Houston Matters

Houston Photographer Captures Hidden Worlds From World War I

(Above: The underground dining area of a WWI French soldier, as photographed by Houston doctor Jeff Gusky. Image Courtesy: jeffgusky.com) When we think of the brutal warfare of World War I, we tend to think of the 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians dead, of infantrymen waging war with guns and grenades, hiding in […]

(Above: The underground dining area of a WWI French soldier, as photographed by Houston doctor Jeff Gusky. Image Courtesy: jeffgusky.com)

When we think of the brutal warfare of World War I, we tend to think of the 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians dead, of infantrymen waging war with guns and grenades, hiding in muddy trenches above ground, of chemical weapons being used for the first time in warfare.

But there were also cavernous stations where soldiers lived their lives between battles. And they left carvings — hundreds if not thousands of inscriptions, from names to detailed portraits and artwork. Many of these relics have been left untouched, making these stations feel like cathedrals dedicated to lost souls.

Dr. Jeff Gusky, who by day is an ER doctor with Altus Emergency Rooms here in Houston, is also a fine art photographer. He captures this Hidden World of World War I in a collection of photographs.

Now, his photographs are part of a documentary on the Smithsonian Channel called Americans Underground: Secret City of WWI and a photo exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Back in 2015, he told our then-colleague Paige Phelps what it was like to visit these stations, how he found them, and what the experience meant to him.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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