Claxton

Claxton, 120 days in Afghanistan

Eliza Williams features Suzanne Opton's arresting portraits of US soldiers, currently at the 2010 Brighton Photo Biennial:

Opton's began photographing soldiers in 2004. For this first series, she asked for a particular pose, capturing the soldiers lying with their heads on one side, staring into the camera lens. According to Opton, the soldiers were more than willing to adopt this position, and she would wait until they became unguarded before she would take the shots. The resulting images are unsettling in their intimacy, and in some the faces resemble death masks, a quality that has led the work to become hugely contentious. ...

Rather than simply exhibit the images in a gallery space, where they would be seen by a limited audience, Opton displayed her photographs on billboards around the country, drawing a huge response, both positive and negative, from those who saw them. These reactions played out on her blog, soldiersface.com, where viewers continue to leave comments on the series to this day.

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