What they wore, what they took

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  • What they wore, what they took

    15 years have past since the conflict in Kosovo in 1998-1999 and for many families the wounds only deepen with time; for many are not able to find closure until they have found evidence of their loved ones. Even just one finger bone can help them move forward and accept the unjust and abrupt end of a life that was taken from them. Anything would be better than the purgatory of waiting and hoping that one day they will walk through the front door and flash that familiar smile or give a warm embrace. On 5 April 1999, Serb soldiers entered the village of Rezalle separating the men and boys from the women; the men and boys were later killed, 37 of who have been missing since the event. In December 2013, a gravesite in Rudnica, Raska, Southern Serbia, was located in an old quarry, after years of searching. With the help of various institutions and satellite photos analyzed over a 10-year period, the site was exhumed and various remains were found, many of which were discovered to have come from the Rezalle Village event. Although what struck me most as I watched the forensics work were not the bones themselves, which can be quite shocking and come across in photos as impersonal; but rather I was moved by the clothing and personal affects. They raised so many questions for me: why did he have his tooth brush on him? When did that watch stop ticking? What kind of medicine was the person taking, why was he wearing two pairs of socks and was that whole from a snag across a fence or a bullet wound? Although the answers might only give a window onto the last days or weeks of their lives I wanted to show the personal affects of a person and perhaps through that understand a big about who that person was.