Claire Beckett

Private Megan Cassidy
c-print photography
40 x 30 in.

I returned to America after a lengthy stay in West Africa in 2004. I was disillusioned about my home, my people and my government, particularly in regards to the war being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. I looked for a way to address my feelings about the war through my work, and I began to photograph American soldiers preparing for deployment. I was searching for an entry point into the subject: a point from which I, and also my imagined American audience, might interact with the war on a more personal level.

My work focuses on very young soldiers, newly enlisted Army and Army National Guard soldiers attending pre-Basic and Basic Training. I am deeply moved by these young people who will soon face war, and on some intuitive level, these photographs resonate with my feeling about the war. There is so much potential in these faces: they are at the cusp of youth and adulthood, of civilian and solider, of innocence and war-worn. For these people, life could go either way. But as I look into their faces, I feel the terror of what I imagine lies ahead.

© Claire Beckett