Soldier Neal – 427 Days in Iraq
Archival pigment print
16 x 20 inches
Courtesy of the artist
Fair Market Value
Suzanne Opton’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and abroad, and her work is in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Portland Art Museum, and the Musée de l’Eysée, Lausanne, among others. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Fledgling Fund. Opton lives in New York City and teaches at the International Center of Photography. www.suzanneopton.com
In making these portraits of soldiers, I wanted to look in the face of a young person who had seen something unforgettable. At Fort Drum army base, I photographed nearly ninety soldiers between tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. By virtue of the slow process of working with a large format camera, the subject’s mind may wander during the session. Although conscious of being looked at, the subject may be lost in thought when the exposure is made. The implication of being shot down was not lost on these young men and women, but the pose is also a little like seeing someone opposite you with his head on the pillow.