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Suzanne Opton's Soldiers: Face Down and Forlorn Between Tours of Duty

Suzanne Opton photographed nine soldiers at Fort Drum, New York, while they were home from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.


For Suzanne Opton's "Soldier" series, she photographed nine soldiers at Fort Drum, New York, between their tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each image sees a soldier lying prostrate, with his or her face filling most of the frame. Expressions range from shocked to pensive to near dead. Some of Opton's subjects stare directly into the lens, and, implicitly, at the viewer; others, like the above soldier Birkholz, who spent 353 days in Iraq and 205 in Afghanistan, fix their gazes on something (or nothing) off camera.

The suggestion that these images represent "fallen" soldiers has generated some predictable controversy—especially when Opton presented the images on billboards. But the intimacy with which she captures the faces proffers a powerful rejoinder to the idea of a "body count." Instead of playing a numbers game, Opton forges a connection between the eyes of each viewer and the face of each soldier.


The series will appear as part of the 2010 Brighton Photo Biennial.

Via Creative Review


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