James R. Morrison – Photographer
As a Vietnam Era Navy Veteran I remember what it was like coming home after serving my country to an indifferent welcome. I wasn't spat on, like many of my fellow veterans, but instead experienced a lack of care and recognition from the very people who supported the war. At times I felt invisible. The pain and disappointment ran deep and stayed with me over the years. When I saw the same indifference and lack of recognition for the contributions and sacrifices our women veterans face when they return home, it struck a chord.
What Does A Woman Veteran Look Like? presented a rare opportunity to bring recognition to women veterans and to share with viewers who these women really are. It was essential for me to open viewers’ eyes and have them really look at these women, not just as women, but as veterans who deserve our respect and acknowledgment.In my thirty-five years as a professional, photographing national leaders, California legislators, and dignitaries, this has been one of the most challenging and gratifying projects I have completed. It touched my heart and soothed old wounds. And for that I’m grateful.
J. Mara Morrison – Writer
I spent hours reading narratives from the women in our portrait project and accounts of other Women Veterans who over decades, served our country. I was surprised to feel a strong sense of connection to them.
Seeing these women through the lens of James’ camera impacted me in ways I had not expected. I was compelled to learn more about them, to understand what their lives were like during and after their military service, and to find ways to bring deserved recognition where none was given before.
When you read What Does A Woman Veteran Look Like?, attend an exhibit of the women’s portraits, or start a dialogue in your community about the issues and challenges Women Veterans face every day, you will be moved by what you discover. I guarantee you will be changed by the experience.
I come from a family of veterans: My dad, brother, and uncles served. Growing up, my parents shared stories about the women who served our country. I remain fascinated and touched by these women. We are honored to support and recognize them by creating portraits that reflect their personal strength and spirit.