What Is It Like To Be a Veteran?

If you’ve ever wondered how some veterans live, have I found a book for you.

Matthew Casteel parked cars for a living at the Veterans Affairs hospital valet service in Asheville, North Carolina for seven years.  He came into contact with veterans from the World War II era through Afghanistan.  In doing so, he realized the insides of their cars revealed clues to their lives — problems with addiction, poor hygiene, or indications of declining physical and mental health.

So he began taking photographs of car interiors, with permission and being careful to not capture anything that would give away an identity.  In April, he published  American Interiors, a collection of those photographs from between 2013 and 2015.  He hopes his collection of photographs will help dispel stereotypes about veterans and make us all feel complicit in their struggles.

After all, there is nothing more American than our automobiles.

To see some examples of Casteel’s work, visit “The Insides of Veterans’ Cars Shed Light on Their Fight for Normalcy” by Clara Mokri with photographs by Matthew Casteel at  http://time.com/longform/veterans-day-cars-photographs/?.

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