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April 25, 2010

Ashley Gilbertson: Bedrooms of the Fallen

For the past three years photojournalist Ashley Gilbertson has been exploring the bedrooms left behind by U.S. soldiers who won’t ever return. In his recent work, entitled Bedrooms of the Fallen, Gilbertson visited with 19 parents who have kept the rooms intact. “To me this is not just a space in family homes, this is a space in our society,” said Gilberston. After eight years of covering the war, I set about to document its aftermath. He spent much time at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D. C.  Gilbertson’s wife, Joanna, soon suggested that he photograph the bedrooms.

Since 2003, when U.S. troops invaded Iraq, news outlets have told countless stories about the battlefield. “It’s very, very hard to present to a fatigued audience an old story and expect them to be able to connect to those images, ” said Gilbertson.

By taking us into the homes and intimate spaces of fallen soldiers we get a glimpse into their personal lives. “We as adults have entire homes or apartments that we can fill with things that we love,” Gilbertson comments, “but our children have one room, they have their bedroom.”

-Sandra Roa

See also:

Website: Bedrooms of the Fallen + Ashley Gilberston interview with VII The Magazine.

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About the Photographer

Ashley Gilbertson

Ashley Gilbertson is a photographer with the VII photo agency, and a principal at Shell Shock Pictures. Gilbertson's photographs from Iraq where he worked from 2002 until 2008, gained him recognition from the Overseas Press Club who awarded Gilbertson the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal. His first book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, was released in 2007. Since then, Gilbertson has been examining veterans issues including Post Traumatic Stress and suicide for Time Magazine, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Times. In 2007, he began working on Bedrooms Of The Fallen, a collection of photographs depicting the intact bedrooms of service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. That series was published by The New York Times Magazine, and went on to win the documentary photography National Magazine Award. It will be published in book form in 2012. He lives with his wife and child in New York City. See more of Ashley's work for BagNews here.

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