Portfolio: Jim Naughten
Sunday 24 July 2011
Simulated battles aren't everyone's cup of tea – but for those who take part (some 20,000 people in the UK), they are a serious business: call their uniforms "costumes" and you might find yourself on the sharp end of a bayonet.
Jim Naughten, a London-based photographer whose grandfather was a Desert Rat and uncle was a Spitfire pilot, had no such fears – though he did put on a flak jacket to join thousands of First and Second World War re-enactors on the battlefield, experiencing days of heavy rain, heavier artillery and Hitler Youth marching past his tent, which he had set up as a portable studio.
But rather than base his Re-Enactors project around those live scenes, he found that what he wanted to achieve was better accomplished photographed against a plain background. This both allows us to see quite how authentically accurate their garb is, yet also sets his subjects apart from time – their 1,000-yard stares could as easily have come from the horrors they had seen as those they were commemorating.
In focusing on the details of their attire, the series also draws attention to the depersonalisation of war and the need to remember that individuality is too easily suppressed by notions of collectivity: for while these uniforms might reveal unit, rank and nationality, they cannot reveal what is in the heart of their wearer.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
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Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant