Photographic Alphabet: N is for Jim Naughten
By: Christine Anglin
At first glance you are not sure what to think, are these actual portraits of people long dead or models? Well, the name of the series is the Re-enactors so one can only conclude he or she is looking at a modern day person dressed in yesterday’s garb. But why? Jim Naughten’s series Re-enactors captures First and Second World War historical figures. Naughten deliberately pulls each character out of their place in history and places them against an all-white background. Transporting the viewer into the past and the present simultaneously. The viewer is witnessing the harsh reality of the past and fantasy all at once. There is not context and that is intentional you have no idea who these people are aside from what their uniforms and general identity reveal: nurse, soldier, woman, boy. But, what are they thinking? What are they looking at? Yet, it is obvious that the person is still in character gazing into the distance with solid emotion in their eyes. They only window the viewer has into what exactly is going on: emotion.
Naughten has always been fascinated with the World Wars. Having spent many of his childhood years building Second World War tanks, soldiers and dioramas. He as well as a thousand other gatherers enjoyed watching the actors transform into their characters and re-enact the World Wars. Naughten was nominated for the Prix Elysée 2016.