Bringing Wrecks to Life
12 Jan 2009
To many, a shipwreck is just a forgotten piece of rusted metal, a navigation hazard. To me, these ships are living history for they have participated in historic events like the Battles of Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, and the Occupation of Japan by Allied Forces. Each ship tells a different story – and the men of the ship are the storytellers. I want people to know the heritage and history of these ships and their people.
It is my fascination with these shipwrecks that have led me on a quest to unravel their history, and to search for the men who once served aboard them. Over the past several years, I have managed to make contact with groups of these men. Meeting with them has been a dream fulfilled -- and a revelation of those histories.
During the course of our discussions, I have come to realize that there are so many undocumented incidents that took place. Seeing a submarine contact on the radar screen, being swept overboard in a typhoon – insignificant events on the global scale, these are very personal to the men who experienced them, and dramatic in their knowing.
As I become more acquainted with these ships, and the men who lived and served on them, these seemingly abstract pieces of twisted metal begin to take on more recognizable forms. They offer a glimpse into an earlier era where real people walked upon the decks; bunks slept in by men who were sons, brothers, and husbands to families back home.
I am among the fortunate few that have discovered these ships underwater and to then later learn of a deeper, human history. I have chosen to photograph them in black-and-white, to faithfully capture the light and ambiance at these great depths, and for the emotional and imageic effect that this medium offers.
With these images, I want to capture the soul of these ships and the humanity attached to them... And bring these wrecks to life.