Most times, the Breathing Room Wellness Studio in Delmar is an open space, a haven for yoga lovers.
But on Saturday, Nov. 19, the studio was filled with the photographs of four veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The photographs captured some of their perspectives on their time in the military without depicting graphic scenes from the wars in both countries.
Breathing Room co-owner Mikko Cook said the decision to host the exhibition was a personal one,
“One of the things that Breathing Room is about is trying to help people find new alternative ways to bring awareness and healing into their lives,” said Cook. “As a result, and this is because of experience in our own lives, that we found that these things were very helpful for us.”
The link was made through the director of the studio’s yoga program, whose husband, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Spohr Jr., showed his photographs at the event.
“We are always looking for ways to just bring awareness to their experiences, and ways that they can communicate their experience,” said Cook. “Because, just standing there and talking to somebody about what you’ve experienced in combat is not an opportunity that arises every day.”
Spohr, Sgt. Nicholas George, Sgt. Sean Baxter, and Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Williams, who all displayed their photos at the event, all have ties to the Capital District. Each man served in Iraq, and Baxter served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Both Baxter and George have served two tours of duty in the Army.
Stirring images at the exhibition included some of the most frightening sights that could be captured – the explosion of an improvised explosive device, or IED, from afar – and some that had a sense of simplicity, such as a picture of two army vehicles with soldiers inside, with a fading sunset and trees in the background,