Imperial War Musuem. War Story – Serving in Afghanistan

As part of the London trip me and Meena planned to head off to the IWM as both of our projects have a similar subject. I had been recommended by photographer Daniel Lilley to go here as he said it helped him a lot whilst planning for his portrait project on the cadets. The Imperial War Museum has been collecting personal items and stories from soldiers since the first world war. With the War story project they are able to exhibit genuine artefacts along with interviews and interactive screens to tell the story. This project gives an incite to viewers about what life is like at war, it gets the message out to people on how war affects soldiers lives which is what i would like to get across in my images.


Around each artefact there was a portrait of the solider, a short story about the item and a interview. One of the most interesting one for me was a soldiers rucksack with 3 bullet holes in it. When i first looked at the item it looked like a normal bag until i read his story and then found the hole in the bag in which he was shot at. Have a portrait of his face right next to the story allowed  me to the look straight into his eye and feel the emotions that must have been going through his head at the time. The portraits were printed slightly bigger the life size which forced me to look straight into his eye but as they were so big i felt as if i was gazing into his soul and could really feel a connect between myself and the solider. Further on down the exhibition there were the portraits of every single solider included in War Story. Unfortunately i couldn’t get a picture of the exhibition but it made such a big impact within my mind. Each photograph (approx 25-30?) were printed, again, slightly larger then real life and were hung at the height of an average person so the viewer is able to look straight at these people. They were all lined up next to each other across 2 walls as if they were standing up in patrol. The detail in these images were incredible! Every single detail on their face was so clear as if they were stood right in front of you, it gave me goosebumps is was that real.

‘In a portrait the fact may be of body or spirit. War portraits aim cheifly at the fact of character, we want to know what our men are, even more than how they look.’

R Gleadowe, author or War Pictures by British Artists (1942)

The above quote was shown next to the series of portraits. This describes exactly what i agree with and what i want to get across in my photographs. I’ve had a quick  look at the author and book online and hoping to order it for further research and ideas to help me with this project.

I’m beginning to think about changing the composition planned for my shoots and just going back to the studio to play around with a different type of films more suited to portraits. Similar to the museums photographs i do want there to be a lot of details in my images.


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