As I am currently working on a project based around the concepts of banality and artifice I feel it is only appropriate –and self beneficial- to approach those topics here. Therefore over the next number of weeks I plan to explore a number of photographers who have used some of the ideals of both banality and artifice.

An-My Lê is a Vietnamese photographer who fled to America during the War as a political refugee and continues to live and work there. Lê whose work is understandably political, approaches the consequences and representations of war by approaching. such an incredibly well documented subject, in a non generic format. In “Small Wars” (1999-2002) Lê documented the re-enactments of the Vietnam war held in South Carolina, carried out by men as some sort of social activity.

Small Wars

Small Wars

Rather than approaching the topic as a photojournalistic representation of terrible events; Le prefers to photograph places where war is present psychologically. Taking “Small Wars” as an example, there is a structure to these re-enactments a beginning middle and end, a problem and solution. It reminds us that war is not this simplistic and not so easily placed into categories and then neatly tidied up. War is unpredictable, unnecessary and unquantifiable. In my opinion this approach injects new life into the already over saturated debate of war, the images do not scream at you (as other more reportage images would) but instead gently whispers an alternative ideology.

You can check out some of her other work here,