Fashion Photographer Shifts His Focus to Wounded Soldiers

Warning: This post contains strong images of soldiers who have been injured in battle.


Photographer David Jay has documented lots of conventional beauty in his work for major fashion houses and magazines. He’s also helped the world reconsider what “beauty” means with “The Scar Project“, a groundbreaking portrait series that captured young breast cancer survivors going forward with their lives.

Now Jay is tackling perhaps an even greater challenge with “The Unknown Soldier,” a powerful new portrait project that captures the post-combat lives of young soldiers seriously injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The images are challenging and revealing: showing amputated limbs, jagged scars and severe burns on the outside; and courage, determination and humanity on the inside.









Jay says in his introduction to the project that his purpose is three-fold: “[To] raise public consciousness of the thousands of young and wounded veterans, to honor their lives, their stories and their sacrifice, and to help them see their scars, faces and experiences through a new and ultimately empowering lens.”

Jay started the project in April and has done about a dozen sessions so far, traveling to hospital and homes around the country to capture the veterans as they go about their daily lives. He ultimately plans to compile the work into a traveling exhibition and photo book, and a documentary on the project is in the works.

“I am amazed and humbled at every encounter I have had with these men,” Jay writes on the project’s Facebook page. “It is so important that they are given a platform in which to share their story and continue to receive the honor and recognition they deserve.”

Image credits: Photographs by David Jay/The Unknown Soldier and used by permission

  • tyrohne


    Bring them home.

  • Richard

    Incredible work.

  • Christian DeBaun

    Well done Mr. Jay – and keep this project going.

    “If we don’t end war, war will end us.” ~ H. G. Wells

  • Kamo

    Powerful images, especially when contrasted against the children. The optimist in me would like to think that after seeing photos like this politicians would be more hesitant before pulling the trigger on wars.

  • Mark

    Our freedom of expression doesn’t come cheap…Thank you!

  • nyoman

    great work! powerful images, they gave me goosebumps

  • stefano60

    war: what is it good for? absolutely nothing.
    one would think that by now we should have learned SOMETHING!

  • Allen Klosowski

    Immensely moving.

  • Michele Lynn Hess

    Amazing, Handsome, Wonderful Americans!

  • Michele Lynn Hess

    Amazing, Selfless, Courageous Americans that gave so much of themselves! God bless each of them! I am in awe of these men and will pray for each of them! My respect, admiration, gratitude and sheer awe in each of them shall remain endless!

  • Michele Lynn Hess

    These photographs remind all of us what it truly costs to keep us free and protected! May none of us take our freedoms and rights for granted! Brave men and women have fought and lost so very much to ensure that we retain each freedom and right that we enjoy living in this great nation! God bless, protect and guide all of Americas warriors!

  • Michele Lynn Hess

    In order for the politicians to really take a good, long hard look at these images, they might need to get off of their butts and actually do something! God forbid!