Volume 3 of INSIGHT features the Soldier Portraits series.
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More of Ellen Susan's work can be seen at soldierportraits.com.
Using the wet collodion process — popular in the 1800s during the
American Civil War — Ellen Susan takes portraits of U.S. Army
service men and women who have deployed to Iraq. The unique
plates made from long exposures provide an intense gaze — a
counterpoint to the anonymous representations in the media of
soldiers who are repeatedly sent into a war zone.
"One of the reasons portraits made with the wet plate process
look so intense and interesting is that the exposures are so long.
My exposures for the Soldier Portraits project range from five to
60 seconds. While the lens cap is off, I’m not looking at the
subject, so there’s some strange social tension in the air as the
person concentrates on being still and stares at an enormous
lens attached to an enormous camera that’s sometimes only a
few inches from his or her face. Because the direct positive
produces a reversed image, a viewer may also consider the
concept of themselves 'mirrored' by a soldier."
Click on the thumbnail images to the left to expand view here.