We’re running a series on our website over the next couple of months, entitled “When Janey Comes Marching Home Again,” featuring photographs and recorded interviews with female veterans of the Iraq War. Creator Laura Browder and photographer Sascha Pflaeging have a total of forty paired photographs and interviews, of which we’ll be featuring a dozen online, and some in our Fall 2008 issue. In the introduction to the collection, Browder writes:
The first time I heard a woman describe her time in Iraq in glowing terms, I was taken aback. Marine Colonel Jenny Holbert told me that being in charge of public affairs for the second battle of Fallujah was “probably one of the biggest events of my life, other than birthing two children.” Colonel Holbert’s enthusiasm for deployment was only one of many surprises I encountered over the course of conducting forty-six interviews with women soldiers, sailors, and marines across the eastern seaboard.
Though male soldiers have long been the subjects of documentary photographs and oral history interviews, it is rare that women have had a chance to relate their experience of combat. If we listen to them, these women—these mothers and wives, these soldiers and veterans—will unsettle our fixed ideas about Americans at war and add dimension to the often flawed or fragmentary pop culture depictions of women in the military: as novelties, but not as real soldiers.
You can listen to the first five in the series now, and keep an eye on that page, where we’ll be adding new interviews weekly.