Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
March 19, 2010

The Shrine Down the Hall

Ashley Gilbertson Soldiers Rooms.png

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I’ve been studying Ashley Gilbertson’s photos of the bedroom “shrines” of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. The NYT is featuring 19 of these images, the deceased soldiers — two women and seventeen men — having ranged in age from nineteen to twenty-five.

I’m interested in how you read this photo, the bedroom belonging to Brandon M. Craig who was killed by a roadside bomb in July 2007 at the age of twenty-five.

What stands out for me is how much the collection of photos speak of adolescence, most of the rooms displaying stuffed animals and children’s toys. I’m curious to know if you find these rooms typical, or if you think they offer a statement about the maturity of young people entering the military.

By the way, I specifically chose this photo because Brandon was the oldest of the group. Looking at the bedroom two images earlier of Wilfredo Perez, who was twenty-four, the bedspread and the “Junior” sign above the headboard also suggest someone younger.

NY Magazine slide show: The Shrine Down the Hall . Backstory via Lens Blog. Previous Ashley Gilbertson posts at BNN.

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