Ashley Gilbertson and Photographic Responsibility in the New York Times

Collection photographer Ashley Gilbertson is featured in a number of online media pieces and articles of the New York Times and NYT Magazine (see below for links). As a war conflict photographer since 2003, Gilbertson has captured countless poignant, intense, and challenging images of soldiers, civilians and moments of life and death. Gilbertson first started photographing conflict at the age of 23, after feeling that films of war correspondence or wartime did not give him any sufficient understanding of the world of war or the emotional toll taken on those that experience it.

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Ashley Gilbertson, Untitled from 1/8 Bravo Marines during the November 2004 battle for Falluja, 2004, MoCP Collection

In the several NYT features, Gilbertson describes what he sees as his responsibility as a photographer to help his viewers understand what soldiers go through during wartime and to express that the difficulty of war is not over when soldiers return home. This feeling of responsibility was instigated by the 2004 death of the marine soldier, Billy Miller, who was assigned to protect the photographer as he worked to capture images of victims from the Falluja attack. Gilbertson is particularly concerned with expressing emotional and psychological turmoil, subjects like PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and other internal or psychological topics that do not lend themselves to photography.

Gilbertson argues that his “soldiers’ bedrooms” photography, shown in this slideshow and highlighted in this article, is war photography. The images show what we, as a nation, have sacrificed in going to war. He explains that this project is the body of work that has reached closest to his goal of explaining what war is to people who have not seen what he has seen.

Some images in the slideshows and video interviews are intense and difficult. Please view them before sharing with others.

Watch the soldiers’ bedrooms slideshow.
Read the soldiers’ bedrooms article
Watch a video interview with Gilbertson concerning his goals and recent body of work.
Watch another slideshow of other images narrated by Gilbertson.