The Fallen:Then and Now, by Louis Quail and Katy Regan

Image above: Caroline Munday, 54, a travel specialist, from Coleshill, Warwickshire, lost her son, James Munday , when he was killed driving a jackal, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on 15th October 2008. He was 21.

This project, combining the photography of Louis Quail with interviews carried out by journalist Katy Regan, seeks to document the experience of the friends and families of those killed during the conflict in Afghanistan. The series is intended to tour the UK in 2015, with Four Corners and Oriel Colwyn galleries already confirmed. They say of the project:

In 2014 most Nato troops were pulled out of Afghanistan. The war for the west appears to be over. As well as exploring memory and our traditions of remembrance, this work looks at the reality for the those who are left behind.

Traditional remembrance honours the hero soldier in a very ceremonial and public way. This project pays tribute to the heroism of the soldiers killed in action, but the act of remembering is presented from the viewpoint of the bereaved family and loved ones.

The artist believes, sincerely, that we ought to be encouraged to listen to the experiences of those closest to the fallen soldiers, especially when there is a desire to be heard. Although incredibly raw and emotional, it is authentic, and a respectful way of remembering.

In Before They Were Fallen, the recreation of a treasured family photograph illustrating the absence of that loved one creates a visual jolt that demands attention. Interviews communicate the experience of these families during this most traumatic period.

The independent parts of this project: The interview, the found photograph and portraiture, fuse together depicting the past and present, merging emotion and fact with powerful force. The photographer uses familiar elements but in an original context and combination creating a compelling development worthy of exploration.

In addition, this work’s systematic, enquiring approach through photography and narrative, creates an archive from the important perspective of the family and their friends.

Ultimately, the work produced will become an important record of the Afghan conflict; an archive of the war as experienced by the friends and families of the fallen. We hope it will be an archive not just about them, but for them.

 

You can find out more and get details of the touring exhibition venues at Louis Quail's blog here.