Riley and his story. is the result of a collaboration Monica Haller initiated with Iraq war veteran, Riley Sharbonno. It combines text from their conversations over three years with his images from combat.

Here, the camera is a prosthetic devise. It serves as a witness to events that make us want to turn away. We begin with images rejected or repressed in the consciousness of Riley Sharbonno, an Iraq War combat veteran.

Riley has pictures that he doesn’t remember taking, nor does he remember the event itself. Riley looks at these images upon his return home, as if for the first time. He looks at them for the first time along side us, other U.S. citizens; how does that implicate us as witnesses?

Digital data storage holds evidence of the past for possible future recognition. Here we are now. What stories do we tell ourselves, our families, our friends?

The digital archive picturing the Iraq War is ever expanding. Official network media and user generated websites are “refreshed” daily. The ever-expanding archive is ubiquitous and ephemeral. It is also evasive; massive amounts of unedited digital information make it hard to access. Pause to make meaning. Confront this archive, your archive. Manage a narrative that makes sense.

This project is about what a book is, what reading is, what interacting with images is. How a book is deployed, disseminated, and staged all change the way it is used. Evolving technologies, or redeploying of old technologies, changes the way information is received.

What does it mean to offer this digital archive between the two covers of a book? Will the reader focus? Turn off her cell phone? Pay close attention? How does a stable, physical object both limit and liberate actual human experience?

Can such a book mobilize a reader? Can that reader move another reader?

Published by onestar press and Fälth & Hässler

Download a PDF of excerpts from Riley and his story