Photojournalism: The model vet

This photo essay is a story of my uncle, Bill Murphy. A man I’ve always looked up to, who is kind, generous and above all, funny. At the age of 19 he was conscripted to fight as an infantryman in the Vietnam War. When he came back he was afflicted by mental health problems, not limited to an alcohol and smoking addiction.

However, through years of treatment and help from both doctors and family, he managed to kick them only for them to be replaced by new addictions to diet coke and hoarding. As much as he is helped by his wife Gerda, his family and his doctors at the Narrabeen War Veterans Village, the scars of war have changed him.

His apartment is now littered with food and drink items, including dozens of bottles of wine that he never drinks, scores of chocolates and biscuits which remain unopened and pile upon pile of tinned vegetables. Despite being uncommonly strong for a man of his build and size, he insists that he needs to constantly use a Zimmer frame, even while moving around the house. As much as we try to help, he can’t quite break that addictive side to his personality.

These photos are an illustration of Bill’s life; Not just of the addictions that afflict him, but what make him, above anything else, a man I care for, respect and admire. This is a man who has seen some of the worst humanity has to offer and come through the other side, still a loving, kind and cheerful uncle.