Photographer and film maker Lalage Snow published a series of photos that she shot while working on location in the area of Kabul, Afghanistan. The 8-month-long project entitled We Are The Not Dead features portraits of British soldiers based in Helmand province. To produce the series, Snow shot three separate photo panels – a triptych –representing a moment in time before, during, and after their deployment. Her work captures more than the mere facial expressions of the men, but also their apparent physical changes, which she documented to have occurred over a time period of less than a year. Snow’s composition effectively captures their transformation and offers a dramatic representation of how stress is embodied as a result of living and fighting in a war zone. In many of the photos it is the soldiers’ eyes that haunt us, as they betray something of a sense of their physical and emotional state, which appears deteriorated not unlike the soiled uniforms that hang on their bodies.[follow the link to view more photos in the series: http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/lalage-snow-we-are-the-not-dead].
According to author Elaine Scarry (1985) war is “the most radically embodying event in which human beings ever collectively participate.” (Scarry, p. 71). This particular series employs what is essentially a form of graphic art to demonstrate how war is potentially embodied. Please take a moment to look at the entire series of photos and offer your thoughts about what you see in the photos. Do you see evidence of an embodied physical change? If so, describe what you see.