by Conscious Reminder
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland were interviewed by Lalange Snow before leaving for Afghanistan soon after returning home.
He also took their pictures for a project called “We Are The Not Dead” which was meant to show the ways in which war transforms people both physically and mentally. The horrors they go through are etched in their skin.
It is no secret that war is a transformative force and these soldiers hold the evidence of that on their faces where you can see how their time in Afghanistan has affected them. When you go through the pictures, the way their appearance has changed because of the stress they still carry with them is plain to see. These men had to learn to be courageous while distancing themselves from their own feelings. By no means is this an easy task and many like them have suffered from mental health issues and substance abuse problems.
Every soldier in the ‘before’ photos looks nervous and unsure. The ‘during’ photos show their faces hardening as they fight to remain alive. The ‘after’ photos are the saddest as you can see that they are relieved to be back but also regretful and afraid. These words don’t even scratch the surface of their inner emotions and barely suffice to describe the way each soldier has changed.
Despite all that they have had to go through, the pictures indicate that a few are not just relieved that it is over and that they are alive. However, not everyone is that lucky and some look as if something inside them has been torn apart.
The things they said when they were interviewed give us a better look into their emotions. For example, before leaving, 24 year old Private, Chris MacGregor, simply stated that he’d miss his family and his dogs and other things like TV that helped him relax.
A few months later when he was in Afghanistan, he admitted that he still was not used to being so far from his home. He was afraid but that fear helped him stay alive. MacGregor was unsure about what they were achieving and he had realized that soldiers on both sides were going through the same kind of suffering.
After sustaining a serious wound in his knee, he was sent back to Edinburgh. He described his injury as knowing that his legs had completely given up. Even though he was home, he was still dealing with a lot of rage issues. He is in therapy now and he handles it all by taking long walks with his dogs.
Below are the heartbreaking pictures of the 14 soldiers interviewed and photographed by Lalange.
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