Photographer and self-proclaimed Photoshop illusionist Devin Mitchell invites us to take a closer look at those who serve in the U.S. military and spend most of their time hiding their true identities behind their uniforms. His raw “The Soldier Art Project“ photo series juxtaposes soldiers’ and war veterans’ real-life identities with their reflections staring back at them from the mirror in full military uniform.
Mitchell’s series asks if soldiers and war veterans are appreciated enough as human beings after they’re done serving and risking their lives for their country. He also sees it as a chance to shake some of the common stereotypes surrounding the armed forces, which can sometimes be seen as a homogenous crowd of people with no individuality.
“The military community has expressed their interest in using my art to communicate how many of them feel to be living double lives while serving in the military,” Mitchell told Mic. “People who have never served have shown interest in knowing more about the diversified aspects of what causes veterans to feel that way.”
Mitchell also said he wishes to create “at least 10,000 of these over my lifetime, including at least 30 Congress members, three generals and one US president. Current or former.”
“One photo that really speaks to me the most is the picture depicting Joshua Zitting and his husband Patrick Lehmann,” said Mitchell, who is openly gay himself. “It reminds me of how unfair it is that this man can serve while enjoying all of this constitutional rights as an American, while other men and women similar to him cannot in other parts of the country, due in part to recent decisions such as the one made by circuit judge Jeffrey Sutton. Judges like him are blind in my eyes. Maybe pictures like this will help him see better.”