|Title||I Wouldn’t Wish War on My Worst Enemy|
|Artist / Creator||Jim Lommasson|
|Press Name||J.E.B. Press|
|Place of Publication||Portland, OR|
|Contributors||All photos contributed by the soldiers.|
|Process / Technique||Digitial archival pigment printing.|
|Number of Images||176 contributed photographs|
|Medium / Materials||Found ring binder, covered with archival pigment-prints|
|Paper Stock||Epson Ink Jet Paper|
|Number of Pages||24|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||13 x 9.5 x 1.5 inches|
|Signed & Numbered||Yes|
A collection of photographs by American soldiers upon their return from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. The book includes 176 photographs and quotations by the soldiers and their families. Also included is a tipped-in envelope with an essay by a mother of a twice-deployed Marine who said, “Mom, I wouldn’t wish war on my worst enemy.” The end papers are scans of the last Iraqi newspaper published while Saddam Hussein was in power. There are no photographs or writing by myself. Lommasson tells us, “I want this book to feel like it is its own thing, with no outside authorship. I would like an unsuspecting viewer to wonder where the book came from, almost as if it fell out of the sky. “The only credits are the names of the soldiers and family members after their quote. An excerpt from the essay by a mother of a twice-deployed Marine who said, “Mom, I wouldn’t wish war on my worst enemy.” "The steam has dissipated from my coffee cup as I strain to write this letter to the three of you. You don’t know me and one of you will never have an opportunity to read this letter but you have each left your mark upon my soul. Though I do not know your names you will recognize who you are and I speak to you woman to woman and mother to mother and mother to child. Our paths have crossed, tragically and we are connected now. This connection has provided me with certain details about your lives that I feel I have to share if only that some small light may be shed on dark places. There was a firefight in Baghdad, a 360 degree battle with the Marines taking fire from all around and overhead. You were there, not as a participant just a civilian and you are my first connection though I learned of you last. Training had the Marines firing back reflexively at anything that moved, vehicles, stray dogs a blur of a shirtsleeve. The Marine who fired upon your husband and two children was almost 100 yards away and he jerked his weapon up in horror at the end of the burst as he watched your family fall. You didn’t know but he watched you run out to your family. He saw you in your light blue wrap as you went from one body to the other. He tried to avert his eyes as you picked up your dead child and then the other and wailed in your grief. He tried to look away but that light blue color was always in his peripheral vision, pulling at him drawing him back.... None of you can welcome this connection but I feel it nonetheless. Taking your families from each of you has also lost my son to me for he will never be the same. To each of you, Assalamu alaikum, peace be upon you A Marine mom" Special Note: Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Returning Veterans Project, an organization that provides free counseling and other health services for returning veterans and their families; and Coffee Strong Coffee House, an organization that provides free counseling and other health services for returning veterans and their families.
Artist BioJim Lommasson is a freelance photographer and author living in Portland, Oregon. Lommasson received the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize from The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for his first book, Shadow Boxers: Sweat, Sacrifice & The Will To Survive In American Boxing Gyms. In 2009 Oregon State University Press published Lommasson's Oaks Park Pentimento: Portland's Lost and Found Carousel Art. He is currently working on a book and traveling exhibition about American Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and their lives after their return from war, called Exit Wounds: Soldiers' Stories - Life After Iraq and Afghanistan. Lommasson was awarded a Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) Project Grant for What We Carried, and is a 2012-2016 Oregon Humanities Conversation Grant Recipient for his public discussion "Life after War: Photography and Oral Histories of Coming Home."