Nothing Personal: The Back Office of War
"Almost every day on the news we are watching pictures of war and destruction, and the expenditure on armaments is setting new records year after year," writes photographer Nikita Teryoshin. His new book, Nothing Personal—The Back Office of War, goes behind the curtains of the global defense business, a dizzying oversized playground for adults with wine, finger food, and shiny weapons, very much the opposite of the battlefield.
"Dead bodies here are mannequins or pixels on screens of a huge number of simulators," he continues. "Bazookas and machine guns are plugged into flatscreens and war action is staged in an artificial environment in front of a tribune full of high-ranked guests, ministers, heads of state, generals, and traders.
I deliberately don't show you the faces of the businessmen. It is not my intention to fix everything upon a certain person. The anonymized traders with weapons coming out of their heads could be seen as a reference to John Heartfield's anti-war drawing from the 1930s before the WW2 'Dangerous Dining Companions.' I like the idea of this symbolism.
Nowadays, companies use slogans like '70 years defending peace’ or ‘Engineering a better tomorrow.’ It is hard to imagine that some people in the weapons industry believe these things. Still, there is a remarkable quote from the inventor of the machine gun Richard Gatling that says: ‘It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine—a gun—that could, by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as 100, that it would, to a large extent, supersede the necessity of large armies and consequently, exposure to battle and disease be greatly diminished.’ His motivation was not to accelerate the process of killing but to save lives by reducing the number of soldiers needed on the battlefield. The future Gatling wrought was not one of less bloodshed, however, but unimaginably more. The Gatling gun laid the foundations for a new class of machine; the automatic weapon."
Nothing Personal—The Back Office of War is published by pupublishing.