Max Sabin provides us with one of the most grounded and visceral exclusive shoots that we have had the privilege of showcasing as he touches on so many real-life narratives and emotions in his interpretation of his given theme “Crossroads” which he presents via 5 original images.
The term “Crossroads” is an interesting word. It can be used to describe streets and roadways, or a big decision during a tough time. When I think of it, I think of the latter definition. My own life has been shaped by the choices I’ve made at certain “crossroads”, with the outcomes still very relevant in my life as a young adult today.
For this themed challenge, I decided to take several shots that represented moments that come to my mind when I think of a moral crossroads during war, including examples like looking back on a fallen comrade, struggling to save a friend that has been mortally wounded, or questioning the actions of yourself, your comrades, military or the enemy during the war. I know that the figures I used come from a fictional galaxy caught up in a fictional war, but in essence, war is war, no matter how its told.
People die on all sides of it, and it’s brutal. While taking these shots, I told myself that, “A person can only watch so much death before he hopes it comes for him”, and that is what I based the emotion of these shots after. Although I’ve never served in the Armed Forces, I’ve talked with several veterans who have, and from their stories I’ve tried my best to capture what it truly means to question oneself during a time as awful and unforgiving as war. Each image I’ve taken conveys a different but overarching meaning that is similar, if you know what I mean. They all deal with loss, sadness, anger…all emotions that one would feel if a friend was shot right beside you and there was nothing you could do to save them.
Before I describe each of the images, I want to reiterate the fact that I’ve never served, never killed a person, and the only thing I’ve done that is anywhere remotely close to being in “combat” is playing paintball as a little kid, which is still nothing like being in the heat of war. I mean no disrespect, and the descriptions are based off of stories I’ve heard from Veterans of World War II, Vietnam, Gulf War and the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is probably the most basic of all the shots. Using a Sideshow 1/6 Stormtrooper from the “Jedha Patrol”, I captured him looking off into the distance thinking about what this war had transpired into. Super weapons, planet killers, massacring civilians, etc. I know Stormtroopers were trained to not question orders, but after witnessing so much violence, one can either accept that reality or question why must it continue…that is what this trooper is thinking about.
This shot captures the second a standard clone of the 212th Attack Battalion was hit in the chest by a Separatist round, and he fell dead into the arms of a Clone Paratrooper who was right behind him. It goes to show that, despite being two completely different types of soldiers, clones were brothers and helped one another even in life and death.
The universal symbol for a fallen soldier is the rifle in the ground with the helmet on the stock. It symbolizes a makeshift grave and the camaraderie that exists between soldiers. For this shot I made it seem that the veterans were already moving on, as they had already seen stuff like this before, but the trooper looking back is new, and has never seen death up close like this. He looks back as everyone else moves on, thinking to himself “What have I gotten myself into?”
I based the shot of the Scout’s on one I saw in a Vietnam War book that was in my library in High School. I took the image from the perspective of a cameraman who just happened to raise his camera at the perfect time to catch the heartbreaking moment. The scouts are doing everything in their power to save a wounded comrade, but it is useless. The lack of faces really implies the saying that, in war, everyone is the same.
The last shot was based on the scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 war movie “Full Metal Jacket”, when Animal Mother is standing over the bodies of his two fellow Marines and says “Better them than me”. It’s a powerful saying that goes against all the camaraderie and brotherhood meanings in the military I was talking about previously. At the end of the day, the main goal of war for the soldier is to make it home alive. Some will do just that, while others will die on the battlefields or be captured and spend the rest of the war in a camp. With this final image, I wanted it to seem as if the trooper looking down was a veteran, taking note of the fallen “new guy” who was I’ll experienced and unprepared for the brutality of war.
From these images, I tried to make some parallels between a fictional war in outer space and a lot of the wars that many people know, study and even continue to fight in today. I used figures from the Hasbro 6′ Star Wars The Black Series line of toys and the Sideshow Collectibles exclusive 1/6 scale Stormtrooper “Jedha Patrol” figure. They are all marvellous figures and can be found online wherever action figures are sold or in person at select retailers. I’d like to thank the fine people at Exclu Media for giving me the chance to be featured, and thank you the reader for taking time out of your day to read this short summary of my shots.
A huge thank you goes to Max for really digging deep with such an incredible shoot coupled with his amazing knack for provocative narratives which make for one of our most thorough exclusive shoots to date. Be sure to catch more of Max’s work over on Instagram @shotsfromsabin and for more exclusive toy photography shoots youre in the right place.