Dr. Jeff Gusky, American doctor, fine-art photographer and explorer, has pursued a twenty year quest to discover the origins of modern mass destruction and terrorism. On a trip to Poland in the dead of winter in 1995, he spent time alone in a basement torture chamber at a Nazi concentration camp. Despite the passage of fifty years, the torture chamber still felt evil and oppressive. Ascending the stairs into the bleak winter light, he glanced at a nearby guard tower and was struck with the realization that the threat of mass destruction and genocide is with us still. He wanted to know why.
Gusky spent months on the ground in France, Belgium, Moldova, Romania, the Ukraine and Israel. On return from these journeys, with critical input and guidance from his friend and collaborator, Dallas lawyer and scholar Reid Heller, Gusky and Heller analyzed source materials that traced modern mass destruction to its origins in the late 19th century.
Gusky said, “Since the birth of the modern city in the 1870’s, millions and millions of people have moved from the human scale of rural life with its attendant natural human rhythms and touch points to the inhuman scale of massive, impersonal modern cities. Enthralled by the power, exhilaration and conveniences of city life, the inhuman scale of the city gets inside us and makes us numb and cut off from the things in life that sustain our humanity. When we lose touch with human reference points and replace them with blind faith in modern technology we become dehumanized and vulnerable to the dark side of modern progress.
About one hundred and twenty years ago, blind faith in progress and public opinion, amplified as never before by the brand new technology of mass media, led to a gradual, almost imperceptible relaxation of judgment and conscience. The spectacular achievements of progress allowed people to lose touch with the fragility of their civilization… and their own self-protective instincts. It took less than thirty years for the new democracies, intoxicated by progress, to march enthusiastically into a meat grinder… the first modern mass destruction: WWI.
The Hidden World of WWI gives us a glimpse into the individual humanity of soldiers that refused to be silenced in the face of modern mass destruction. Men from both sides defied the inhuman scale of modern life and declared themselves as human beings, who could think, and feel, and express and create and who remind us today that they were here, and that they once existed as living, breathing human beings” Gusky said.
Gusky has recently announced that he will publish a series of almost two thousand images documenting The Hidden World of WWI. The photographs explore an all but forgotten soldier’s world in the underground cities beneath the trenches of the Western Front in France.