Since the battle that spelled the end of Napoleon Bonaparte's ambitions, 200 years ago Thursday, theword Waterloo has becomesynonymous withhumiliatingdefeat. But history is written by the winners, and the Battle of Waterloohas a special place in British history as a great victory. TheEnglish photographer Sam Faulknerspent sixyears shootingportraits of historic reenactors in Belgium whopride themselves on highly accurate costumes. Hisphotos are on display at Somerset Housein London throughout the summer.
This was a very unusualproject forFaulkner, who has photographedpresent-day wars in Afghanistan and Colombia. Hetoldthe Wall Street Journal,"I think the way we remember people from conflict has changed because of photography." He wanted to bring that sense of intimacy andimmediacy to a battlethat took placebefore photography. He also wanted to focus on the unsung soldiers, not the guys dressed up as Napoleon or Wellington.
For theAmerican version, what if a photographer captured reenactors of the Louisiana Purchase -- not Napoleon or Thomas Jefferson, justthe lawyers and diplomats?