Confidence is sexy. Seeing the confidence of wounded soldiers posing in sexually charged, near-nude portraits, though, has proved to be poignant. (But also sexy.) Now there’s an entire book filled with them.
“Last year, I had enough for a single chapter in a regular photo book, but I really wanted to do a book exclusively on wounded war veterans, specifically amputees,” says photographer Michael Stokes, whose project went viral earlier this year.
After starting with Alex Minsky, a U.S. Marine whose leg had to be amputated after encountering a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, getting enough material for a book ended up being a challenge. By the time that book, Always Loyal, was successfully Kickstarted over the summer, Stokes had found enough models willing to bare their profound wounds (and more, obviously.) The campaign raised over $411,134, enough so that Stokes was able to donate $20,000 of the proceeds to the Semper Fi Fund, a charity that benefits wounded warriors.
“I sense that the general public would like to connect to the veterans and they aren’t always sure about how to go about it,” Stokes says. “Many are happy to contribute to charities, but they also want the vets to personally know how much they appreciate their sacrifice in the name of our country.”
Perhaps after perusing the 63 artistic photos and complete bios of the 13 veterans in the book, the desire to connect will increase. Have a look at some new photos from Always Loyal, which was just released November 15, in the slides above.