Featuring modern portraits and first hand accounts drawn from the recently released book, VIETNAM WAR PORTRAITS, this exhibition features the images of American Vietnam war veterans, southern Vietnamese war veterans, southern Vietnamese refugees, their relics, and their stories.
The surreal imagery of Thomas Sanders' vivid portraits encourages the viewer to take a closer look at those who experienced the war, giving them a chance to read the haunting, inspirational, and sometimes comical stories of the individuals of the Vietnam War. Set in a surreal jungle environment, the portraits evoke the sense of darkness and uncertainty felt by those who experienced the war. Some of the portraits hold objects that relate to their role or experience during their time in the service. The objects tell a deeper story of a dark and confusing war: the common cigarette pack smoked by the vets while in the jungle; a homemade grenade made by the northern Vietnamese; and a "order to report" document - a piece of paper that changed many a life.
VIETNAM WAR PORTRAITS serves as a form of catharsis for the many people involved in the Vietnam War and honors them by giving them an opportunity to tell their story, bearing witness to their service, their experiences and the aftermath. The exhibition features forty photographic life sized prints with extended wall labels.
After graduating from Cal Poly SLO in 2006, Tom Sanders moved to the Los Angeles area to start his career as a photographer. His photographic coffee table book THE LAST GOOD WAR: THE FACES AND VOICES OF WWII was published with Welcome Books/Rizzoli at the age of 25 and it was named "Non-Fiction Book of the Year, Editors Choice" by the Forewords Review Magazine . Sanders is the youngest author to ever achieve this award. He has spoken at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Idaho Historical Society, WWII Museum in New Orleans, and many other locations.
KQED Article & Program
War History Online Article
WTOC Article & Programs