This week, Time magazine unveiled its new photo blog, Lightbox. Edited by the magazine’s photo editors, Lightbox highlights work by Time photographers, showcases unseen wire images and gallery shows, and profiles photographers. In a video interview with Lightbox, documentary photographer Eugene Richards talks about the subjects of his award-winning book, War Is Personal, about 15 people whose lives are forever changed by the Iraq War.
During the interview, Richards discusses what is probably the most widely seen and startling image in the book, a photo of Nelida Bagley, 54, hoisting her son, Jose, from his hospital bed. Jose lost 40 percent of his brain when a grenade exploded in his Humvee while on tour of duty in Iraq. Richards says he was impressed by Nelida’s strength and ability to lift her tall son “as if he were a baby.” In the photo, taken from behind Jose, his indented cranium is clearly visible, as is Nelida’s face as she hugs her arms around her son’s torso. “I was trying hard not to make the injury appalling,” says Richards. But he notes that when most people see the photo, “They don’t necessarily see Nellie.”