Cpl. Matt Callahan’s injury as a Marine in Afghanistan took him out from behind a rifle and placed him behind a camera instead. As a wartime photographer, Callahan’s work has yielded many beautiful and haunting looks at the men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces. Now, Callahan has undertaken documenting the hidden side of another highly publicized war, namely the Clone Wars from the Star Wars series.
In a photo series named Galactic Warfighters, Callahan puts a human face to the identical troopers fighting a radical separatist movement in a galaxy far, far away. Using figures from Sideshow Collectibles, Callahan’s work depicts a more realistically militarized Grand Army of the Republic in action, as well as individual portraits of several intergalactic combatants. Along with the images, Callahan offers detailed descriptions of his action shots and blurbs from those being photographed as they talk about the struggles of their war against the Confederacy of Independent Systems’ droid army.
Galactic Warfighters offers a version of Star Wars that many would never think of when seeing the flashy adventure films. His photos showcase a darker, more personal side to war and its consequences on those who fight in it. The black-and-white aesthetic helps to blur the line between reality and fantasy by both hiding the obvious signs that Callahan’s subjects are toys, and bringing a gritty sense of tragedy to his art. While some may find the clone troopers a disturbing allegory for life in the Armed Forces, Callahan reminds us that no matter what the war is, those fighting it are still people…unless they’re droids.
Images: Matt Callahan