Sunday, May 20, 2007

welcome to my new home

in the first week, i didn't take many photos. first of all, i didn't know what would happen if they'd find out that i was taking photos, i was sure that it was highly forbidden.. so most photos from the first days i have, are taken in our short freetime (pauses) in our room and outside the barracks.

first day. nobody knew each other. first meal. it was gross.

my new shoes. the "light" ones.

we all got several cloths, instruments and equipement to be stored correctly in our closet.

this is what it should look like in the end.

first or second night. "selbststudium" meaning, everyone should study basic military rules, facts, hierarchy and stuff...

everyone was allowed to make calls and write text-msg after 10pm.

this is grössinger, aka chinese aka koriander aka curry:

this is markus aka spix aka spixi aka nachtschicht aka GTI and in the background franz aka franz

spix is really proud of being allowed to wear his own private nike shoes for sports, since the ones we got from the army are ugly as sh*t

like i said. i don't have many photos showing the army from the first week.

thursday. the first day we could go out in the village for a few hours:

the first beer! never tasted that good !

gabriel, one of many many smokers. one of a few with brain though ;)

spix. a real cutie.

of course a few came back drunk. koreander on the left and glaser aka 16er blech aka gangster aka hiphoper on the right, who was so drunk that he used his shower gel as toothpaste.

matthias aka scharfschuetze was too drunk to stand right

wer got our rifle the other day. everyone was "excited" like koriander:

first time i took a photo while our "instructor" was inside. this is not a hipshot it's a "kneeshot" .. blurry though :(

a few recruits practicing how to salute correctly.

koriander is a poser.

first saturday. everyone went home. 5hours traveling for 24h being home. the weather was sunny until we left the barracks. right after we've got ouside, it started to rain and got windy.. great, ain't it ?

now you know why we call him gangster.. ;)

first step outside.

an old tractor passed.

2nd week:

we received our NBC-suits and protective masks and filters. we had to put them on in less than a minute, several times. everyone started to "swim" in their own sweat after some time. after we could put them down again, i decided to go to the "toilet" to make this photo.

kornfeld posing with the mask. koriander in the back getting rid of it.

kornfeld and koriander being finished.

monday evening. first time we were allowed to enter the "soldiers-home" a room of 25m² for about 120 recruits where you can smoke and drink beer for about an hour a day after official hours.

the alternative ash tray.

the "whole room" ;)

the left overs.

back in the room

the only women you get to see there are stamped on bottles.

gabriel taking a rest. we're actually not allowed to stay in the bed after we got up and before we go to sleep.

the other day a few others and i took a ride to the next village by army-truck, because we had to go to the oculist. i took the camera with me.

this photo shows all the other recruits that don't need glasses. they're standing in the formation waiting to be ordered to the x-ray "truck" which is standing left. (you can only see the stairs)

on the way there inside the truck:

in the waiting room. it took hours.

back in the truck. view ourside. the second truck on the right.

ride back:

from 5pm to 11:30pm we had combat training. it was raining and pretty cold. we had 10kg backbags, 5kg rifle wet uniforms... we were crawling in all kind of techniques through mud and last but not least had to stand for half an hour after the training outside in the field without moving since we got educated in "how to behave at night in the combat"...

oh and we all had defilade.. looks as if you fell in shit with your face.. and it's pretty crap to wash down again.

everyone was pretty fucked up except koriander, who had indoor service, so didn't do anything... because of his knee.. well on thursday and on the weekend we had free, while he was laying in the not-so-very-nice army-hospital. i was pretty spiteful ;)

stefan and the backpain. i felt it too.

gabriel looking like a psychopath. alex in the "vereinfachte grundstellung" the way you have to stand like in the army, in the back.

this is how i was looking like. kinda like a professional killer i'd say. very different.

it was half past 12pm already, since we had to clean our weapon and equipement first, before we could clean ourselfs.

the next day they sent me to the HSP (army hospital) because i couldn't feel my toes since a week anymore.. nice shoes.

i had to get up at 4am after we got to sleep at 1am after the combat training. so i was absolutely fucked up.

they took us to the next trainstation, where we were waiting for half an hour.

finaly in the train. everyone sleeping of course, including me.

3hours later, waiting in the hospital again..

2hours later, a few pills richer, i had finished there.. kinda liked that sign outside.

12:30pm took the train back to the barracks. everyone sleeping again. since the train was full, a few of us had to sleep beside the bikes.

back at the trainstation. 3pm. wating for the bus (4:40pm)

so we've got up at 4am after 2hours sleep to travel to vienna to the hospital, came back to the barracks at about 5pm and left the barracks (since the day after was holiday) at 6:30pm again.

the group of recruits that have traveled to the hospital have stayed about 1 1/2hours in the barracks and traveled about 6-7hours therefore, since we were not allowed to stay in vienna after the hospital.

at 6:30pm we took the train back to vienna, again 3hours of traveling, after we've been 1 1/2hours in the barracks...

resume: 2hours of sleep in the barracks, 10hours of traveling, 1 1/2 hours staying in the barracks.

that's army-logic.

next photos: traveling home that day with buddies.

more sleeping recruits.

stix getting ready for the disco (nachtschicht)

stix and zwieauer. i have a story with zwieauer.

every recruit has received a bag to transport private stuff. each of these bags look exact the same.. so what happened the other day... everyone was in hurry to get out of the barracks.. and zwieauer took my bag instead of his...

he was lucky enought that we (all together 15 recruits of 120) took the same train to the same direction.. so that we changed bags in the train.. his keys have been in there, lucky bastard..

friday, after holiday:

taking a ride with the Pinzgauer" to the optician

since both trucks have been full, me and 3 others had the privilege to ride the pinzgauer, which is more comfy, since it has leather seats instead of wooden ones and is closed on the back.

this is andi. he has allergies against everything. he is in the army but can't do more than sitting in the room doing nothing.

again, that's austiran army logic.

here you can see one of the trucks in front of us.

recruits getting off the truck.

at the optician. everyone has the right to chose this model of glasses, sponsored by the austrian army. if it gets broken, they will replace it for free. of course you can wear your private ones, but then you'll have to pay for it if it's broken.

actually this makes sense for the first time.

a recruit wearing this army model for the first time.

it was funny. a small optician in a small village in lower austria was filled with recruits, standing and sitting everywhere. this is the kids corner, with chairs designed for kids.. but in the army, you're glad about every situation where you can sit.

a recruit trying kids sun glasses.

back to the trucks. one guy sleeping already.

back in the pinzgauer. andi asleep, the other recruit short before sleeping.

back in the barracks, we had to clean our rifle.

this is franz. a picture says thousand words, they say. franz is only in the army to shoot he said. he loves his rifle.

rifles make you manly.

outside there is a small area where you are allowed to smoke. i kinda found it ironic to find a "luky strike" inside the ashtray.

playing chess in one of our rare freetimes.

6:30pm end of work, except for those 4, who had some extra education. you have these lessions, either if you were missing or if you did something incorrect..

poor bastards.. ;)

at the pizzaria

gabriel between 3 kaiser beers. our company commandants name is kaiser. funny.

manuel, the second one in my room with brain on the phone with his gf. i'm glad i got two guys with brain in my room, i would probably go amok if they weren't there.

later that night in the "Piccolo" a small bar, like the name says. it's the only place in that area where you can stay longer than 10:30pm.


this is a special recruit. he lost his purse at home on the holiday, so he decided to stay at his place to go to the police station, bank, insurance etc. instead of coming back to the barracks.... very bad decision. illegal absence, not a good idea.

on saturday (yesterday):

we were marching a few kilometers with the 10kg backbag, the rifle and the helmet.

i took the camera with me in the bag and put it out in the first break we had. we were allowed to put the helmets on the bags.

so everyone helped each other. pretty funny. that's army.

each break, a cigarette.

on the left, this is joseph. i don't know the other.

marching in the wood.

marching in the field.

some where behind us. i was running back and forth because i was always taking photos.

franz and his stg77 (rifle).

stix. he was the last of all.. we were waiting for him for a few minutes. the first thing he did when he reached us, lighting a cigarette.

a random recruit, being exhausted.

joseph in the wood.

after the march, we went inside the garage to clean our shoes. we had to put down our rifles in a row.

inside the garage, everyone cleaning their shoes.

that's it so far. first two weeks of military service.
i will try to capture as much as i can without getting into too much trouble, there isn't much time to take photos, since i have to do all the things like the other recruits too, so it's pretty stressing to take pictures in between..


marius said...

how long are you gonna be there?
cool pictures, cant wait to see more.

Niall Strachan said...

