All photos © Juan Travnik. Above: Cementerio Argentino. Darwin. 2007.
Argentinian photographer Juan Travnik captured the remnants of the 1982 Malvinas (Falklands) War through his haunting landscapes taken on the islands and the portraits of the conscripts and low grade military who fought there. Travnik says, “I was looking to show the effect of the passing of time on the bodies of its protagonists: their physiognomy and attitudinal gestures after so many years of having undergone the critical experience of war, the links and similarities which may or may not weave these photographed faces together, and the way they construct their image in the eyes of ‘the other’.” Great Britain and Argentina have long disputed ownership of the Falkland Islands. The 1982 war began on April 2 when Argentina invaded the islands to assert its control. Britain fought back, defeating Argentina and regaining control of the islands after 11 weeks of fighting. The submarine HMS Conqueror sunk the The General Belgrano, an Argentine cruiser, on May 2nd. This resulted in the largest number of men killed during the events of the Falkland War.
Going into war, Argentines had cheered their conscript soldiers. As Travnik explains, “They were referred to as our troops, our guys and there was a generalized feeling of support and respect for those who were at war to fight for our sovereignty.” It was a different story after the war, however. “[The feeling] I heard over and over from different veterans was: ‘The return home to indifference and silence was more painful to me than the suffering I underwent on the islands,’” Travnik says, adding that it took years for the 10,000 veterans of the war to find work and emotional support, and re-assimilate into society.
Travnik’s long term personal project on Malvinas was published in Malvinas. Retratos y paisajes de guerra.
Luis Alberto Gómez, Buenos Aires. 1994. Soldado conscripto. (1962). Regimiento de Infantería Mecanizado 12.
Antonio Luis Franco, Rafael Calzada, provincia de Buenos Aires, 2007. Soldado conscripto. (1962). Compañía de Comunicaciones Mecanizada 10.
Goose Green. Airplane crash remains of the Captain (PM) Fausto Gavazzi. 2007.
Mario José Noto, Ciudad de Buenos Aires. 2007.
Alejandro Héctor Pellitero, General Pico, La Pampa. 2003. Cabo 2º OP (1963). Portaaviones A. R. A. 25 de Mayo.
Mount Longdon. Argentinian position. 2007.
Luis Oscar Román, Corrientes. 2001.Soldado conscripto. (1962).Grupo de Artillería 3 – Escuela.
Eduardo Reynaldo Díaz, Rosario, Santa Fe. 1999.Cabo 2º (1960).Destructor A. R. A. Santísima Trinidad.
Near the Airport, Puerto Argentino. Crater of a British bomb of 1000 pounds, 2007.