In the introduction to her book Warworks , Val Williams explains that “humanist photography, a vital component of photojournalism... also provides us with a vocabulary of opposites. Sitting in our gardens scanning the weekend picture magazines we can be aware of our own good fortune – we are at peace, these other people at war, our children are safe, theirs endangered.”
But these words were written in 1994 and our children are no longer safe. As at 30 January 2009, a total of 143 British Forces personnel or MOD civilians have died while serving in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001. My son was with 45 Commando, Royal Marines in Helmand, Afghanistan from October 2008 to April 2009.
Again in Warworks, Val Williams states that “to photograph war one does not have to be in a battle zone; nor does the appellation of witness always belong to the contemporary observer... the connection between the private and the public... is a subtle and eerie one.”
In order to explain my experience, as someone who has stayed behind, I kept a diary, a written and visual narrative of my life as a mother of a son in a war zone.