Dallas, TX, July 14, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- / (http://www.myprgenie.com) -- When
photographer Jeffrey Gusky, M.D., FACEP, was given exclusive access
to record all but forgotten underground cities of World War I lying
beneath private farms in France, he had no idea what to expect or
the impact it would have on others. Now captured in thousands of
striking images, Gusky has titled the collection The Hidden World of WWI. The
beautiful art and emotionally charged inscriptions, carved in stone
by WWI soldiers, have been virtually untouched for almost 100
years. They are a direct human connection between then and now.
Gusky, a Dallas emergency physician, fine-art photographer and
explorer, is believed to be the first person ever to bring to light
the large number of underground cities beneath the trenches of WWI.
The Hidden World of WWI reveals the artifacts, sculptures and
evocative graffiti left behind by soldiers on both sides of the
conflict. Landowners determined to preserve the past have zealously
protected these underground treasures for decades.
"Seeing these subterranean cities for the first time was one of
the most moving experiences of my life," Gusky says. "Finding
hundreds and hundreds of messages to the future, written by
soldiers in their own hand, made time seem to stand still. I feel a
tremendous responsibility to the people who trusted me enough to
share their secrets about these places. It was also amazing to
realize that while some people knew about some of these spaces, no
one knew about all of them."
While visiting France to photograph another project, Gusky had a
chance meeting with a French official - which resulted in his first
meetings with local WWI enthusiasts and several land owners along
the Western Front. Gusky's passion for the story and his commitment
to protecting these hidden treasures earned their trust and
eventually led to encounters with many more people who helped him
find and photograph dozens of underground cities.
"To witness the inner thoughts and feelings of the soldiers,
carved in stone, was more than inspiring; it was almost spiritual,"
Gusky explains. "My goal was to capture this outpouring of human
emotion and help make World War I real and relevant to people
One of the first soldier's carvings the Dallas photographer saw
was a perfectly executed, museum-quality relief sculpture of a
classic woman's face chiseled into the wall of an obscure
underground quarry. At that moment he knew he had stumbled onto an
important story that could touch people around the world during the
100-year anniversary of WWI.
He spent a total of six months exploring miles and miles of
these underground spaces. The often treacherous work was performed
in complete darkness and sometimes required him to crawl on hands
and knees through tight spaces, over jagged rocks, and to lean down
over ledges, balancing his camera in one hand. Additional perils in
the form of unexploded hand grenades and live artillery shells were
Gusky found thousands of works of art, graffiti and inscriptions
by German, French, British, American, Canadian, Polish, Hungarian,
Australian, New Zealand, Chinese, African and even New Zealand
Maori soldiers, among others. In at least one instance, it was
clear that three different armies had occupied the same underground
city over the course of the war. While they left their mark in
different languages, their graffiti and artwork was less about war
and politics and more about home and loved ones.
Gusky is strongly committed to preserve and protect these
treasures in France. "I'm a man on a mission. I hope these images
will change the way we think about WWI and that they will be
protected for future generations. The Hidden World of WWI gives us
a glimpse into the humanity of individual soldiers who refused to
be silenced in the face of modern warfare. Men from both sides
declared themselves as human beings who could think, feel, express
and create, and who remind us today that they were here, that they
once existed as living, breathing human beings."
Gusky's discoveries and photographs are featured in the August
2014 issue of National Geographic, The Hidden World of the Great
Images from The Hidden World of WWI can be found at www.JeffGusky.com. Follow The Hidden
World of WWI on Twitter https://twitter.com/hiddenwwi
or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HiddenWWI.
About the Artist
Jeffrey Gusky, M.D., FACEP, lives two lives - one as a rural
emergency physician and the other as a fine-art photographer and
Gusky's first year of medical school at the University of
Washington was spent in Alaska as part of the WAMI Program, created
to inspire students to become country doctors. Gusky graduated high
in his class and was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha, the National
Honor Medical Society. He combined his love of flying and rural
medicine and used his plane to reach remote hospital emergency
rooms on short notice throughout Texas and Oklahoma. Since 1991, he
has taught trauma skills to other physicians as an instructor in
the Advanced Trauma Life Support program and is a fellow of the
American College of Emergency Physicians.
Two books of black-and-white photography, multiple national
exhibitions including the pairing of his work with the Spanish
master Francisco de Goya and the legendary early 20th Century
photographer Roman Vishniac, inclusion in a Broadway play and the
honor of a Gusky traveling exhibition being ranked by Artnet
Magazine on its 2009 list of the top 20 museum shows in America
mark Gusky's fine-art career. He explores the world - photographing
pieces of the past that can help us discover who we are and which
inspire us to ask questions about the vulnerabilities of modern
life that we have forgotten how to ask.
Media: Downloadable images available http://jeffgusky.com/press-room/
VIDEO PRESS RELEASE AVAILABLE AT: https://vimeo.com/100174215
CONTACT: Contact: Dana Cobb, email@example.com, 972-955-9747
Source: Jeff Gusky