This week I decided to revisit the connection from the image to a current image from the War on Terror. I actually managed to locate a series of photographs that could hold a possible connection, the exhibit is titled, “We Are Not the Dead”. Lalage Snow photographed and interviewed soldiers from the 1st Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland before the government shipped the men to Afghanistan for service. They actually come from an exhibit that shows each soldier three times. It is a progression of their time, from before they went to Afghanistan, after three months there, and then once they returned home. These are in fact British and Scottish soldiers, not Americans, but I believe the nationality is not a central focus from the image of the shell-shocked marine. There are thirteen different soldiers shown in this project, to some degree, one can see the haunted look in their eyes, yet none exhibits the strong glazed over look evident in Don McCullin’s photograph.
As far as analysis is concerned these photographs do tell a powerful story. Along with the added short quotes by the soldiers, one can see a clear picture of how their opinions over time shift. The men while originally very positive about their involvement begin to question their job as well as their safety by three months in. Upon their return home many never want to talk about Afghanistan again. The men also steadily appear worse across the photographs, even after they have returned home they seem unusually gaunt and have that deep piercing stare. Yet overall, none of these photographs convey the same emotion as Don McCullin’s piece from the Tet Offensive. Due to this lack of emotion, my search continues for a stronger photograph that exhibits the necessary stare and emotion that will connect it to McCullin’s work from 1968. The link for all of the photographs is listed below, instead of me placing all the photos in this post.
Link to We Are Not the Dead: