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Andrew Hida

The U.S. Department of Defense estimates 20 percent of U.S. combat troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan have sustained a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Photographer Andrew Hida's Slow Healing project documents the return of veterans to civilian life. The soldiers tell their quiet stories of survival over a series of intimate medium-format portraits and video.

Slow Healing profiles soldiers of both genders, and of diverse ethnicities, at different stages of recovery. TBI can shift personalities, transform emotions and result in permanent physical handicaps. The victims' families, friends and community also bear the force of the injury.

"Propelled into a reality deprived of their previous life, the journey of recovery and healing is long and often remains forever elusive," explains Hida. "The soldiers' compelling stories reveal their pain and struggle and triumphs and happiness as they hope for a better future." Hida will present two public exhibitions of the Slow Healing project in 2009.

Watch some of the soldiers' stories at www.slowhealing.org