The Waiting Game

PhotographerSunil Shah
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

A soldier returns home... The impact of war on human lives is witnessed here through images which focus on aspects of human relationships and the surroundings which we consider as home. These are charged emotionally and made personal by shared dialogue appropriated from the subject’s Facebook status updates. The approach for this work is to draw attention away from the theatre of conflict towards the individual experience; highlighting the interrelations between escape, separation, (re)union and belonging. Hopefully, in doing this, experience becomes acute and perhaps more grounded, in high contrast to the media sensationalism that is often quickly seen and forgotten.


A soldier returns home...'Rob' the soldier in this story is from a low income, ‘broken’, home in a rural part of England. When he was younger, his father left home and left his mother to bring him and his siblings up. With few jobs available and no prospect or desire for further education, a career in the UK forces offered discipline, income and status. Rob is now in the Royal Logistics Corps performing a vital yet highly dangerous role of IEDD (Improvised Explosive Device Disposal). He has just returned from his second tour, this time from Helmand in Afghanistan. The photographs in this project focus on the six weeks leave he spends at home with his family. The work here deals with the fractured nature of a soldier’s identity and his relationship to the loved ones he leaves behind. With reference to a working life in the army; the stress and trauma of a being in a conflict zone, the ‘family’ he regards as his colleagues and the distance from civilian life, these images are of a displaced individual who slowly reveals himself, back to his family as the son, boyfriend, father, friend that was away fighting for his country. Life as a professional soldier, he now returns to what he left behind, negotiating what matters and what is at stake.

About Photographer

Sunil Shah is a Photographer and Filmmaker who lives and works in Oxford, England. His work concentrates on socio-political photographic projects. His most current projects are situated within contemporary discourses of documentary photography. He aims to find new strategies of approach and collaboration and new places of dissemination that provide accessible, ethical and meaningful representation. He is currently an undergraduate at the University of Westminster, London, studying for a BA degree in Photography.