Portraits of Soldiers Before, During, and After War. By Lalage Snow.

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By complete chance I came across a post on My Modern Metropolis showing British Soldiers that have served time in Afghanistan ‘Before, During and After’ – and I am haunted by the images. These are some. Young broken men. Yet the middle pic shows them alert and active, one can only imagine the horrors of their experience and wonder whether there is a recovery point. Please visit the fully post, but experts from it as below:

Photographer Lalage Snow, who is currently based in Kabul, Afghanistan, embarked on an 8-month-long project titled We Are The Not Dead Similar to Claire Felicie’s series of monochromatic triptychs, Snow captures the innocent expressions of these men transformed into gaunt, sullen faces in less than a year.

The three-panel juxtaposition allows the viewer to observe the physical changes a stationed soldier in a war zone goes through. Time is sped up for these men under the beating sun, amidst combat. Regardless of age, the boys that went in came back as men with experiences beyond their years. As weathered and worn as their skin or sunken in faces may appear, it’s their dilated eyes that are the most telling.

Additionally, Snow’s series accompanies each triptych with quotes from each of the servicemen … Sergeant Alexander McBroom’s first portrait, before deployment, features him bravely saying, “I am not worried about going out – it is my job after all.” Three months later, he is quoted as saying, “It has been an eye opener.” And, finally, another four months after, he says, “It is always that fear, that apprehension, what is going to happen if I get blown up?” 

Snow’s intention with the series is to not only honor their bravery by featuring them, but to also draw attention to every soldiers’ psychological transformation. She says, “It was a very personal project and stemmed from having embedded with the military on and off for 4 years in Iraq and Afghanistan and bearing witness to how many young men return as shadows of their former selves and, in many cases, with deep, psychological scars … We Are The Not Dead is an attempt at giving the brave young men and women the chance to explain how it really is.”

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Dawn JorgensenDawn Jorgensen
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