War, photography and art form a rich and complex history. My interest in war re-enactors and war re-enactment is neither a critical nor celebratory one – rather, I see this opportunity as a unique way to explore the extremely complex and multifaceted phenomenon of the historic representation of war within culture, and its many varied representations within art. There is here, of course, a long-standing tradition in both painting and photography; one of extreme embellishments, falsities and misrepresentations. The camera, in particular, interests me as a mode of capture, as it has come to represent a somewhat realistic view of war, though such a perspectives has rarely stood up to historical scrutiny. Even the earliest war photographers often fabricated scenes of war and manipulated elements on the battlefield, leading to misrepresentation in the hopes of creating dramatic imagery.
I have thus come to see the battlefields of the war re-enactor as a stage; a theatre of war for the public that is rich in both metaphorical and ironic undertones. I use the camera to photograph several moments during these re-enactments, only to re-construct them into a single image that harken back to historical paintings that celebrate the glory of war. The inclusion of spectators, the un-fitting elements within the contemporary landscape, pixelized glitches and the expressions of enjoyment on the re-enactors’ faces all point to the ironic drama being depicted – creating a scene that feels both oddly authentic and inauthentic at the same time.