This is easily the best blog i've ever seen.

stunning photography, great stories too.

you shaved your head too!

is it pretty easy to have the m on you at all times?


Suzan said...

Wow. Perhaps it's because I'm from the Netherlands and military service isn't mandatory but this really creeps me out.
I find it quite fascinating at the same time too and really enjoyed this entry, some simply gorgeous but also haunting photos in it. But yes, very mixed feelings about the whole army thing in general.
Good luck with everything.

Bernhard said...

es ist echt wild, dass du keine probleme mit dem fotografieren hast. während der aba haben sie uns dauert gesagt, dass das fotografieren am kasernengelände (aber auch am zimmer) verboten ist. haben sogar einen angeschissen, weil er mit dem handy (!) fotos gemacht hat - frag mich sowieso, was sie verbergen wollen.

ist großartig. genau so ist das bundesheer.

simonbw said...

wow das war ein echt beeindruckender eintrag :)
irgendwie echt die ersten fotos die ich von sowas seh :P weil sonst darf ja keiner fotografiern.. wie du des immer schaffst, das frag ich mich auch xD
auf jeden fall ziemlich erschreckend, dass alles so ziemlich so is wie ma sichs vorstellt (bin noch ned in den genuss des bundesheeres gekommen)
haha bundesheerbrillen.. wahnsinn
viel spaß noch und hoffentlich keine zu harte zeit :)

Tomé Duarte said...

nice post mr Freeman. looks like this is true "M" Service for you.

here in Portugal m service ended being mandatory the year I was supposed to do it. besides, i wasn't into photography yet so what would be the purpose?? ^^;

and yeah like suze said mixed feelings about all this. in a way it's stupid to have a country without mandatory service and reasonable armed forces... it's nice to think about a beautiful world without war and all that but it's just not the way it is. and armed forces always have many uses besides pure conflict.

but then you see a retarded with a gun almost ejaculating and you feel there's something very wrong in there...

well anyway, forbidden photos always have an edge don't they. :)

michael kurz said...

ich finds schon arg dass du das hinbekommst bzw. bisher nicht "erwischt" wurdest :D .. wie der bernhard schon sagte, da sans ja normal voll genau beim heer .. na jedenfalls echt nett zu lesen und die fotos san auch ne geile doku .. find das gut, so dokumentierst du praktisch deine zeit beim verein der verrückten :D haha .. hat was

Carlo said...

That's great stuff Severin!
Kudos to you!!!

I really like the photos here, the march in the field is one of my preferred, but a lot are really interesting!

And the new iconic selfportrait with the suit.. Wow!

Best of luck with all the military c**p, I hope it will not last long!

markus said...

Ich hab das zum Glück schon hinter mir, einmal und nie wieder. Zum Glück hab uich mich auch so angestellt das die mich nie mehr wolten :P

Fotografeiren ging bei mir ganz gut, hatte da aber nur ne kleine P&S digital mit, war halt noch zu anfangszeiten :).

Die Bilder wecken zahlreiche Erinnerungen, die je lustiger deste älter sie werden sind :).

nacho said...

look at the bright side, you're taking home with you brilliant photos
I'd love to know how long do you have to be there... lucky me, in Argentina the mandatory military service has been removed years ago.
take care

christian said...

warum bloß heer? nur wegen der 3 monate weniger?
ich bin beim roten kreuz und hab's dort so viel besser als beim heer.
bekomm über doppelt so viel geld und brauch absolut nichts unnötiges zu machen. das arbeitsklima is einfach super. alle sind per du. so gut wie nie befehlston.
außerdem gibts bei weitem nicht so viele deppen wie beim heer!
dennoch sehr schöne fotos. reflektieren so richtig schön die sinnlosigkeit des rekrutendaseins. ich werd vl ne patientenportraitserie machen. mal sehn was die patienten davon halten...
naja, ich wünsch dir eine halbwegs angenehme zeit beim heer.

Yama said...

great, now because of you, i am seriously considering an MP.

do you use an m7?

Tanya said...

This is probably my favourite blog of yours - it's ace. It must be an interesting experience..

I'm curious to know how you managed to take all those shots if photography is forbidden - I mean, I've seen how sneaky you are with your cam, but surely this is more risky than any of your other photography? Like, where do you even keep the camera?! And what if the army peeps see your site? :P

James said...

So why have you not been texting me, Mr Smith?

Harrison said...


