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‘The Unknown Soldier’ | Thought-Provoking Images of Severely Wounded Soldiers

By Hanssie on July 3rd 2015

[Warning: The images you see below may be disturbing for some]

As we approach the holiday weekend here in the U.S., many of us have plans to BBQ, hang out with friends, go to the beach or a pool party. We’ll post photos of the flag on our various social media outlets, we will stick flags on the lawn and wear our red, white and blue. But will we stop and really think about the independence of our country and the brave men and women that have sacrificed so much so that we can enjoy our freedoms?  I hope so.



Images © David Jay/David Jay Photography

Photographer David Jay, who brought to us the beautiful and moving images of breast cancer survivors in the SCAR Project, brings us the harsh realities of war and its aftermath on the soldiers that fight for our country in his series, The Unknown Soldier. The images below are uncomfortable and raw and show us a reality that we, as a society, don’t see or sometimes don’t want to see. Jay, who began this project while he was shooting the SCAR project as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were being fought. He felt compelled to document the “unseen consequence of our (all of our) actions.”

I want to be clear; ultimately The Unknown Soldier is not about war. It is about many things: Humanity, acceptance, responsibility. An understanding that we do matters. What we say, what we think, matters . . . and has repercussions that quite literally change the course of history.


Images © David Jay/David Jay Photography


Images © David Jay/David Jay Photography

With this project, Jay hopes that beyond the images of the soldiers, the viewer will look past the “narrow and simplistic confines of ‘war,'” and view how the way we treat the people around us every day, however small or innocuous, ‘will ultimately lead us either to peace . . . or the continuum and carnage of war.’ Deeper than images of heroes who returned home with scars or lost limbs, this series encourages us to look inward at ourselves, our actions and our decisions that affect the world to either perpetuate hate or promote unity.


Images © David Jay/David Jay Photography


Images © David Jay/David Jay Photography


Images © David Jay/David Jay Photography


Images © David Jay/David Jay Photography


Images © David Jay/David Jay Photography


Images © David Jay/David Jay Photography


Images © David Jay/David Jay Photography

To see more of David Jay’s work, check out his website here.

CREDITS: Photographs by David Jay are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.


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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Tom Blair

    Great Men and Woman in those photos. Reality suxs

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  2. Dave Haynie

    Everyone in the country should see these. Amazing as art, but when it comes time to vote, we all need to keep in mind that, whatever you felt about the conflict, they served in our name. They gave lives and body parts so that we didn’t have to. They should be treated better when they get home.

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  3. Stephen Velasquez

    I see great images of warriors getting on with life after war.

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  4. Liam Doran

    Really well done and very hard to look at…

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  5. Brandon Dewey

    Great images!

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  6. Graham Curran

    It’s important that we see these types of images to know and understand what our armed forces go through in our name. We cannot just look away because we find them unpleasant or uncomfortable. War is brutal and we need to confront the realities of that.

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  7. Colin Woods

    Superb, the best portraits I have seen on a Long Time.

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