Summer Camp (2001)
In the summer of 2001 I photographed a secret training camp in Eastern Europe and a group of men who had travelled from all over the world to be there. This was an anti-International Brigade whose primary concern was preparedness for the reality of close protection and privatised military deployment and to gain the currency that sub-contracted security and military personnel would need in the increasing privatisation of conflict. They had come to be instructed in exotic weaponry and learn evasive techniques. At this point in time the private security and private military industries largely existed below the radar and often occupied a peripheral place in global conflict. However, this would change after the September 11th attacks that occurred in the next month after the summer training camp.
Amidst the activities depicted in Summer Camp there are two recurring things that run through the series - slumber and vigilance. In the photographed beds, both occupied and empty, I am reminded of a time before 9/11 where the idea of continuous war was a notion associated with Orwell's 1984 and perhaps not as a complete reality. However, as a counter, throughout the series we also witness overt acts of looking as men peer through binoculars at scenarios outside of the frame that remain hidden from the viewer and that are possibly just about to begin.