Jeffrey Wolin’s work is a collaboration of image and text; by combining these two elements the viewer can get a deeper sense of the individuals he documents through their personal experiences. He has two series based around the Vietnam War: one examining American stories and the other takes a look at the Vietnamese perspective. Most striking is the average appearance of all these people; their situations are horrific because of the circumstances they were placed in. These stories help us comprehend the reality of war from a specific point of view: "It was dust and junk all over everything. Everybody was covered with dust and sweat. And the bodies and the body parts, the meat, looked antique. Not fun. I never want to go through something like that ever again."
Neither side seems victorious in this context; each has gone through horrific events beyond their control. This violence is not desired by either side, each is a pawn within a larger scheme irrelevant to these individuals realities. The approval of murder could not ever merit justification from my perspective but that does not mean these people or nations should not be forgiven. It makes me reconsider anger towards those who commit acts of violence as well as what war might ever accomplish besides blind hatred.
See additional work from Jeffrey A. Wolin at his website
Text written by Cole Tracy