Fascinating "Soldiers' Inventories" Series Chronicles British Military Kits From 1066 to 2014

Fascinating "Soldiers' Inventories" Series Chronicles British Military Kits From 1066 to 2014

Photographer Thom Atkinson’s series “Soldiers’ Inventories” presents a fascinatingly detailed look at the military kits of British soldiers from 1066 to modern day. Spanning over 900 years, the project displays the items British soldiers would have carried into battle during conflicts like the Siege of Jerusalem in 1244, to the Falklands War in 1982.

Creating the project in an effort to explore “the mythology surrounding Britain’s relationship with war,” Atkinson enlisted the help of historians, collectors, and historical reenactment groups over the course of nine months to meticulously piece together each military kit. Laying the items out to photograph them from above, the final images make comparison remarkably easy, as we see swords turn to rifles, and shields turn to bulletproof vests. Almost more striking than the evolution of warfare is the similarity between military kits over time. Despite incredible technological advances, the kits contain the same general items, especially items of distraction or personal significance, like playing cards, books and photographs. Atkinson remarks, “Watching everything unfold, I begin to feel that we really are the same creatures with the same fundamental needs.”

Huscarl, Battle of Hastings, 1066

Mounted Knight, Siege of Jerusalem, 1244

Fighting Archer, Battle of Agincourt, 1415

Yorkist Man at Arms, Battle of Bosworth, 1485

Trained Band Caliverman, Tilbury, 1588

New Model Army Musketeer, Battle of Naseby, 1645

Private Sentinel, Battle of Malplaquet, 1709

Private Soldier, Battle of Waterloo, 1815

Private Soldier, Rifle Brigade, Battle of the Alma, 1854

Private Soldier, Battle of the Somme, 1916

Lance Corporal, Parachute Brigade, Battle of Arnhem, 1944

Royal Marine Commando, Falklands Conflict, 1982

Close Support Sapper, Royal Engineers, Helmand Province, 2014

You can find the full list of the items in each photograph here. See more of Thom Atkinson’s work on his website.

Images courtesy of Thom Atkinson, used with permission.

Via [My Modern Met]

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Ruby Love is a photographer and writer based in Olympia, WA. Love's work focuses on the link between photography and storytelling, and the potential of images to be tools for activism.

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really interesting.... i wonder if another 200 years what weapons will it be... (lightsabers,shield,exo skeleton, )

Definitely like being able to see the transition of the uniform design from colorful and ceremonial to camouflaged earthy colors.
Also, I don't know if this was intentional but its interesting how the "what they wore" was slowly moved to the edge of the arrangement in each photo while the "what they carried" took center.

Seeing the cameras included in the gear is a reminder that they're not just used to create art.

Fascinating set of photographs, really well executed