Every summer thousands of people from all over the world
gather in a Kentish field and leave the present firmly behind.
They step out of their routine daily lives and transform into
historical characters from the First and Second World Wars,
often with such vigour and obsessive attention to detail that
its hard to imagine them in contemporary settings. Taking
on a different name, identity and sometimes even a different
tongue, the role players re-enact battles and drills from an
imagined past. It is something more than acting, a collective
fantasy played out on a massive scale.

Jim Naughten

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Photographed against a plain background in a portable studio,
the re-enactors seem to gaze beyond the viewer in to another
time. Their uniforms and costumes are precise in their detail,
but the artist confuses our perception of what we are seeing.
The time and space are ambiguous and this disconcerting
effect gives the viewer the feeling that they are looking at
both the past and the present simultaneously. Naughten tells
us nothing of his sitters;’ lives, nor does he express a view
on their activities, but raises questions about collective
perceptions of history and our own relationship with the past.

Imperial War Museum