For many the thought of war conjures up images of front-line battles, gunfire, suffering, death and destruction. Yet despite knowing what terrible atrocities are involved, humankind is inextricably drawn to war time and time again. Always this comes at a heavy cost. For those who have experienced such human tragedy firsthand, the battle does not often end once the fighting has ceased.
In completing this project I have seen men break down in tears at the recollection of painful memories, some created only two years prior, others reaching back more than 70 years. A person may appear physically unharmed, yet the invisible damage inflicted by war can affect them and their family members for a lifetime. This personal legacy is a burden carried by many Australians, yet it is not often talked about or understood.
Psychological conditions such as PTSD carry significant societal stigma in Australia and there is a high suicide rate among veterans. Factors such as these, coupled with public criticism and endless bureaucratic hurdles, often compound and affect the already difficult lives of many veterans.
This project does not seek to make a comment on the political aspects of war.
The aim of Fragments of War is to give respectful recognition as well as raise awareness of the issues faced by those who have served their country and have suffered due to that service.
Lachlan Gardiner is an Australian Photojournalist and Social Documentary photographer who has worked on stories both locally and abroad. He graduated in 2011 from Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Photography (Photojournalism). Lachlan’s documentary work focuses on empowering the marginalized and promoting social change. His projects vary from - documenting Australia's ongoing legacy of war, critiquing Australia’s horse racing culture and documenting the life of a homeless man in his community to working with NGOs in Cambodia. He is a member of the editorial board for The Australian Photojournalist. Lachlan is currently completing an Honours in Photojournalism and is available for assignments.