Suzanne Opton's avatar Suzanne Opton

In 2005 with the cooperation of the military, I made large format portraits of 90 American soldiers at Fort Drum, NY. Each of the soldiers who volunteered to lay their heads down before my camera had recently returned from active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. In most cases they would deploy again, sometimes for as many as four more tours. My intention was simply to look in the face of a young person who had seen something unforgettable. The photographs are presented large, reminiscent of the size of a fallen statue. I thought of Saddam or Lenin, or maybe even the American Empire. In 2008-10 I presented the images as billboards in nine American cities. "The posture is vulnerable and startlingly intimate, as if these young men and women were facing someone in bed or on a stretcher... Opton catches soldiers both on guard and off, looking out and looking inward simultaneously, and we can only imagine what they're thinking, and what they've done, and what they dread." -Vince Aletti, The New Yorker

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth:
  • Medium: Archival Pigment prints
  • Width: 52 in.
  • Year created: 2005
  • Height: 41 in.