Do you know who the veterans are in your community? Most veterans just melt back into society without any fanfare. Most service members just go back to everyday life. According to the Department of Defense, women make up approximately 14 percent of the armed forces, making them almost invisible when they return to the private sector.
This project honors and celebrates women service members and the various identities they hold. Utilizing my professional experience within the veterans' community and my skills as a photographer, I worked with women service members, documenting their lives while in the service to their current-day accomplishments. I met with them, established relationships, and shared fellowship with them. I interviewed and photographed them in their homes or places of work. Often people would hold assumptions about what a veteran looks like. As a Marine Corps veteran, people would see the military emblem on my vehicle or clothing and would say “Please thank your husband for his service.” Yet, when I correct them, they say, “You don’t look like a Marine.” Realizing that other women have experienced the same treatment, fueled my desire to document and bring their stories to life. Through this work, it is my goal to challenge society to see through their perceptions of what a women veteran looks like and does. The following is from an article I wrote over a decade ago, but still holds true:
“As you walk down the streets of your town every day, you see her there – a woman who is a business manager, health care worker, or any number of other skilled professionals. You think that she probably is someone's mother, daughter, sister, or girlfriend, and you would be right. But what you probably do not realize is that she also is, or has been, someone's commanding officer, wingman, heavy equipment operator, or supply clerk. She is a woman veteran.”