a mine. He was delivering ice to other soldiers at the time. He grew up with an intimate knowledge of violence. His father was killed in a robbery when he was seven. His sister and his best friend, a 6 year old boy, were both killed by stray bullets. I always thought Alan joined the Army to save his life. His dream when he returned was to become a middle school teacher. It didn’t happen for him.
Jose Martinez, 20, was injured in Karbala, three weeks into the war when his vehicle hit a mine and he was trapped in the explosion. He spent a year at Brooke Army Medical Center recovering from his burns. He said the injury was a revelation for him. He had always been a “pretty boy” and relied on his looks. But now he realized it was who you are and what you say that’s important. Some people might recognize Jose. He became a
Several exhibitions are on view this month to commemorate, critique and conjecture on the impact of September 11, 2001. I will show still photography and video in seven of them. For a complete list of exhibitions, visit here.
Dublin Contemporary, Dublin, Ireland, September 6
Gemak Museum, The Hague, The Netherlands, September 10
German American Center, Stuttgart, Germany, September 12
Auf AEG, Nuremberg, Germany, September 12
Silver Eye, Pittsburgh, USA, September 13
All photographs ©Nina Berman, All Rights Reserved