From the summer of 2013 to the summer of 2014, I served in Kandahar, Afghanistan as a combat correspondent in the United States Army.
For two years, I've poured over the thousands of photographs I made during this time, repetitively building and tearing down bodies of work as I searched for a comprehensive way to sum up my experience. I've frequently struggled with moral conflicts in regards to my role as a military photographer. I was regularly making photographs of firefights that weren't supposed to be happening, photographs of the dead that weren't supposed to be dying I was met with confusion and anger from friends when the photographs that were published of them more closely resembled a professional sporting event than the war they were living. They wanted their story's told, and I wasn't telling them truthfully.
I was a propagandist, and acknowledging that was tough to come to terms with. My camera was used to facilitate a pre-designated Department of Defense narrative built to fir the timeline of the end of combat operations, and I was good at it, winning several awards and seeing my photos circulate regularly through major publications. This collection is not of the ones that won awards. for every disingenuous and censored photograph that showed up in print, I made ten more that wouldn't get a second glance from my military editors. That's what these photographs are. While not protest photos, I built this as a reflection of how my friends and I felt — young Americans at the tail end of a war they were being told wasn't being fought. These photographs felt pointless even as I made them, the knowledge that one of them would ever be published firmly in my conscious. Whether I made them as a subconscious continuation of visual tropes of war photography I studied, or because I was bored, the fact remains that I made them. Here they are.