Things they carried: Thom Atkinson’s ‘Soldiers’ Inventories’

Depicting weapons and other war-related subjects will always remain a sensitive issue requiring some tact. I count myself lucky in that I’ve never had to fight in a war, nor experienced it in any other direct way, well aware that it would have likely killed my soul. Yet, for a long time, I’ve been interested in what it was like and what it did to the generations of my parents (who were touched by it as small children) and grandparents (who lived through two world wars). Does this mean that I have a thirst for war, that I take an unsavoury interest in it, that I’m a sadist?

As far as I can see, the objects have been captured in what I would call a matter-of-fact way, similar to displays you would find in many museums. That may not strike you as overly creative, but as an artistic, or if you don’t like that, simply photographic decision I can respect that because the photographer stuck with it. I can see no glorification of war here. Actually I find the series quite intriguing.

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