The History Of Military Uniforms From The 11th Century To The Present

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Huscarl, Battle of Hastings, 1066

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Mounted Knight, Siege of Jerusalem, 1244

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Fighting Archer, Battle of Agincourt, 1415

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Yorkist Man at Arms, Battle of Bosworth, 1485

In his series Soldiers’ Inventories, photographer Thomas Atkinson showcases the change in military kits of British soldiers over the course of 1,000 years, from 11th century to most recent days. His documentary starts with the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and spans throughout twelve other combats, including battle of Waterloo and the war of Afghanistan. The shift is riveting – from daggers to iPads carried alongside guns.

To gather his artifacts, Atkinson visited living history communities which use these collectives for battle re-enactments. His displays look like neatly organized puzzles and reminds of the established military order these soldiers faced every day. Atkinson says he would spend hours aligning the gear, starting with bigger pieces and filling in the empty spaces with smaller attributes.

“It’s a slow process, a bit like a game of Tetris – you place a few key items and then start to fill in the gaps. Sometimes you have to go backwards or start again because it isn’t working. I wanted to arrange objects in a way which would illustrate and give clues as to what they are – objects pertaining to food are grouped together, as are items which relate to the rifles and weaponry and so on,” Atkinson told DPreview.

Atkinson’s retrospective unfolds a great deal about the change in our warfare. First off: development in design which is best illustrated by the shift in armour: from colourful vibrantly colored vests, to camouflage. According to Atkinson, “the fact that certain objects recur is more fascinating than the ones that evolve“. Best examples of it being a spoon, helmet and something to kill the boredom with: from 16th century playing cards, to magazines and iPads. (via Wired)

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Red Poppies Flood Like Blood From The Tower Of London Commemorating WWI Centenary

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Ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper collaborate to create a stunning installation commemorating the centennial of the First World War. A scarlet sea of 888,246 ceramic red poppies will be “planted” around the Tower of London. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”, the installation pays tribute to soldiers who perished during the war.

For the past few weeks, volunteers have been carefully placing the flowers all around the famous dry moat around the Tower. Poppies burst through one of the windows and then flow loosely, forming an arch over the footbridge to the castle. Each poppy represents a soldier from the United Kingdom and its colonies who was killed during WWI. Cummings says he was inspired by a line in the will of a soldier from Derbyshire.

“I don’t know his name or where he was buried or anything about him. But this line he wrote, when everyone he knew was dead and everywhere around him was covered in blood, jumped out at me: ‘The blood-swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread.’ I believe he meant the angels to refer to his children.”

Poppy is considered a flower of remembrance in Britain. The reason is because most of the soldiers died fighting in the trenches in the poppy fields of Flanders.

The blooming field will continue to grow throughout the summer. The final flower will be symbolically planted on November 11th, Armistice Day. The ceramic blossoms are for sale for £25 ($42) each. 10 percent of the proceeds go to benefit six different charities. You can find out more about the project by following the #TowerPoppies hashtag on Twitter. (via Colossal)

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Bech Scher’s Mixed Media Paintings Explore Women in the Military

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Beth Scher‘s “Female Soldiers” series depicts women in the military adorned with embroidery and other decorative elements. Scher’s mixed media paintings explore ideas concerning femininity and strength. Her images feature women in a variety of military contexts – Scher’s embellishments of her female figures recalls the idea of a “decorated” soldier while also referring to the art of craft and embroidery, concepts normally found within in a domestic setting. In images that include a bulls eye or target image, Scher conceals the women’s faces with black thread, evoking a sense of expendability that must inhabit a conflict-heavy environment. Scher explains, “In my paintings, I portray them as young women who intentionally seek to display their sexuality and vulnerability, yet are trained killers, in a position of power and placed in serious conflicts. I wonder what the consequences are in a society that must deal with this dichotomy.” (via lustik)

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Robb Stone’s US Soldier’s Incriminating Acts Of Violence And Lewd Behavior

 

Robb Stone is a friend and colleague that I had the pleasure of getting to know during my time at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Stone is experimental with materials, using bleach and acrylic on satin, acrylic on drop cloth and army tent material, and even acrylic on shower curtain. He works in a very washy style and usually makes large-scale paintings, layering several of them along the wall to induce a cinematic and narrative quality.

His earlier work showed his interest in pop culture and current events as he painted what can be described as infamous, narcissistic train wrecks – Lindsay Lohan and Heidi Fleiss in particular stand out among others. The paintings are executed unsympathetically, mocking celebrities most people would like to see buried under the ground. The themes of ‘narcissism’ and ‘train wrecks’ in a more meaningful sense reoccur prominently in the work he has made over the past 3 years, which features subjects who are acutely aware of being filmed, yet appear unthreatened by the film’s permanence and choose to partake in immoral, incriminating acts of violence and lewd behavior. Robb focuses on this behavior to the extent that it has been present in the US’s recent military involvement in the Middle East. So far he has focused on a series of isolated incidences, such as US soldiers urinating on dead Afghan bodies and the US Embassy’s guards in Kabul’s hazing rituals. The content of his paintings raises many questions: were these soldiers inherently immoral individuals, or did war make them that way? Is it possible to be in a situation so far from normal reality that anyone in that situation will lose their sense of morality? Does the context of these soldiers’ surroundings allow for them to believe they are partaking in acceptable behavior? The show-off behavior of these soldiers is perplexing; they are not at all compelled by the presence of the camera to hide their face in shame. Instead, they embrace the exposure.

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Scar Boy

scar-boyscar-boy-2scar-boy-1Beautifully rendered drawings of women, clusters of wartime machinery, and mushroom clouds of weapons by Chris Scarborough.

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