Award-winning photographer Stuart Griffiths’ solo show ‘Closer’ returns home to Hastings after UK tour of duty.

‘Griffiths is a unique photographer as he shows US army life, not from an embedded viewpoint (like so many images around war), but direct from his experience of being there as he was a soldier himself.’ Magnum photographer Martin Parr

Stuart Griffiths began taking photographs when he was a young soldier on patrol in West Belfast in the late 1980s, carrying a 'sure-shot' instamatic camera in his chest-webbing alongside 120 live bullets, water canisters and field dressings. CLOSER is the culmination of his complete work to date and will be shown at Sussex Coast College, Hastings, from 19 September until 7 October 2014.

This is the first time that the entire show, including artworks, has been exhibited in the South East region.

The show includes candid photos of army life taken in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s during Griffiths’ time serving in the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland; an installation of his illustrated and highly personal Xeroxed letters home; and large-scale colour photographs of socially-excluded veterans, accompanied by Luke Seomore and Joseph Bull’s documentary film Isolation (2009), which charts the making of these images.

Commenting on the exhibition, Stuart said: ‘I began making these photographs as a response to my personal feelings towards war. This was long before charities started using cuddly teddy bears as a way of making serious injuries acceptable to the masses. I wanted to show the horror of war and its aftermath and realised early on that it was the young people that carried the worst scars of all. To me, when I began working on CLOSER, it was to be a visual protest against war; now the work is complete, I still feel the same way. Bringing the show back to Hastings is like CLOSER has completed its very own tour of duty and this is the homecoming.’

Griffiths will be available at the private view on Friday 19 September from 6.00 - 8.00pm to sign copies ofhis memoir Pigs’ Disco.

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