One Marine’s View. | A Continuous Lean.

One Marine’s View.

Jul 4th, 2011 | Categories: Military | by Michael Williams

To be able to see the things a U.S. Marine must see. That is exactly what you get from the incredible photos of “Basetrack” from his deployment late last year to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines. The 528 images — nearly all of which were shot with an iPhone and filtered in Hipstamatic — paint a pretty stark picture of life as a Marine deployed overseas. The scenes look vaguely familiar after last year’s Restrepo, but Basetrack brings more of a raw viewpoint to things through his extensive photostream and his daily use of a camera phone. It really does make you stop and think about your daily life and what life must be like for all of the people fighting and trying to survive in Afghanistan.

Update: “Basetrack is an experimental media project, tracking the deployment of 1/8 – 1st Battalion, Eighth Marines, throughout the duration of their deployment to southern Afghanistan. A small team of mobile media operators is embedded with the battalion, transmitting their reports and reflections from Helmand province as they travel across the battalion’s area of operations.” [Basetrack.org]

[All photos by Basetrack] [Donate to the USO]

Comments: 23

23 Comments to “One Marine’s View.”

  1. Nicholas
    on Jul 4th, 2011
    @ 12:57 AM

    M,

    You might want to check out these also, an amazing series of photographs from Iraq shot with an M8 on patrol. Heartbreakingly beautiful and incredibly haunting.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/70355737@N00/sets/72157608856065753/

  2. Travis
    on Jul 4th, 2011
    @ 1:34 AM

    thanks for posting these. My youngest brother was in the 2/8 in Helmund. So important to know despite the politics that our young men and women are thousands of miles from home in harms way.

  3. REP96st
    on Jul 4th, 2011
    @ 2:03 AM

    I would get a iPhone just for that app.. I use it on my iPod Touch, but the iPhone camera supposed to be better..

  4. Aaron
    on Jul 4th, 2011
    @ 3:05 AM

    This might sound a little random but I’m often puzzled by the physiques of many US Marines. They often look overly pumped. Obviously strength is important on the battlefield but I’d wager endurance and speed are just as crucial and the latter are often sacrificed by those who focus exclusively on building muscle. Anyone from the Military with any insight?

    Amazing pictures.

  5. Shawn
    on Jul 4th, 2011
    @ 7:16 AM

    The photos really bring ‘it’ home and opens your mind into a world a lot of us cannot even imagine. Here’s to the men and women who have served or are serving to protect this country. Thank you.

  6. Gristle
    on Jul 4th, 2011
    @ 10:45 AM

    @Aaron

    What the hell else have you got to do while posted up in the desert for months on end? Boredom is probably the worst part of deployment, and so, well, we get jacked! You’re right that speed and endurance can be sacrificed when bulking like that, but if you look at the high-speed SOF guys who are in the shit often, they’re wiry endurance athletes with a lanky frame and Olympian endurance.

  7. WilliamYan.com
    on Jul 4th, 2011
    @ 1:34 PM

    Now this is awesome!

  8. Aaron
    on Jul 4th, 2011
    @ 4:50 PM

    @Gristle – appreciate the response. Can definitely get the boredom aspect.

  9. David Wright
    on Jul 4th, 2011
    @ 5:16 PM

    Very similar in content to: http://www.robertjwilson.com/ (go to books/Helmand).

    Except Wilson is a commercially seasoned photographer toting a Hasselblad…

    Good pix, thanks for posting.

  10. simon1
    on Jul 5th, 2011
    @ 5:49 AM

    @ aaron

    add mental toughness to the list. while muscles are always nice, i can tell you that some of the toughest people i have served with were often not particularly big or muscular. their sheer determination, never-give-up attitude and ability to endure adversity(discomfort/pain) set them apart. size rarely plays into the equation.

  11. Jennifer
    on Jul 5th, 2011
    @ 11:21 AM

    This is an extremely powerful photo set and an important reminder for all of us this July 4th.

  12. 2buttonswag
    on Jul 5th, 2011
    @ 11:33 AM

    Absolutely amazing photos!

  13. Jason
    on Jul 5th, 2011
    @ 12:18 PM

    Am I the only one who dislikes these over-glossed, over-saturated digital images? The content is excellent, but the images themselves look as though they belong in a video game. They have no depth and make the subject look thin and two-dimensional. Contrast these with the beautiful Kodachrome images in the post above this one—there’s just no comparison (IMHO).

  14. JWR
    on Jul 5th, 2011
    @ 2:57 PM

    @Aaron, don’t let the size fool you, Marines are also endurance machines. While we tend to focus on aesthetics more often than not, there is also a requirement for core conditioning that every Marine must meet. Check out the Combat Fitness Test when you get a sec. It’s not joke and it ensures Marines are well rounded.

  15. chris
    on Jul 5th, 2011
    @ 3:26 PM

    @ Jason, I couldnt disagree more. The images correctly fit with the period they are taken and i think, even more so looking back, will likely define this age. The over abundance of what you see now is, in my mind, contributing to the disdain for them but you cannot take away the from their zeitgiest.

    With that said, you are not the only one who dislikes them. I’ve heard similar comments many times.

  16. Cody Hammond
    on Jul 6th, 2011
    @ 1:59 PM

    Okay, forgive the length here. I’ve just arrived back from my native Texas where I attended a kick ass wedding in San Antonio when I saw this post. After the kick ass wedding, with Marachias and a full Catholic service in a Spanish mission built in 1732, we headed to the reception with lots of good Tequila. The after, after bash ended up at the hotel on the River walk in Old SA. As the last of us belly-ed up to the bar for a night cap ( or two) in walked a host of Special Force soldiers in their dress uniforms. I’d never seen so much metal and ribbons in my life on so many. I chatted up an older soldier, not in dress, but in cargo pants. He was an ‘old navy seal.’ They were trying to raise money and awareness for all these special forces families who had spouses KIA. How can that be? I had never met a more down to earth, pleasant group of men in my life…just wanted to put that out there and see where it goes.

  17. Evan
    on Jul 6th, 2011
    @ 2:24 PM

    Anyone have any insight on what Hipstamatic lens(es?) are used? John S. perhaps?

  18. JWR
    on Jul 7th, 2011
    @ 1:50 PM

    @Cody, take notice…the Soldiers and Marines with nothing to prove are usually the chillest.

  19. Hopping Frog
    on Jul 10th, 2011
    @ 8:34 AM

    A little bummed that this turned out to be a news media organization’s project and NOT that a single Marine. Still a cool project, but it doesn’t have the same panache for me.

  20. si
    on Jul 12th, 2011
    @ 7:18 AM

    probably a John S lens with Ina’s 1969 film…

  21. Green and Golden
    on Jul 15th, 2011
    @ 8:32 AM

    Cody: Why do families of KIA solders need charity, in a country as wealthy as the US?

  22. Cody Hammond
    on Jul 18th, 2011
    @ 1:11 PM

    Green and Golden, looks like I did a poor job of explaining. Your point is exactly my point. That and how cool, polite and aware…maybe I’ve been living in the Big City to long

  23. Rhon
    on Jul 19th, 2011
    @ 8:14 PM

    Some great shots here. American pride in photographic artistry.