The History Of Military Uniforms From The 11th Century To The Present

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Huscarl, Battle of Hastings, 1066

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Mounted Knight, Siege of Jerusalem, 1244

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Fighting Archer, Battle of Agincourt, 1415

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Yorkist Man at Arms, Battle of Bosworth, 1485

In his series Soldiers’ Inventories, photographer Thomas Atkinson showcases the change in military kits of British soldiers over the course of 1,000 years, from 11th century to most recent days. His documentary starts with the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and spans throughout twelve other combats, including battle of Waterloo and the war of Afghanistan. The shift is riveting – from daggers to iPads carried alongside guns.

To gather his artifacts, Atkinson visited living history communities which use these collectives for battle re-enactments. His displays look like neatly organized puzzles and reminds of the established military order these soldiers faced every day. Atkinson says he would spend hours aligning the gear, starting with bigger pieces and filling in the empty spaces with smaller attributes.

“It’s a slow process, a bit like a game of Tetris – you place a few key items and then start to fill in the gaps. Sometimes you have to go backwards or start again because it isn’t working. I wanted to arrange objects in a way which would illustrate and give clues as to what they are – objects pertaining to food are grouped together, as are items which relate to the rifles and weaponry and so on,” Atkinson told DPreview.

Atkinson’s retrospective unfolds a great deal about the change in our warfare. First off: development in design which is best illustrated by the shift in armour: from colourful vibrantly colored vests, to camouflage. According to Atkinson, “the fact that certain objects recur is more fascinating than the ones that evolve“. Best examples of it being a spoon, helmet and something to kill the boredom with: from 16th century playing cards, to magazines and iPads. (via Wired)

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