One Person Crying: Women and War, is a 30-year, personal global photo essay that addresses the immediate and lingering effects of war on women. In an endeavor to reflect on war from what I consider to be an underreported perspective, the project brought me face to face with hundreds of women who endured and survived war and its ancillary experiences of loss, pain and unimaginable hardship. I traveled the world photographing, interviewing and writing down their histories, noting gestures and gruesome details, in order to document how war irrevocably changed their lives. Women are the touchstones for families and communities and are often relied upon to keep everything held together during a war or conflict. Often, there is no time for them to assess their own traumas afterwards, let alone speak of them in order to process the experience. I was compelled to put faces and give voices to the other side of war, with no judgment as to which war was worse for its victims. There is no blood or any guns in the images, just the record of lives lived with a never-ending post-war backdrop.

The consequences of war for women in countries, cultures and communities that are directly affected by it, have often been overlooked. My main hope for this project is to show that war doesn’t discriminate how it metes out pain or suffering, that women are basically the same everywhere in how they endure war and live with its aftermath into their post-war lives. I also hope that this project inspires dialog and activism, in order to bring on-the-ground psychological and social support to these war-impacted women.

Addressing this subject started in response to immediate political and social events that I covered as a photojournalist starting in the late 1980’s. After 10 years, I formalized it into a documentary project and continued it from that perspective. In 2009, it was during a trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, that I fully understood the deeper motivation for this work. My parents were Holocaust refugees and my paternal grandparents, and great-grandmother were killed in a 1942 massacre in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. On the final day of that trip, I found my grandparents’ former home, and also found their names on a memorial plaque by the Danube River, dedicated to the numerous massacre victims. It felt like I had found them for the first time.

In March/April of 2012, I went to Vietnam for the first time, in order to finally conclude the arc of the project. The war in Vietnam was my coming-of-age war and greatly influenced my formative years, not only as a person and activist, but also as a photographer.

 

Exhibitions

“One Person Crying: Women and War”
Venice Arts, Venice, CA
January 15– March 12, 2015

“One Person Crying: Women and War”
The High Ground, Wisconsin Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Park, Niellsville, WI
June 1 – July 30, 2014

“One Person Crying: Women and War”
Centre de la Mémoire, Oradour-sur-Glane, France
June 22 – April 30, 2014

“One Person Crying: Women and War”
Willy-Brandt-Haus, Berlin, Germany
March 8 – April 3, 2013

“One Person Crying: Women and War”
Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, CA
August 16 – December 10, 2012

“Srebrenica: Then is Now” 15 Years After the Massacre
Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, CA
July 9 – August 31, 2010