Photographer Thom Atkinson has arranged the historic uniforms and equipment of British soldiers in interesting still life photos for his series Soldiers’ Inventories.
These photographs show militaria representing more than 900 years of history, from the Battle of Hastings in 1066 to the ongoing Helmand Province Campaign in Afghanistan. In them, Atkinson gathers what would be in the kit of a typical soldier, from armour and weapons to food and utensils, personal care items, and even games.
I feel like these could be displays in a museum, and while even a quick glance is educational and shows the changes in technology and warfare, military history buffs could probably spend hours analysing each image. My personal favourites are the earlier photos that document the Middle Ages — when the uniforms had more heraldry and brighter colours. However, I really like that the series covers as wide a range of time as possible. The changes — and similarities — throughout history are then more apparent.
Atkinson received help from many historians, reenactors, and real-life soldiers in order to depict accurate equipment for each time period. Some of the items would are what would have been issued by the army, while others represent the personal effects a soldier may have brought with them.
“I’ve never been a soldier. It’s difficult to look in on a subject like this and completely understand it. I wanted it to be about people. Watching everything unfold, I begin to feel that we really are the same creatures with the same fundamental needs,” the artist says.