WAR STORY by Don Unrau


WAR STORY is a series of extended portraits of Vietnam veterans. I began working on these portraits in 1984, and completing them in 1989 while an artist in residence at Light Work, in Syracuse, New York. The portraits, with their handwritten sentences individualizes their emotions, giving viewers the possibility of increased understanding of the person photographed. The writings are also a way for me to articulate some the same feelings and emotions that I too have had as a Vietnam veteran. Often it took many weeks for their writings to be finished. After the writing was completed, I began photographing them for the portrait. Working in the darkroom, combining the writing with their portrait was a challenging process, but satisfied my wish to create a visual narrative of the war story form during this period of heightened discontent among many Vietnam veterans.

Click here to read an interview with Don about War Story on the Australian photography site, The Heavy Collective.

Artist Bio

Don Unrau (b.1950) has been making photographs for more than thirty-five years. Most of his work has been concerned with the Vietnam War and it's aftermath. His interest in photo books led him to produce, Spring Visits: Photographs From Vietnam, in 2009. Since that title, he has made two more books, Hanoi Street Work and The Revolutionary Moment. In 2014, he began work on WAR STORY. This fourth title is a hand-made, large format, limited edition book from work made in the 1980's. This title contains twenty, 16x20 inch, archival pigment prints of Vietnam veterans with the veteran's handwriting in the margin below. He continues working on new topics in the documentary form.