The picture of Chris Thompson was taken in May 2006. This image is part of a long-term series of images I have been working on for the last three years on British Ex-Servicemen.
Chris, aged 20, was a private soldier with the 1st Light Infantry Regiment. His right leg was shattered on March 11th 2004 by an improvised explosive device (IED) packed with steel ball bearings. The IED was buried in a road by insurgents and detonated as his vehicle slowed at a police checkpoint in Al Amara, southeast Iraq.
Chris remembers the bang, the screaming and the blood he saw in the rear of the vehicle in which he was standing. He also recalls a British Quick Reaction Force (QRF) arriving and the Sergeant Major asking him if he could walk, to which the teenager replied “Na”.
He was operated on in Shaibah, the main British Army Logistical base in Iraq, then flown back to Selly Oak hospital outside Birmingham where a doctor told him amputation was his only choice.
This series of pictures on Iraq war veterans is due to be published in the autumn for British GQ magazine.
Stuart Griffiths started his photographic career after joining The Parachute Regiment and trained as a Unit Photographer at RAF Cosford in Wolverhampton. He then moved to Brighton and gained an Honours Degree in Editorial Photography at University there in 1997. That same year, Stuart was highly commended by The Observer Hodge Award for his Albania Photo-Essay.
Stuart moved to London in 1998 and completed work experience at Network Photographers and was an intern at Magnum. His work has taken him to Ireland, Africa and he was imprisoned in The Democratic Republic of Congo when civil war broke out there. Stuart moved to London in 2000 and became homeless, but used his experience to record the plight of homeless ex-servicemen, while shooting celebrity photos to make his living.
He has worked for many national newspapers and agencies, including: Associated Press, The Sunday Mirror, The Sunday Express and The Sunday Times, while his personal work surrounding British Ex Servicemen has appeared in The Guardian and Foto8 magazine.
See more work by Stuart Griffiths