ML Casteel’s images of the clutter in ex-servicemen’s vehicles offer a powerful metaphor for the enduring psychological impact of warfare
“When I was growing up in south-west Virginia, it was ingrained in me to thank a veteran if I met one,” says Matthew Casteel, a 37-year-old photographer who works under the name ML Casteel. “That was the norm back then, the understanding that they had made a huge sacrifice for the country. Somewhere along the way, that has changed. Their plight has gotten lost in the bureaucracy of government.”
Casteel’s new book, American Interiors, is a compelling indictment of the way in which US war veterans, the wounded and the war-weary, are often treated on their return to the homeland that demanded that sacrifice of them. What is audacious about Casteel’s approach is that there are no portraits of veterans in the book. Instead, while working as a valet parker at a veteran’s hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, where he now lives, he began surreptitiously shooting the interiors of their cars. The result is a grimly powerful, extended metaphor for the neglect and decay that makes their daily lives at home a dogged extension of their lives at war.
Link : The car’s the scar: photographs of US veterans’ interior lives