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Photos of Soldiers Faces Before and After War

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Mesmerizing Photographs Of Soldiers' Faces Before And After A War

Rollie WilliamsMore from Rollie »  

While the emotional repercussions of war aren't easy to measure, the before, during, and after pictures of soldiers who have seen combat tell a pretty unsettling story. There's something mesmerizing about these photographs, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Full disclosure: I had to resize these to get them to fit on the page. I didn't intend to distort porportions so if they look weird in that way blame me, not the photographer.

by on May. 17, 2013 at 9:04 AM
Replies (101-108):
by Bronze Member on May. 18, 2013 at 8:32 AM

I agree with you. I don't see any drastic changes in these faces. The lighting is sure different in each of them. However, remember that many of these men were probably just very young men, maybe some in their teens and when they come out they are truly men. You definitely grow up in the Military. My son went in when he was 19, and spent a tour in Iraq, and a tour in Kuwait. He was stationed in Germany, married a wonderful girl in his Unit, is now home in the States after 5 years and has a beautiful 1 year old boy. That sparkle is back in his eyes and life is full again. Military life is not all bad. War is definitely devastating for all. They come back with a different outlook on life, one of appreciation and understanding on how precious life is, and to live it to the fullest because it can be gone in a single moment.

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

They look older and in shape but honestly I don't see a big difference...

Most of their "during" pictures have the same expression but I have those pics of my husband as well...

Hubby came home from his second deployment leaner & with some grey hair. War ages you but that's not surprising...

by Silver Member on May. 18, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Thank you for saying this.

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

I'll be honest, Your reply just makes me angry...

My husband has not lost his heart or soul as you imply. He also has not lost his humanity. To make such an assumption about so many people is just ignorant. Are some affected more by war than others? Absolutely. But that does NOT mean they lost their heart, soul, or humanity.

Quoting lga1965:

I don't think war is good for anyone's soul or humanity. Who would be happy about causing death and destruction to people who probably have nothing to do with the politics involved. They won't recover from that. They certainly don't "look more alive". In better shape...physically ,maybe,but what about their minds ?

War sucks. If I had received a draft notice in the 1960's and could have been sent to Southeast Asia, I would have gone to Canada. It was not a legitimate war. War kills heart and soul. We knew Air Force flyers who never recovered. Physically they looked fine.

by Silver Member on May. 18, 2013 at 10:02 AM

If you look at pictures of my husband before during and after his deployments you see a difference but it's because he's aged it's been over 10 years since his first deployment. Also during deployments they spend a lot of time working out (well at least mine does) so you can definitely see a difference.

by Bronze Member on May. 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

The one big thing that pops out for me is that the lighting for the middle photo is from slightly under and in front of the face.  This makes their eye sparkle.  The before and especially the after photos are more diffuse and flatter lighting.  I wish they had not done that because it makes me suspicious of the way this was put together.

But you can still see the muscle tension in the middle photo.  Some of them have discernible worry lines.  In the after photo, almost all of them have "the 100-yard stare", and appear a bit zombie like.

by Member on May. 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

My grandmother has pictures of my papa before he went to war, some taken after he came back from Germany, and more taken when he came home from Japan. It looks like a part of him died while fighting. 

by Gold Member on May. 18, 2013 at 6:27 PM
In the few I've known personally, the biggest changes in appearance and personality came between "before" and "after boot camp".
by on May. 18, 2013 at 7:14 PM

They look SO drained....can you blame them?

by Silver Member on May. 18, 2013 at 7:17 PM

Quoting purpleducky:

Anyone else notice that the eyes change drastically during?

Of course they do. We can show a lot of emotion through our eyes. The after ones ..... they are haunting. 

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