Create: Vantage Point, Personal Projects by Veterans

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I never served. Let me get that out right up front. I find the military, and often how it is viewed, to be one of the pecularities of our time. I hear a lot of people expressing a lot of opinions about things they could have no understanding of without having SOME inclination as to what it would be like to serve. To give away your personal freedom to become part of something greater for a reason you may or may not understand. Looking at “forever wars,” like Iraq and Afghanistan is impossible without looking through the eyes of those who went. Throw in the rest of our conflicts, over 40,000 since the origin of our species, and you have a lot of folks falling in under the label of veteran.

I also find how we treat veterans to be peculiar. For many of us, it’s the airport. “Service members can now board,” and that’s about it. “Thank you for your service.” While others mumble under their breath. The Colorado Photographic Arts Center has something called “The Veteran’s Workshop Series,” from which they produce the magazine you see here.

Here is the brief:

Launched by CPAC and our partners in 2017, the Veterans Workshop Series provides advanced photographic education to Denver-area military Veterans, free of charge.

Over 5 months of workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions, participants learn to refine technical skills, hone ideas into a body of work, create a portfolio, write about their work, and present their projects to the community in a public exhibition at CPAC’s gallery.

The program includes training in digital editing software; composition, lighting, and design; marketing; portfolio development; preparing for an exhibition; and much more. Courses are taught by established artists and leaders in Denver’s photography community. The program was developed in partnership with local veteran-led organizations including Art of War Project and Task Force ISO.

Over the past two years I’ve gotten to know some veterans and through these folks I have learned about the struggles of many more. What CPAC is doing is commendable, and in my humble opinion, is the tip of the iceberg of what should be done nationwide. They went. If you are looking to get involved then start here.

Comments 13

  1. Hey Dano,

    Thank you for writing this and pointing out a program that is actually doing something with action versus just platitudes. Well done to the organizers for providing tangible skills and assistance to veterans. As you say, this is the tip of the iceberg for what should be happening for the women and men who serve. Many of them would never ask. And many of them would have no expectation of anything special being given to them. They would say that they were just doing their job. But it is still nice to see something being done that will allow a few to follow their passion and perhaps benefit.

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  2. Hi Dan,

    I agree with you…understanding those who have served is difficult for those who haven’t. Not adequately recognising the commitments and sacrifices cannot be faulted, as the unimaginable dedication service personnel and veterans dedicate their lives to is beyond what is common amongst today’s society. Police officers, fire fighters, EMTs come close though.
    And of course, none of those would dare to ask, as it is felt that veterans are already too much of a burden on communities already.
    They have stood up, stepped forward to be counted…in oder to represent those who cannot or will not do what is necessary for everyone.

    I have served for 23 years with multiple tours in those never ending wars you mentioned. I am lucky. I never had to engage in battle. I did my duty to support those who had to. However, you don’t have to thank me for my service. It doesn’t help those who need it. Go support the CPAC, help a homeless veteran who fell off the edge of society through mental illness. Support a struggling family after a serving member has lost limbs and can’t find a job. That will do far more good than a few words when forced through peer pressure.
    We don’t need a pat on the back. Our superiors already did that when we completed the job and came back home.

    The veterans workshop series is a really great project and there are many more of that kind. It makes a real difference. Thank you for sharing.

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      Wow. I just watched a video clip of the NM State Trooper getting killed a month ago. Executed basically. It was one of the most cold things I’ve seen. So yes, the folks who need help expand out from the military, seemingly more and more. Twenty-three years. That is something.

  3. Sounds like a great project. That is a lot of photography education. I imagine the veterans create incredible work. (Your post touches on things broader than the photo course. I served. I wasn’t very good at it, that’s for sure. Very much enjoyed the camaraderie, and I worked with some fantastic people. I also never questioned the foreign policy our corrupt elected officials were pursuing. Foreign policy we as taxpayers and voters were pursuing. Forever Wars – no quotes for me. Change the name to Department of War and reinstate the draft – might be the only way to prevent the military industrial complex, chicken hawks, and neocons from getting us involved in more unnecessary wars. But probably not – we kinda dig them. In the last 50 years, who can compete with us in terms of wars, invasions, and war budgets?)

    1. I wish I could edit my comment. The post was about inspiring work by CPAC and veterans. I shouldn’t have veered into politics. I get a little upset about our foreign policy.

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    3. Scott, yeah, happy memorial day…always makes me think of George Carlin and his bit on war and bombing “brown people”…these guys were duped into a traumatic experience not of their choosing for fraudulent reasons….

      “…I don’t really believe in my country and I gotta tell you folks, I don’t get all choked up about yellow ribbons and American flags. I consider them to be symbols and I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.” George Carlin

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      As Hunter Thompson said “War is good business.” Look, all of this is so complex, so connected and it gets more complicated and connected on a year basis. Not sure what the answer is.

  4. Pingback: JSP Visual Week In Review ~ 05.29.21 | JerseyStyle Photography

  5. Looks like a great program. Vets have a great perspective and I’m glad they are getting a chance to share it. I’ve always thought photography can be therapeutic. If vets need it, I’m hoping this program provides it.

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