Jeff Gusky lives two lives, one as a rural emergency physician and the other as a fine-art photographer and explorer.
Dr. 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 twenty museum shows in America mark Jeff Gusky’s fine-art career. Jeff 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.
Jeff resides in rural East Texas and in Dallas.
by Jeff Gusky (Author, Photographer), Judith Miller (Introduction), Hardcover, 180 pages, Overlook-Duckworth (New York, London), October 2003, ISBN: 1585673161. A December 17th, 2003 Roger Rosenblatt essay on the book aired on PBS' The Newshour with Jim Lehrer.
Published in September, 2008 by Yale University Press (New Haven). Bordertown is the story of a once powerful yet now impoverished locale on the Texas-Mexico border which has been a full participant in American life since it became American soil in 1848. It’s a story of power, patriotism and self-determination by early Mexican-Americans. The book was the recipient of the Popular Culture/American Culture Association’s Ray and Pat Browne Award for the Best Reference/Primary Source Work in Popular and American Culture in 2008. Co-authored with SMU Professor Ben Johnson. ISBN: 0300139284.
Published in 1983, this orientation manual for third-year medical students sold 16,000 copies in two printings and was widely distributed throughout the US and Canada. ISBN: 0910015007.
Hidden under the former battlefields of WWI lie hundreds of forgotten rock quarries that were transformed into underground cities beneath the trenches, sheltering armies on both sides of the Great War from mass destruction. Cloaked in darkness under private land in the beautiful French countryside, these underground cities are bristling with artifacts, sculptures and emotionally charged “graffiti” created by WWI soldiers a century ago. Frozen-in-time, these cities beneath the trenches form a direct human connection to men who lived a century ago. They make a hundred years ago seem like yesterday. They are a Hidden World of WWI that is all but unknown, even to the French.
American medical doctor, fine art photographer and explorer Jeffery Gusky was introduced to these underground cities by landowners and dedicated volunteers and their families who fiercely guard the secrets of these spaces with loving care to prevent them from being vandalized and to preserve them for the future. Dr. Gusky found it hard to believe that he was the first outsider privileged to systematically explore this Hidden World and that almost nothing about them can be found on the internet. Caretakers shared their precious secrets with Gusky and honored him with exclusive access to create a photographic legacy of this Hidden World, but with the proviso that he would work closely with them to protect these cultural treasures from harm.
Dr. Gusky has created thousands of images that document the lives, loves, and longings of these modern young men who were the soldiers of WWI. The stone walls of the quarries are soft enough to be carved with simple tools. The men spent long hours recording indelible expressions of their humanity that are as fresh and powerful today as they were a century ago. The images are sometimes poignant and sometimes sad but always deeply moving reminders that these men were not strange doughboys from old movies but modern people who were coping with the dehumanizing horrors of war in the same way that we would cope if faced with these horrors today.
These cities now exist in total darkness. All equipment must be carried underground by hand, often snaking over, under and around shifting debris, frozen mud and fallen rock. Despite this inaccessibility, the underground spaces gave up their wonders under the artist’s visionary approach. Raking light over the carvings to make them stand out clearly, Dr. Gusky has succeeded in creating strikingly beautiful images that cause the viewer to stop and look... really look. The first impression of many viewers is stunned surprise and the second is a desire to linger, discuss and ask questions.
Dr. Gusky’s published work focuses on pieces of the past, hidden in plain sight, that can help us discover who we are and inspire us to ask questions about the vulnerabilities of modern life that we have forgotten how to ask. The Hidden World of WWI is his third major project.
|The New York Times||The Hidden Cities of World War I|
|BBC News||The hidden art of war underground|
|National Geographic||The Hidden World of the Great War|
|NPR “Here and Now”||ER Physician Documents ‘Lost Underground’ Of WWI|
|Dallas Morning News||Photographer documents forgotten WWI scenes from underground|
|PDN Online||The Hidden World Beneath World War I Battlefields|
|Canadian Broadcasting System||Art from the trenches|
|ABC News / Yahoo||Beneath the trenches: The secret world of the Great War revealed|