Portraits of Soldiers Before, During and After Going to War


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Photographer, journalist and filmmaker Lalage Snow shot this series of portraits of British soldiers over a period of seven months, before, during and after their operational deployment to Afghanistan on Op Herrick 12. They speak of fear, being injured, losing a brother soldier, missing home, excitement, coming home, and what life is like on the frontline. Snow, who trained with the soldiers prior to their deployment to Afghanistan, found that being a woman had some advantages and helped the soldiers relax. ‘They didn’t have to be super macho around me or feel threatened’.

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28 Comments

  1. Everybody here commenting to take away from the point of the article of how being in a war zone effects the body not only mentally but physically as well… And everyone commenting about it just being diff lighting or zones and what not have probably been in more combat than Rambo so each of you must know what it really looks like on someones appearance…smh. Its not about the lighting or anything in these pics, the message behind this article is very very real and true and if you dont believe it then feel free to visit your local recruiters office to sign the line.

    1. I think the people commenting know very well what the message behind this article is and no one is trying to take that away from it. It’s just the fact that because the pictures were taken with different camera settings and lighting every time it changes the appearance of these men in a way that diminishes the point of it. You don’t know if the face really changed because of the war or because of the photograph itself. Everyone well knows that the men changed, no one is arguing against that, it just makes it difficult not to nitpick when the job doesn’t seem to be done right. They are not criticizing the point of the article; rather the approach of the photographer. Sorry for my english.

    1. Its not just you, once soldiers get settled into whatever area they are assigned, they get…. idk the word to even describe it. But it starts to feel like they belong and the normal stresses of life fade away and they just do their mission.. not that its not stressful every second of each day in those countries..its just something thats only understood if you experience it. Then you come home to normal life stresses again and the adrenaline stops and then thats when the mental problems start to kick in such as PTSD or even just basic memories and flashbacks of events.

  2. Those who have experienced the horrors of war would most likely have changed but some of these may have not had any traumatic experiences which is often the case.

  3. Cool idea. But I’m surprised the photographer didn’t use the same lighting for each shoot. I’m guessing he wasn’t able to. Having the three different light setups for each seems to detract the meaning for me as the face always looks different when shown under different lighting. I would have liked to have seen them in more of an environmental type portraiture, but this carries a sense of power in its message. But overall great idea to help Spread the word about the issues with war.

    1. It is not just the lighting, what makes it even more worse and destroyed the great idea is that he used a different focal length, for every 3 shots, thats why eyes at the right (after war images) seem to be much bigger in most cases… Try it yourself shoot a portrait, once with 20mm and one with 50mm for example, same lighting same viewable area of your face, conclusion= totally different shots

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