16 November 2011

Photog Depicts Red Bulls and Golden Light

For two months in early 2011, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald photographer Alyssa Schukar embedded with Nebraska and Iowa National Guard troops deployed to Afghanistan, including those of Iowa's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" division. In a recent Veterans Day editorial package, the 27-year-old Lincoln, Neb. native reflected upon her experiences downrange:
I met dedicated soldiers who worked relentlessly to improve Afghans’ lives. The soldiers often told me that their efforts were aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the people. It wasn’t like war video games. Rather, their mission was humanitarian.

People often ask if I feared for my life during that time. Though my heart pounded hard a time or two, I never felt more safe than in the company of those soldiers.
As may have been mentioned previously in the Red Bull Rising blog, Schukar shoots with almost fine-art sensibility: Her big-sky landscapes, golden illuminations, and character-infused portraits often evoke something of the American middle west, as much as they depict life and death and waiting in a strange land. For Veterans Day 2011, she presented an online gallery of her Afghan work. Much of it is museum-worthy.

Just as notable, however, are Schukar's behind-the-scenes descriptions of some self-selected favorites. Be sure to check it out here on the still-active Omaha World-Herald "At War, At Home" blog.

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