Soldier Art Project sheds new light on veterans

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A local photographer's project is showing military veterans in a new light by combining images of the vets mirrored in uniform and civilian dress.

They are civilians now but their service is still reflected in who they are. The images show how military service affects entire families, how it can inspire faith and a new identity.

The Soldier Art Project is the work of Devin Mitchell, a photographer and college student studying sociology. His goal is to take 10,000 of these pictures.

"Though there is a lot of story to the images, there is a lot of history and emotion. I would rather and the veterans would rather let the picture itself send the message," Mitchell said.

Mitchell photographs the vets in front of a mirror wearing their civilian clothes. He also photographs them wearing their uniform. Then, Mitchell combines the images.

Taralyn Goldman participated in the project. She served in Iraq as a sergeant in the U.S. Army.

"It's really giving back to us veterans in allowing us a chance to actually speak out and show who we are," Goldman said.

Former Pfc. Jeremy Manning wanted his photo to show that he proudly served while hiding the fact he is gay.

"I am gay. When I was in the military, it wasn't OK," he said.

Paquita Hughes chose to show the medication she needs now, after serving in two branches of the military.

"When I tell people I'm a veteran, they're shocked," she said. "I'm a 10-year war veteran. I was Army. Then, I was Navy."

Mitchell says the veterans direct the images, and the messages are all theirs.

"I hope that I can use this photo series to inspire an understanding among the general population about who defends them," Mitchell said.

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