Army Staff Sergeant Robert Spohr Jr. took this photo of a detonated improvised explosive device during his service in Iraq. Spohr was one of four veterans to display his photos during an exhibition Nov. 19 at the Breathing Room in Delmar.
Cook described the process of viewing photographs from a war as “surreal.”
“It has that really familiar feeling of looking at someone’s pictures, and a really foreign feeling of looking at a man in full combat gear standing in a field with flowers,” said Cook.
The hope for Cook is that the exhibit opened up another way of thinking regarding soldiers coming back from combat.
“There are a whole lot of people coming back from overseas who are desperate to find ways to fit back into the community and heal from what they’ve experienced,” Cook said.
Along with helping the soldiers to heal, the soldiers themselves were helping others by making the photographs available for purchase to those attending the exhibition. Half of all the proceeds from purchased pictures will be donated to the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and their Adopt A Family program. Through that program, families of soldiers currently serving in combat are chosen, and receive donations of gifts and clothing during the holidays.
It may seem like a clash of cultures to incorporate pictures of war and a yoga studio, but Cook said that alternative ways of healing might be gaining momentum.
“They’re trying their best to figure out how to make it work, how to deal with the trauma of what they’ve experienced. The traditional methods are working, but not working as well as everyone would hope,” Cook said.