DISCLAIMER: This photo essay is a -journalistic- body of work. The opinions expressed by any individual person that is photographed does not reflect the beliefs of its curators, advisors, or the photographer. The project is designed to abstract images and statements from individual veteran service members, without bias or agenda.
On August 8th, 2014, student and photographer Devin Mitchell began backpacking/traveling the west coast in search of veteran stories in hopes of illustrating these individuals through the art of pictures. The Veteran Vision Project is a photo documentary, featuring authentic military service members and their lives. The photo subjects represented are not commissioned models or actors. The people and the artifacts belonging to them as photographed in this project are real. This is currently an independent, privately funded and organized academic photo essay of American military service members through a series of images. The mission is to help veterans heal by providing them with a voice.
Board of Directors
Devin Mitchell (born April 14th, 1987) is an undergraduate student majoring in Sociology, and an aspiring sociologist living in Los Angeles, California. His academic interests are sociology, public policy and organizational psychology. A self described journalistic illustrator with an artistic passion for creativity, he uses components of academic research in tandem with content creation to achieve and encourage communal discourse.
Brad Ivanchan (born April 11th, 1988) is a decorated United States Marine Corps veteran, veteran affairs advocate and double amputee from Phoenix, Arizona currently living in Los Angeles. On January 22nd 2008 he shipped out to USMC Recruit Depot San Diego. Within a few months of graduating boot camp he was stationed with 1st battalion, 7th marines as a machine gunner with Charlie Company, weapons platoon. Within a year his unit was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq where he spent 7 months as a turret gunner providing security for Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams as well as conducting mobile security patrols in the Karma and Fallujah area. His second deployment was in the fall of 2010 where he was deployed to the south pacific under the 31 st Marine Expeditionary Unit. In March 2012 he left for his 3rd and last deployment, this time to Sangin, Afghanistan. There he spent the next 3 months as a machine gun Squad leader conducting day and night foot patrols in Sangin’s southern green zone. On the night of June 13th he stepped on a pressure plate of a 15 to 20 pound I.E.D, and his life was changed forever. The I.E.D blew off both his legs, his right below the knee, and his left above the knee. Two days later he woke up in a hospital in Germany and had to come to terms with the loss of his legs, and the fact that his life would never be the same. On June 18th he arrived at Balboa Navy Medical Hospital in San Diego, California. There he received many more surgeries repairing his legs as well as his left hand. He spent the next year and a half in San diego rehabilitating before his discharge from the Marines in late 2013. During his rehabilitation he trained for and successfully summited Mt. Aconcagua (elevation 22,840 ft), which is South America's highest peak, less then 9 months after his injury. In doing so, he became the first double amputee to summit the mountain. Brad currently resides in Los Angeles California where he is attending collage and pursing a degree in business. Brad met Devin Mitchell on September 1st, 2014 when he became the 13th image in the photographic series, Veteran Vision Project.
Mylee Cardenas served in the United States Army on Active duty for more than 12 years, prior to her retirement as a Staff Sergeant in March of 2014. Ms. Cardenas joined the Army in 2002, and held multiple MOSs, before being ultimately granted the Civil Affairs Specialty. From 2006 until 2009 she worked as the NCOIC of the Secretary General Staff at the level of 2 Star General, until she was appointed to Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Instructor. In 2011, Cardenas was selected as an inaugural member of the first female group of soldiers to train and deploy as part of the Army Special Operations Cultural Support Teams Program. While deployed, she shared responsibilities in assuring U.S. Special Operations Teams were able to gain crucial cultural insight, as well as invaluable information on enemy activities and helped promote governance within the local populace. While most female soldiers remained in supporting roles, Ms. Cardenas was tasked with supporting these teams in the more remote and dangerous parts of Afghanistan, well away from civility. It was during the operation; Ms. Cardenas first discovered a mass in her left breast. Despite her concern, she ultimately decided to complete her duties before seeking an evaluation. Upon returning home, Ms. Cardenas was diagnosis with Stage 3c Breast Cancer. While she is still undergoing treatment, Ms. Cardenas has been active in sharing her unique journey with others. Since retiring from the United States Army, she has had opportunities to work as a fitness model, actress and motivational speaker; however, her true passion remains her commitment to singularly raising her 10-year-old daughter Abbi, and her dedication to working with America’s Veterans. Cardenas is currently finishing up classes toward a Graduate degree in Psychology, which she hopes will better equip her in her journey as both a mother and an advocate for Veterans causes.