Riley and His Story.
Photographs by Monica Haller.
Onestar Press/Fälth & Hässler, 2009. 480 pp., 480 color illustrations, 6x9".
Monica Haller’s project Riley and
His Story presents the daily life of
the Iraq war, as lived and photographed
by Riley Sharbonno, an
army nurse who served at Abu
Ghraib prison from 2004–2005.
Riley used his camera as an
almost prosthetic device to record
the events his memory suppressed;
on other occasions he
used the camera to “store” overwhelming
experiences with the
aim of processing them later.
Many of these images are indeed
overwhelming—“these aren’t the
photos we’re likely to find in
grandma’s photo album 50 years
from now,” he rightly observes—
and the photo pages in this book
are variously sized, creating intersection
and overlap to mimic the
unstable nature of such memories
and convey the blurry jumble of
amnesia and trauma. Riley and His
Story is an invitation to all, including
war veterans, family and
friends, to encounter the realities
of warfare as related by one who