I've been documenting military Mideast simulations since 2006 and this is my chance to complete the project by photographing real and "fake" warfare.
Since 2006, I have been documenting Marines and Army training grounds that are built to resemble the Mideast. These simulations, at the Army's Fort Irwin and Fort Polk and at the Marine base at 29 Palms, are vast Mideasts with villages full of actors and "insurgents" and feature complex warfare scenarios that prepare troops before they are deployed overseas. I even "embedded" as a photojournalist in the simulations in 2008 and 2009. Along the way, I've taken both landscape images of what "Fake Afghanistan" looks like as well as pictures of the daily life in soldiers--not just moments of tension or combat but what it's like, in the twenty-first century, to be a service member on a day to day basis. You can see some of these images at www.nicholasgrider.com.
The goal has always been for me to embed overseas (for six weeks) in order to complete the project, in two ways: 1) to produce side-by-side images of both fake and real Afghanistan as a means of comparison between what warfare is like and how well it can be simulated, and 2) to continue the project of moving beyond news-related images for pictures of what life is actually like for troops overseas and what goes on behind the scenes of what you see in the news during the process of rebuilding and leaving the country.
The money I raise for Kickstarter will be spent on required or mandatory expenses, mostly on body armor, airfare, and insurance. The result of the project will be a photography book as well as art shows in the US and Europe that show the Two Afghanistans I've mentioned.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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card/postcard bought in Afghanistan and sent to you inscribed with a short anecdote about something that happened during my stay.
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signed thank-you card with Afghanistan photo cover image, brief anecdote, and 4x6"photo view from the base where I'm embedded
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
all of the above plus set of two small (6x9") prints (diptych) of fake and real Afghanistan
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all of the above plus bound photocopies of all official press releases, instructions, rules, and ephemera I have collected at Mideast simulations and will collect in Afghanistan
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all of the above plus signed limited-edition set of postcards and limited-edition hand-written sheet of "embed" advice I collect (starting with "Don't do anything stupid and you'll be fine")
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all of the above plus a "medium"-sized photo (approx 11x14") of your choice from one of the 15 at http://middledistance.wordpress.com. Each photo is limited to an edition of 10.
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
all of the above plus unique 8.5x11" drawing from the Do It In Public series (line drawings of press conferences on vellum), copy of the full-color photo book Two Afghanistans, DVD of short video Fake Iraq Death Lecture, and a paper "dollar" in Afghan currency as a token repayment
Pledge $750 or moreYou selected
all of the above plus large (approx. 20x24") photo of your choice from the 15 on the site (limited to an edition of 3 each photo) and a unique 11x14" text painting featuring text from the Media Ground Rules on a black velvet canvas
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all of the above plus Theater DVD (documentary by Suzanne Mejean about Fake Iraq), souvenir of your choice from Afghanistan (within reason), and Charlie Foxtrot short documentary DVD filmed with troops as participant filmmakers in Afghanistan
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all of the above plus a personal visit to your home in 2011 during which I make you an ethnic Central Asian dinner and give you a personal "slide show" of the work and share stories of the experiences, including those at "Fake Iraq" where, for example, I was shot point-blank with a 9mm, driven off-road over 6-ft "bumps" in a blinding sandstorm in a humvee with no doors or windows, and saw soldiers do a dance to "My Humps" (all in the same three-hour span).
- (30 days)