JENNIFER KARADY’S WEBSITE
JENNIFER KARADY, GETT IMAGES CREATIVE GRANTS, JUNE 2013
ZACHARY BARR, “WAR REENACTMENTS OF A DIFFERENT KIND”, COLORADO PUBLIC RADIO, APRIL 5, 2011
THE JENNIFER KARADY INTERVIEW, THE UNTITLED ART SHOW, MARCH 31, 2011
AIMEE LE DUC, “JENNIFER KARADY,” FRIEZE MAGAZINE, ISSUE 134, OCTOBER 2010
CLAIRE O’NEILL, “VISUALIZING MEMORY, PHOTOGRAPHING WAR STORIES,” THE PICTURE SHOW, NPR, JULY 4, 2010
BRADY WELCH, “IN COUNTRY: SOLDIERS’ STORIES FROM IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN,” ART PRACTICAL, JUNE 30, 2010
JONATHAN CURIEL, “WAR GAMES: SOLDIERS RENACT LIFE AND DEATH IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN,” SF WEEKLY, MAY 19, 2010
JESSE MCKINLEY, “WAR ZONE TRAUMAS RESTAGED AT HOME,” THE NEW YORK TIMES, MAY 5, 2010
JENNIFER KARADY, SOLDIERS' STORIES FROM IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
Jennifer Karady, Former Sergeant Jose Adames, U.S. Marine Corps Recon, Stinger Gunner, 1st Platoon, Alpha Company, veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom; Brooklyn, NY, February 2009. 48”x 48” Chromogenic Color Print.
I got hit by a mortar while on a convoy, which was not a typical mission for us. Three pieces of shrapnel went through my leg. It pretty much swept me sideways, and I was knocked out cold. I was immediately helivacked over to Baghdad Hospital, and from there to Frankfurt, Germany. Eighteen marines in my platoon were wounded. When I heard the stat reports a couple of weeks later, I found out we were hit by 40 mortars and two machine gun assaults. It was in a canyon, so there was no way to go forward or back. When mortars are coming in, it’s pretty much hard to cover yourself from that. That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever been through. That’s the bad part; I’ll never forget it.
I am terrified of trucks, garbage trucks in particular, and it has to do with the fact that New York has so many potholes. When they hit one they make this deep echoing sound that sounds similar to a mortar exploding. I see a dump truck rolling down the street and I just try to go to the other end as fast as possible. I black out, not in a bad way. I just tune out. Everything gets dark, and these images keep fluttering through my mind of the night we got hit. It just replays in my mind.
When I returned I was homeless for a total of five months. I spent two months in a shelter and I couldn’t take it. It was just this thin line of frustration, and then my PTSD wasn’t helping. So I really needed to come up with other ideas. I was stuck in a vicious circle from boarding house to a shelter at Bellevue. It was ridiculous what they did to me. I had a better chance sleeping on the A train. I felt more comfortable, actually. In New York, 85 percent of the homeless are veterans. I see a lot of veterans feeling very, very angry.
Jose Adames works with homeless veterans at Black Veterans for Social Justice in Brooklyn, NY, and
is studying accounting at Long Island University.
This text was transcribed and edited from interviews conducted by Jennifer Karady in October 2008.
Jennifer Karady, Captain Elizabeth A. Condon, New York Army National Guard, veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, with daughter, Kate, and mother, Elizabeth; Troy, NY, June 2008. 48”x 48” Chromogenic Color Print.
One of my missions in Iraq was to check the water levels in remote areas, because the underground water infrastructure had been destroyed by Saddam Hussein. We were curious to find out how the locals were getting water to sustain themselves and what we could do to help them. An Iraqi man approached us and asked if somebody could take a look at his wife or daughter or whoever she was. She was just a girl, maybe sixteen years old. We had a doctor with us, but they didn’t want the male doctor to examine her. They looked to me because I was the senior ranking female person.
I went into this room, and the girl was lying on a runner-like rug on the dirt floor. She lifted her black burka to show me her stomach. She recently had a caesarian. She was cut from hipbone to hipbone, like somebody just took a knife, cut her open, and took the baby out. The wound was held together by thin, one-inch-wide box tape, the kind with little strings in it. It was obviously infected, so I just kind of cleaned up her wound with rubbing alcohol, antibiotic cream, and sterile dressings. It was healing but it was nasty. She was very thankful. No one responded until the eldest woman did. There must have been eight women and twenty kids all watching me. The eldest woman came over and started kissing my cheek and thanking me. One by one, she introduced me to her whole family, never saying a word.
When I came back I couldn’t deal with the welcome home—everyone glad to see me, trying to give me hugs— because I had been so cold, isolated, and nonemotional. A lot of people had died, and I’d been to too many memorial services. I said to myself, “Okay, the Muslims have Mecca, where’s my Mecca?” I’m a Catholic, so it’s the Vatican. So I went to Italy.
