The Soldier portraits were made with the cooperation of the military at Fort Drum army base. The soldiers I met were between tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We all experience strategic moments when we feel most alive. Whether transcendent or horrific, these are the moments that we will always remember. In making these portraits, I hoped to photograph the invisible. I thought that by looking into the face of a young person who had witnessed something unforgettable, we might imagine what he or she had seen or done, or not done.
By virtue of the slow process of working with a large format camera, the subject’s mind may easily wander during the session. In this fashion, although conscious of being looked at, the subject may be lost in thought when the exposure is made. Although the implication of being shot down was likely not lost on these young men and women, the pose is also intimate – like seeing someone opposite you with his or her head on the pillow.
All images and text © Suzanne Opton
By Suzanne Opton