Portraits of Soldiers Before, During and After Going to War


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 responses to “Portraits of Soldiers Before, During and After Going to War”

  1. everyone looks best in the second shot.

  2. 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. Anna Nikitin Avatar
      Anna Nikitin

      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.

  3. Ouagadougou Avatar

    and the result is you should sunbath in Afganistan in order to look better

  4. Miriam Noonan Avatar
    Miriam Noonan

    you can see the thousand yard stare develope

  5. InfestedKerrigan Avatar

    Is it just me or do all of them look best in the middle picture?

    1. Daniela Kampmann Avatar
      Daniela Kampmann

      I guess, its because of their eyes. The lightning there is different. Maybe shot with a webcam and its the light of the monitor?

    2. 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.

  6. Ward Shaw Avatar
    Ward Shaw

    They seem to look a little smarter with every image.

  7. 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.

  8. Laer Yos Avatar
    Laer Yos

    we all have to fight our war ..

  9. you can feel they are “on guard” on the war ones

  10. Boogieman Incubi Avatar
    Boogieman Incubi

    nice idea, bad result. sorry but i only see 3 (almost same) selfies of each one of them, nothing special nothing different….

  11. Tasos Papazahariou Avatar
    Tasos Papazahariou

    Wow,people grow older,who knew!

  12. ZacEckstein Avatar

    Not a very thoughfull project. The images don’t really tell any kind of story. It’s just pictures of dudes over a period of time.

  13. Mario Dante VG Avatar
    Mario Dante VG

    time bombs…

  14. Lajos Andrejkovics Avatar
    Lajos Andrejkovics

    Plus, some “3rd shots” like wide-anglish to me…

  15. The seventh looks a lot like Messi

  16. Miriam Hylian Rodriguez Avatar
    Miriam Hylian Rodriguez

    Thousand-yard stare

  17. Jacopo Mazzoni Avatar
    Jacopo Mazzoni

    Rineke Dijkstra
    ’nuff said…

  18. you know what? if you reversed the image order no one would know the diff.

  19. 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. Lenepusen Avatar

      I totally agree, and was wandering the same!

    2. 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

    3. Coal Moar (Coal More) Avatar
      Coal Moar (Coal More)

      The photographer is a woman. Not a ‘ he ‘ .

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