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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943



veteranvision3

Veteran Vision Project Photographer to Capture Images of Local Service Members and Veterans

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Aug.11, 2015) – His work featured in galleries and as a subject for national media, Los Angeles photographer Devin Mitchell captures through the Veteran Vision Project unique, double-sided visual stories of men and women who have served in the military. He will bring his work to the University of Central Missouri for public exhibition early this fall while also dedicating his time to photograph veterans and active duty service members from UCM and surrounding communities.

Veteran Vision

UCM’s Office of Military and Veteran Services and the UCM Gallery of Art & Design are collaborating to make this opportunity possible. The public exhibition of the Veteran Vision Project is planned for Sept. 24 to
Oct. 24 at the Gallery. It is in conjunction with the one-day UCM Veterans Summit Friday, Oct. 9, in the ballroom of the Elliott Student Union. Both the Gallery exhibit and the Summit are free and open to the public.

Prior to exhibiting the Veteran Vision Project at UCM, Mitchell will visit Warrensburg Sept. 18-20 to capture photos of veterans and active duty service members that will be included in the public display, according Delilah Nichols, coordinator of Military and Veteran Services. She encourages campus and other area veterans to participate. She noted that “often a photograph provides an opportunity to tell a story, one that may be otherwise too difficult for an individual to verbalize.”

 To be considered for participation, service members and veterans must pre-register by Sept. 6 at veteranvisionproject.com/register. Eligibility criteria include the following: the participating veteran must fit into their service uniform; veterans may take their civilian photo with facial hair, however, they must be clean shaven in uniform for the reflection photo; veteran must present DD-214 and photo ID at time of photo shoot. All veterans are encouraged to participate, regardless of age.

Mitchell’s technique enables people viewing his images to look beyond the military uniform to see the “human” side of people who serve in military roles. In one of his works, for example, he took a portrait of a former Marine in uniform, and a second photo of the same soldier as he appears in civilian life, now with prosthetic limbs. Then, using a photo editing system, he fused the two portraits into a mirror image showing the two intently staring back at each other. The end result is a powerful reflection of the double identity this veteran is facing after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and the struggle he now faces as a civilian to overcome the scars of war. 

Mitchell lets the subject of his photos decide what uniform they want to wear and what they want the other reflection to be, which is important in this visual storytelling project.  

“The only way to get the truth from anyone is to allow them to create what their story is,” Mitchell told CBS News in a feature that aired in February 2015. 

Many of Mitchell’s images are a way for veterans to share their stories with other veterans. His subjects range from LGBT members and single mothers in the military to veterans dealing with issues such as divorce and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They showcase the fight these individuals endure for their country and the battle for maintaining their true selves.

Mitchell believes that soldiers’ transition from military to personal life boils down to three issues: diversity, adversity, and triumph. His goal is to capture 10,000 images from around the country, continuing to juxtapose the
at-home experiences of soldiers to their lives in service. Funding from the university’s Oppenheimer Lecture Fund through the UCM Foundation is helping to make Mitchell’s visit possible.

Although Mitchell is not expected to attend the Veterans Summit, he will pre-record a lecture about the healing process experienced by veterans participating in the Veteran Vision Project. It will be played during tours of the exhibition in the Gallery of Art & Design, and shared during the Summit.

The Veterans Summit begins at 8:45 a.m. Friday, Oct. 9, and will consider reintegration, refocus, and resiliency issues and needs concerning military service members and veterans. It will feature a keynote address by Ron Pierce, senior director of PBS Veteran Initiative, PBS, followed by a panel discussion. Participants include Pierce; Larry Kay, executive director, and Doug Meyer, director of veteran services programs for the Missouri Veterans Commission, and Yulonda Swanson-Moten, family therapist with the Kansas City VA Hospital. Also joining them is Seth Kastle, a combat veteran, author and professor of leadership studies at Fort Hayes State University, Fort Hayes, Kan., who wrote the book, “Why is Dad So Mad.” A Military and Veterans Resource Fair will be available, along with informational tables and mobile units from the Kansas City Veterans Center and the Kansas City VA Hospital. Military and veteran resource providers must pre-register for a table by Sept. 18. Registration forms can be obtained by contacting Delilah Nichols.

Anyone who has questions about these events can contact Nichols at nichols@ucmo.edu or 660-543-8977.  Also, to learn more about the Veteran Vision Project, contact Christian Cutler, director of the UCM Gallery of Art & Design, at 660-543-4498 or cutler@ucmo.edu.