Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Faces of British Soldiers Before, During and After Afghanistan

I love smart and clever ideas.

As I have said on many other occasions, the concept is king.

In the past couple of months I saw two different takes on the same idea.

What toll does conflict take on soldiers in war?

I saw a project by photographer Lalage Snow where she shot a series of portraits of soldiers before, during and after deployment to Afghanistan.

You can read a little more about her project here

I asked her about the portraits.

She came up with the idea as long ago as 2007.

When she was struck by the difference between soldiers prior to deployment and after deployment.

Often good ideas take a little time to mature.

In her own words she says the photo's 'aren't technically brilliant'

She used no lighting 'just ambience hence the vast difference in Afghanistan' and a small amount of post production.

'I had a black sheet I bought from John Lewis fabric dept but it blew away in the wind when a Chinook helicopter landed, so I improvised with black bin bags and gaffer tape which was tricky given the sheen on normal bin bags and perhaps is why some of the shots are in flatter light. but you do what you can in these situations and trust to hope it will be okay in the end'

Amen to that.

The lighting may not be as consistent as one would ideally wish but these were not ideal circumstances.

'Lally' really has told a story with these remarkable pictures.

A cracking idea.

I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.


Pedro P said...

A good idea very badly done. The same focal length (pref 85mm+) should have been used throughout the sequence for this to properly work.

Unknown said...

Hi Pedro,

I understand your rationale, but 'very badly done' is a little on the harsh side.

Could the portraits have been executed in a more spot on technical way?

Without a doubt.

But working in a harsh environment like Afghanistan is clearly a challenge like no other, with external factors effecting the shoot more than straight forward photography.

I myself have made so many mistakes and 'Mis thought'under pressure and in stressful situations.

In my career I have made many more bad photos than I have good.

My career has been been built on a mountain of mistakes, and that is what makes me who I am today.

The key thing is she did it, and opened a window on a situation that perhaps none of us had ever considered.

I don't actually know Lalage but I salute her and her project.



abc said...

This work is an exact copie of the work of CLAIRE Felicie , also published in new york times look at her web site

John said...

hi Abc, that is correct, I saw this concept of triptychs a year ago in a solo exhibition in the MELKWEG gallery in Amsterdam, later I saw the work of Claire Felicie again on the Lens culture web site,


Unknown said...

Hi abc and John,

Thanks for sharing that.

The idea is in fact the same, you are right.

There are a finite number of ideas in the creative world.

It would not be the first time that two artists came up with something which was from the same idea, independently, unaware that someone else was working on the same thing.

Therefore I would be careful before saying it was a 'copy'

I have no wish to become embroiled in spat over 'who was first'.

It is a neat idea, thats all I was saying.