I volunteered to go to Iraq when I was told I couldn’t have children. I was 36 or 37 at that time and was engaged and wanted kids. Having a family was always very important to me, but my career in the military and my goals had always gotten in the way because I wanted to be educated. I wanted to be a commander.
In Italy, I went into the Sistine Chapel. It was like the place where it was OK to release my emotions. I walked up the steps to the altar and bawled my eyes out. I don’t know how long I was there. I remember that before I left for Italy, my mother told me, “Sometimes men don’t listen, you need to speak to their mothers. Mothers have a way with their sons. So if you have any special requests while you’re there, talk to Jesus’ mother.” So I did. I went to the Basilica and just prayed, “Mary, I’ve always wanted to have a family, but it’s totally up to you. Maybe I could adopt or whatever, I’ve got my money saved.” That was in December. Four months later in April I was pregnant. I got this wonderful gift out of all that tragedy. I really attribute my daughter to the Iraqi woman with the caesarian.
Elizabeth Condon has been promoted to major and is currently pursuing studies that could make her
eligible for furtherpromotion to lieutenant colonel, colonel, and perhaps someday general.
This text was transcribed and edited from interviews conducted by Jennifer Karady in June 2008.
Jennifer Karady, Former Sergeant Jeff Gramlich, U.S. Marine Corps Infantry, 3/6 Lima Company, veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, with parents, Eileen and Larry, and sister, Jackie, Buffalo, NY, June 2011. 48”x 48” Chromogenic Color Print.
In August 2005, I deployed to Husaybah, Iraq on the border with Syria. I always think about this one night on post. Our position was on a rooftop fortified with sandbags. We were near the city watching kids playing and people running around. We’d heard they take pot shots at you so we were always looking at all the windows out there and on alert. We used to have Humvee glass that protected us but they were restructuring the base, and that day they took the glass down. That’s what shows me that the enemy is watching. I was chilling, talking to my friend, and a gunshot hit the sandbag literally right in front of me. The sandbag absorbed the whole impact of the bullet and saved my life.
I remember my friend and I both took cover and then we ended up shooting back at whatever. If we got shot at, we made sure they knew not to do it again so I shot at every window I thought the sniper could be in. We had been mortared and rocketed but this was the most personal. I thought, “Wow, there’s someone out there in a window trying to take my life.”
When I got home I used to check out the window all the time, but I would try not to be seen in the window. I’m always conscious of where I’m exposed, so walking by windows I feel vulnerable. I trust the neighbors but at night, especially at my parents’ house, I don’t know who’s looking in from across the street. Because that’s all we ever thought about in Iraq—what’s going on in that window? Sometimes a streetlight outside my bedroom window would go out or the power went out and I would think, “Oh, crap, that’s planned. Who knows if they’re coming at us right now.”
I’m thankful to be here. I don’t take life for granted. That’s the thing you get really frustrated with when you come back. Most people don’t grasp that-especially younger kids, I call them kids but they’re only a couple years younger than me. They are all concerned about who’s on MTV and who’s got the coolest thing going on. They don’t really grasp life and death stuff.
I started school soon after I got back. As soon as I left school, I would go get drunk because I couldn’t really relate to anyone in school. I was getting badly out of shape and not doing anything positive besides school. My parents worried about me because I would just cage myself into my room and sit there and maybe watch YouTube videos about the Marines, call old friends or rent a movie. I didn’t want to have anything to do with anyone. I would just go home and lock myself away.
My parents were my backbone when I came home—a lot of kids don’t have that. They kind of were scared for me sometimes, but they never disowned me. They wouldn’t stop me from drinking beer at 11 a.m. on a Sunday but they would say, “Um, don’t you think you should do something with yourself, maybe help coach hockey?”
Jeff Gramlich is pursuing a master’s degree in organizational leadership at Medaille College, where he
works for the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs. He coaches youth hockey and is captain of Medaille’s hockey team.
This text was transcribed and edited from interviews conducted by Jennifer Karady in April and May 2011.
JENNIFER KARADY, ANIMAL PROJECT
Jennifer Karady, Pageant Talent: Katrina Johnson, Miss Nimrod 2003, Nimrod, MN 2004. 30” x 30” and 48”x 48” Chromogenic Color Print.
Jennifer Karady, Tillamook Cheddar with Bowman, Brooklyn, NY 2002. 30” x 30” and 48”x 48” Chromogenic Color Print.
JENNIFER KARADY, REFITTING
Jennifer Karady, Kiss Me, I’m Hungarian 2000. 48” x 48” and 24”x 24” Chromogenic Color Print.