A Soldiers Smartphone: Images of Camaraderie and War

Some of the most stirring images to come out of recent wars weren’t made by professional photographers.

The rise of amateur digital photography in the 2000s created a paradigm shift in depictions and perceptions of war. Until recently, documenting wars largely belonged to the professional photographer.

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Iraq may have been the first major war where personal photography was accessible to nearly any soldier on the ground. In Iraq, soldiers toted compact point-and-shoots and smartphones, snapping countless photos of what they were witnessing. The range of these images is vast, but a large proportion are marked by the boredom and camaraderie experienced by young men at war.

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After the war, many of these pictures sit on hard drives or stored away in boxes…mostly shared with close family members and never meant to be displayed or to emerge for the public to view.

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Antes+Después is collecting visual materials and stories “of and by American Veteran Soldiers”. Offering succinct and at times heart wrenching narratives of soldiers who lived and experienced fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These pictures may be technically rough, pixelated or out of focus at times. But, at times will be exceedingly honest. These personal snapshots can get to something no embedded news photographer can. A heightened sense of intimacy or candidness, the credibility of involvement. The constraints of life as a soldier are felt in the hurried manner in which many of the pictures have been shot. Like war, they’re messy, fitting the volatile experience they reflect.

If you’re interested in participating, forward you images along with any details and commentary to jesyproductions@gmail.com.

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