Inspired by a chapter in his 2014 book, Bare Strength, which featured wounded amputee Marines, celebrated photographer Michael Stokes has created an entire photographic volume dedicated to U.S. Gulf War veterans.
Always Loyal, a large-scale, hardcover coffee table book, showcases the beautiful side of wounded soldiers, whose injuries and/or lost limbs are detailed in intimate, exclusive photographs and information that provide a highly unique appreciation for those brave souls who have fought for the United States of America.
The goal of fitness photographer Stokes-who, inspired by a shoot with veteran and amputee Alex Minsky, wanted to put a different spin on how wounded veterans were depicted-was to create a book via crowdfunder KickStarter.com.
“I met this veteran, Alex Minsky, and talked to him about different approaches to a portrait session,” says Stokes. “I had already studied as many amputee photos that I could find. I noticed that most of them emphasized the lost limb, and that the mood was often sorrowful. That was not the vibe I was getting from him, so I decided to simply photograph him as if he were not an amputee, photograph him exactly the same way I would any of my fitness models.”
The result of the book is pure art. Always Loyal received praise from CNN, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Mail, Metro, MTV, and many others around the globe. Stokes donated $20,000 from Always Loyal sellings to the Semper FI Fund, a charity that benefits wounded warriors.
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Bruno Gmuender (Nov. 1 2015)
Product Dimensions: 26 x 1.5 x 34.3 cm (10.25 x 0.60 x 13.5")