ENP Newswire -
Release date- 23062014 - A veteran from the
An aspiring photographer, Byron began a degree at
He decided to embark on a project for his Photography course which would allow him to contradict the stereotypes of 'troubled veterans' he had encountered.
'I lived with another veteran who suffered from PTSD and several other mental health disorders,' said Byron, 28, of
Byron, who had already paid for a camera through crowdfunding on the internet, turned once again to social media in search of an organisation which was helping veterans to understand their identity. When he was told about the Surf Action charity in
He made several trips to
His subsequent catalogue of photos, called Surf Action: The Wanderers between two Worlds, is a first person account of the surfers, taken as Byron saw and understood them.
It starts with passport images of the soldiers taken by the military when they signed up - most at the age of 16.
'It's about identity,' said Byron. 'These passport images are the last image taken of them before they joined the military. That same image and a number is used for all identification purposes - it is what you are reduced to as a soldier.'
His photo-documentary shows how the charity has helped its members to find their identities and purposes again once leaving the military.
'One guy I met used to be a lifeguard before he joined the military,' explained Byron. 'When he joined Surf Action, he started to grow his hair long again and refused to wear shoes - he would go everywhere barefoot and he didn't care.'
The photographs were displayed at the Free Range Festival at the
They include black and white images of the veterans preparing to hit the waves and of contemplative portraits. Byron also took photographs of paintings done by some of the members revealing their inner thoughts. The catalogue ends with a positive, hopeful painting by one of the surfers showing a fist punching up through the waves with the words 'When you walk on the sea, have no fear. We will be there for you, when you sink beneath the waves.'
Byron explained: 'I wanted to show that because that's what I saw during my time with Surf Action, I saw how the charity helped people. It helped because it brought guys together to share a new passion and have new shared experiences, unrelated to the war, to talk about.'
Byron is now hoping to self-publish a book of his photographs through crowdfunding and to embark on a career in photography.
Surf Action founder and director
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