War does a lot to people, much more to soldiers who are first-hand recipients of the effect of war. Not only does the impact of war affect their physical wellbeing but also their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Usually, after a war, most soldiers have nothing to say because they find it difficult to pen down their experiences. Whether they were on the losing side or not, the memories are usually unbearable for them.
Rather than gather the physical effect of the war in books, talented British journalist, photographer, and filmmaker, Lalange Snow, who is based in Afghanistan, embarked on an 8-month-long project that featured portraits of 14 members of 1st British Battalion from The Royal Regiment of Scotland soldiers.
Titled ‘We are The Not Dead,’ Snow uses this project to reveal the physical changes soldiers in a war zone go through.
While the portraits reveal changes in the soldiers’ expression, before, during, and after the war, Snow directly connects these expressions to the emotional burden the men had experienced.
From emotionally attached men to emotionally detached men, Snow reveals how the innocent appearance of these men transformed into sullen faces after experiencing war.
The Effect Of War As Seen In Images
Just by showing the faces of these soldiers at different times, Snow purposed to reveal the physical, psychological trauma of war.
The echoes in the pictures reveal soft, innocent, and nervous looks before deployment, cold, serious, and survival mode looks during the war and a mix of emotionally detached, sad, and regretful looks after the war.
Snow has been able to reveal that words alone are not enough to explain each soldier’s transition. While the pictures were only taken within a period of 8 months, the difference says otherwise – a decade or more.
The after-war images reveal that some made it out with a huge feeling of relief while others appeared to be broken and displaced.
In addition to the photography which reveals the state of these soldiers, Snow’s project was accompanied by quotes from interviews he did with each of these servicemen.
The interviews revealed that many of the soldiers came home with post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD – a condition that affects people who have been exposed to bad and violent situations.
They were filled with regret, but many of them also found it difficult to readjust to life as civilians.