BPOV MEAO (Behind Point of View, Middle East Area of Operations), P10015.003

BPOV MEAO (Behind Point of View, Middle East Area of Operations), P10015.006 BPOV MEAO (Behind Point of View, Middle East Area of Operations)
Printed in Canberra
Edition 1/1, 2009–10
Digital colour photographs, inkjet on paper
111.8 x 80.3 cm [image size: 95.0 x 63.3 cm]
Acquired under the official art scheme in 2010
P10015.001–010

The photographic suite BPOV MEAO (Behind Point of View, Middle East Area of Operations) records various people – both soldiers and civilians – in Afghanistan or on bases in the Middle East. Focusing on the backs of heads, some protected by helmets, the photographs highlight how vulnerable people are in these war zones. For Gladwell these photographs are portraits but they do not “privilege the face but other things such as clothing or whatever you can see on the figure’s body.”

Each photograph presents a lone person looking into a vast landscape or at powerful machines. They evoke individual and group motivations, thoughts, and feelings related to the often bewildering environment of Afghanistan, a dangerous place where the advanced technology systems of modern warfare are superimposed on ancient and severe landscapes.