Soldier Billboard Project
Soldier Billboard Project [www.soldiersface.com]
Will we ever really know what affect living in war zones has on the young people who have gone through such extreme experiences and how it’s affected their lives? Artist Suzanne Opton has been photographing soldiers as they returned from tours of duty from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has made portraits of young men and women who have seen the unthinkable and have returned to Fort Drum in upstate New York to train for another tour of duty. Opton has put a face on these soldiers.
Forecast Public Art is among several arts organizations sponsoring the Soldier Billboard Project. Presented first in Denver during the Democratic National Convention (sponsored by MCA Denver) and then in Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota during the Republican National Convention (sponsored by Forecast), other cities hosting billboards include Houston (sponsored by DiverseWorks Artspace) and Atlanta (sponsored by Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art).
“I believe that by giving subjects a provocative position, and leaving them alone, they may reveal something of themselves and their experience. In this case it was an odd request, but I believe it resonated with these soldiers. I’ve been asked why anyone would want to be photographed in this position – as if they were dead. Although I don’t know the answer to that, I surmise that these soldiers went along with my request because it resonated with them. They must think about dying all the time. And aside from the fallen statue aspect, this is a very intimate view — like seeing someone opposite you with their head on the pillow.” - Suzanne Opton (www.suzanneopton.com)