‘For he who gives his life shall always be my brother’
Infidel was what the US military were called by the enemy, along with other things, but they embraced the word and tatooed it across their chest
Each image in the book documents the US militeries advances in the Korengal Valley, the most dangerous post in Afghanistan. The photographs are experiemental considering previous images depicting war, because they capture a truth in war that isn’t seen through the media and through other photographer; humanity. In such a bleak environment it is difficult to capture the human emotions that the venerability and unpredictability of war, but Hetherington develops relationships with the soldiers during his stay, which effects the warmth of his images while stepping away from the traditional approach to capture images of war without any connection with the soldiers. Some photographs that stood out for me were the portraits that were blurred, for me, it really gave a sense of danger, a sense of unpredictability, and even still revealed humanity; but tinged with the ever-present threat in Korengal Valley.
Furthermore, the way that the book is structured makes the reader establish strong connections with each solder individually through the portraits and the play-fighting, but towards the end of the book weapons and more stereotypical associations with war are properly introduced, and it creates a strong emotional response, especially at the very end with the ‘sleeping solders’, really establishing the vulnerability of war.