This is a stand-alone episode, but we are staying near the front on the Somme to speak with a very, very special guest: Dr. Jeff Gusky, the photographer and talent behind the Hidden World of WW1.
Dr. Gusky is the photographer and talent behind the Hidden World of WW1, a fascinating exploration of the many unknown underground cities inhabited by soldiers of both sides of the Western Front during the Great War. He is also a National Geographic photographer, and currently his photography is a part of the “Artist Soldiers” exhibit, an 18 month-long exhibition at The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. He also has a photographic exhibition at the Museum of History and Art in Sainte-Menehould, France that is running through November 26th, 2017.
Dr. Gusky holds that as an explorer and an artist, his mission is the same as that of his primary profession: emergency physician. That mission is to quote “to help people face immediate danger and chart a path to safety” unquote. Dr. Gusky, in exploring these many underground labyrinths of WW1 where men slept, dreamt, and sometimes fought and died, believes that putting a light on the memories of these men will help us to understand ourselves and how modernity affects our lives. As WW1 was the first fully industrialized war features devastatingly powerful weapons and human destruction on a scale that even today remains difficult to fathom, we can see that between 1914 and 1918 was the beginning of when Dr. Gusky’s “human emergency” began. This was when the scale of modern life seemed to skyrocket past the limits of human understanding. Since then we as humans have been separated from nature and our human nature by the impossibly large scale of modernity. But Dr. Gusky believes that we can draw hope from the examples of people like those men who left their names and sketches on the walls of the underground cities he has visited. These were just everyday, ordinary men who took part in a horrific war on a hitherto-unknown scale of suffering…and yet they retained their humanity throughout most of their experiences.
I am so grateful, honored, and humbled that Dr. Gusky is with us today, and he is actually speaking with us from the Picardy region of France. He is there to explore a new underground site, and he has graciously offered to talk to us a bit about what drives his interest in WW1 and his explorations, and his current exhibits and projects.
Please join us for a fascinating discussion with Dr. Jeff Gusky.