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Mourners carry coffins in Karbala on March 3, 2004.
Gunshots and explosions were a constant background noise.
Platon slept alongside service members on dirt streets at night.
Before “Service,” most of Platon’s photographs had been done in a studio.
Outside that setting, his images became freer and more emotionally charged.
The experience left him with a deep appreciation for what soldiers endure while deployed, and for the dangerous work it is their duty to carry out.
It is almost impossible to distinguish his Fort Irwin training-camp images from real battle scenes in Iraq.
Marines in northern Kuwait gear up after receiving orders to cross the Iraqi border on March 20, 2003. Jessica Lynch off a helicopter on April 1, 2003, at an undisclosed location in Iraq.
Look back at 100 moments from the war and the legacy it left behind. Bush meets with his war council in the Situation Room of the White House on March 21, 2003. Dressed in a flight suit, President Bush meets pilots and crew members of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln who were returning to the United States on May 1, 2003, after being deployed in the Gulf region.
We would document their training and preparation, and then visit them again when they returned from the war, to see how they—and their loved ones—were faring.*Sergeant Matthis Chiroux (left), honorably discharged in 2007 after five years of service, refused to be redeployed to Iraq. Sholom Keller (right) and Chiroux are both members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, a controversial advocacy group. As I got to know Platon’s process, I saw how integral his sense of curiosity was to his work. When he arrived at the Fort Irwin training center, in California, the temperature was more than a hundred degrees.
As we embarked on the difficult task of getting permission for the various shoots, it was his gregarious optimism that pushed the project forward. There, in a territory nearly as large as Rhode Island, the U. Army had constructed a simulated battleground complete with enemy combatants and Iraqi civilians.