The Hero Project

Aerial Gunner, Photographer Captures Moments From His Deployment to Afghanistan

While deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, Ed Drew created images using the tintype process, a documentary method last used in a combat zone in the Civil War. See photos.

Ed Drew courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery

Airman Ed Drew’s work is based on the history of the American military and their involvement in war as part of a brotherhood. While deployed to Helmand Province in Afghanistan in April-June 2013, Drew says he decided to document his life and the people around him as part of a fine art project. It extended to his own involvement in America’s longest war, he says, and it is meant to be a personal study. He decided to use the antiquated tintype wet plate process, the first time tintypes were made in a combat zone since the American Civil War. Tintypes are a slow and methodical process, which he says he felt would best exemplify the humanity of the people he works with as well as involve him from beginning to end of the creation of the photograph. Through his tintypes in combat, he connected to his brothers in arms, which helped to translate multiple people’s views of a war besides his own, through process and subject.

Ed Drew courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery

All tintypes were taken in the Helmand River Province, Afghanistan, during Drew’s deployment with his helicopter Combat Rescue Unit. The plates were all made between combat missions.
April through June 2013.

Ed Drew courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery

Ed Drew courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery

Ed Drew courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery

Ed Drew courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery

Ed Drew courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery

Ed Drew courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery

Ed Drew courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery

Ed Drew courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery