City Times

Voices spoken though their eyes

Mike Madriaga

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San Diego County has been a home base to the U.S. Military for many generations. With Naval Base San Diego and Camp Pendleton (Marines) being two of the larger facilities of their respective branches, many families in San Diego have a deep-rooted connection to the veterans.

From Nov. 10 through Dec. 10, “VOICES – Exhibition Honoring Veterans” will be open in the LUXE Gallery at the CTC-V Building on campus.

“It is about the veterans, some were students and faculty, then there were some like the World War II vets, which are friends or family and connected to someone from here at City College,” David King said, the photographer who shot the large portraits displayed throughout gallery. “They were all found by Candice Lopez, who was the brainchild of the whole exhibit. She went through the City College Veterans Group and the USS Midway Museum.”

Inspired by the documentary “Ghost Army,” Lopez lead her team from the City College Graphic Design and Photography programs, to create a unique visual experience to pay homage to the American soldiers.

“Together with David King, we decided the portraits should be black and white, as it equalizes all of the veterans,” Lopez said. “They shared with us that this was a positive aspect of the military life and no matter what your background or life experience out in the field are, ‘you are the same.’”

Walking into the gallery through the hallway, the purveyor is welcomed by photographs of veterans, most who have fought in combat. Their lively eyes and expressions captured by King, were all unique, with a caption describing their backgrounds in the military underneath. The natural light towards the end of the hall is equally as inviting, which leads to a collection of nostalgic pieces by the large windows.

“I believed the entire show should be minimal with clean white surfaces, contrasted by the power of David King’s black and white portraits,” Lopez said.

Being a product of the old-school film era, King digitally captured each veteran in less than 12 shots. King has been teaching photography courses at City College since 2000.

“The one that I liked the most was of James Reed Sr., he was so engaging,” King said. “Here is a guy in his 90s and he’s alive, you can see it in his eyes.”

Lopez and her team added some color by displaying the U.S. flag, a map and a collage of letters and photographs (of veterans dressed in uniform). The original nostalgia from the WWII era is protected in a glass case propped up by sawhorses. The team also painted white vitrines to showcase the black and white drawings by Carol Johnson.

“We used black, gold and white for the show branding, along with stars to communicate concepts like honor and valor,” Lopez said, whose father served in the Air Force and whose grandfather served in the U.S. Army during World War I.

VOICES is open to the public Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 1080 16th St.

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Voices spoken though their eyes