Since Matthew Brady’s “Dead at Antietam” images, photographers… Capa, Davidson, McCurry…have been documenting and reacting to war, its action, and its aftermath. Nicholas Luchenbill makes his photos after the action, in photomontages that layer memories from his three combat tours in the Middle East. His art practice is his attempt to understand his own wounds from war trauma and to speak to other veterans’ mental health issues. Retired from the Army with a medical discharge in consequence of struggles with psychological effects of his service, Nicholas lives in El Paso, Texas, near Fort Bliss, his last duty station. That such aesthetically-pleasing artworks can grow from such ugly sources is a tribute to Luchenbill’s artistic vision and accomplished craft. That his work is employed to help others is a tribute to his compassion and his ongoing mission.
I am investigating aspects of anxiety and memory, and the effects that war trauma has on certain memories stored in the brain. The images I construct are based upon my perceptions of what happens when traumatic memories are created and stored in the brain. In my experience, memories are consolidated, stacked and stored on top of one another which results in lost and fragmented information and formatted in a skewed sense of time. In this series, I use images from my first deployment to Iraq, that are autobiographical, complicated them through strategies of overlapping, interruption and fragmentation to reflect the sense of anxiety that is the by-product of being placed in a war zone.
E-Mail: luchenbill.nicholas [at] yahoo [dot] com