Soldiers Skyping

Adam Ferguson—VII for TIME
Adam Ferguson—VII for TIME
U.S. Army Private First Class Charles Sellick from 2nd Platoon.

On a recent embed with U.S. Army Infantry troops in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, I found myself challenged by how to tell the story. Patrols had been short and infrequent, interaction among soldiers was sparse and didn’t translate into revealing pictures, and there was little engagement with Afghan civilians. Here I was, four kilometers from the volatile and strategic Afghanistan-Pakistan border, struggling to conceptualize a visual story.

During the downtime I sat in the Morale, Welfare and Recreation room, where I would watch the soldiers use the internet to connect to the outside world. I’d hear soldiers have softly spoken arguments with wives or girlfriends, tones of longing in their discussions, plans being forged, laughter, as well as love and friendship being both exchanged and broken.

After being privy to this, it occurred to me that this phenomena was the story itself. It wasn’t an obvious narrative about war—the angst and boredom in longing to be home—but that is war.

The faces of young men gazing into computer screens using Facebook and talking on Skype epitomized this sense of boredom and longing, so I went about capturing the expressions of soldiers distracted by a technology that connects them to something abstract, yet affords them the comfort in looking home, at war.

Adam Ferguson is a frequent contributor to TIME. Represented by VII, Ferguson has covered conflict for several years, primarily in Afghanistan.

Related Topics: , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

Stephen Waddell

Off the Radar: Jeff Wall Puts the Spotlight on Stephen Waddell

TIME LightBox asked Jeff Wall to select an image maker whose work he admire yet may be unknown to a wider audience. His choice: Stephen Waddell

Read More
Driftless: Photographs from Iowa

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 25, 2014

2014.  Gaza.  Palestine.  Schoolchildren head to class at the Sobhi Abu Karsh School in the Shujai'iya neighborhood. Operation Protective Edge lasted from 8 July 2014 – 26 August 2014, killing 2,189 Palestinians of which 1,486 are believed to be civilians. 66 Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians were killed.  It's estimated that 4,564 rockets were fired at Israel by Palestinian militants.

Inside Gaza with Photographer Peter van Agtmael

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,327 other followers