^ Is probably my favourite shot, totally classic. I'm glad mandatory service isn't in the UK, but I'm glad we can see your photos from it.

Look forward to more..

Nathan said...

i like this work the best

Sarah said...

ziemlich geile sachen dabei...

jamie x said...

probably the most interesting entry i've ever read.
cant wait for more.

artis said...

extremely interesting stuff indeed.
I wonder how long will you be staying there? also, is army service obligatory for every male in Austria or is it a free choice? do they also call in the ones who got higher education? in Latvia we recently transformed to the voluntary forces, but I got masters degree so it's unlikely I'd have to serve army anyway.
since you did not express your attitude towards this anywhere, it would be interesting to know your point of view and feelings about all this, since your opinion is always kinda original ;)

good luck and keep us updated!

theReddish said...

haha...wirklich gute fotos! ich frag mich aber auch warum dich keiner fotografieren sieht, ich weiss du bist shcnell, aber sind da nirgends eure großen aufpassenden vorgesetzten?

ma, bin i froh das ich zivi gemach thab, allein bei deinem eintrag krieg i aggressionen gegens heer schon!!!!

aaron said...

sehr interessanter beitrag
geile fotos

aber von den betten hab ich seit der musterung genug ;)

die rettung ruft in 2 wochen, mal schaun was sich dort fotografisch ergibt

spanishjohnny said...

ohh man das sieht ja schlimm aus, aber die bilder sind echt gut. schöne reportage art. respekt, sehr coole belichtungen auch bei so gut wie keinem licht. bin gespannt wie es weiter geht...

Klaus said...

Holla, so würde ich mir auch den Bund hier in Deutschland vorstellen. Da wird's aber wohl kaum einen Unterschied geben. Sieht manchmal dann aber doch nach Platoon oder so aus... Finde mit Abstand das hier am besten:
Wann du mir das in 1024er Auflösung schickst, werde ich das auf jeden Fall als Wallpaper benutzen. Ohne Scherz!

Sebastian said...

stress dich ruhig, die bilder sind gut. und zwei der sechs wochen um. bald die hälfte. geht wirklich schnell. bevorst dich verschaust bist eh wieder in wien und hast nen netten job. wirklich gute arbeit. und dein self im abc anzug is jetz schon ein klassiker ;).

flipo said...

Danke ! Nun weiss ich wieder warum ich auf die "Armee" verzichtet habe.

Sehr geniale Bilder

April May said...

The photo right after you said "each break, a cigarette." is my favorite by far. Amazing stuff.

Stelios said...

damn you. does the M fit in the pocket? damn I had an F65 during military service.
and WHEN do you develop all this?
great series. I thought we wouldn't hear from you for some time

Ryan Marr said...

I think this is the best entry I've ever seen you post.

this is my favorite shot

great work.

Octavio said...

Each entry just gets better and better... can't hardly wait till next one!

Awesome the marching ones.

emanze aus dem rathaus said...

haha. das wirkt hier wie eine neue reality-doku. severin@grundausbildung

Bobsch said...

wo bist denn eingezogen worden, severin? =)

ich hab die monate von oktober 06 bis anfang april 07 im wunderschönen mautern niederösterreich verbracht =)

Anonymous said...

You have a sadness in the eyes. And you look tired too. BTW the blurry ones remind me of the Robert Capa's "idea" of blurry pictures from the war. Isn't it ironic: a professional photographer taking blurry pictures. And they moved and shaked the whole world!

Don't you ever forget to take care of yourself! Cheers.

Inoka said...

like the best entry ever,can't wait to see more ! I like your photos !

Nana said...

Feels like I'm actually there..

Thanks for sharing this, Sev


Great entry and good luck with everything

pHeela said...

8-O amazing...

totally agree with mr.ryan marr. that shot feels like a WWII shot...

Pekka said...

Holy shit. I just got a huge flashback reading this post. It's funny how all that crazy shit is the same here in Finland too. And I bet it's the same everywhere. Like all those army-logic stuff, traveling in trains to holidays and back, cigarets on every break (I don't smoke for those who do consumption of cigarets grew rapidly), the way people evolve to sleep everywhere everytime possible, "soldiers home" , and fucking gas masks... God I hated those things and the "trainings" of using them. "Not fast enough, you're all dead. Again!" and moving wearing nbc-equipment was hell. It wasn't even fun to watch it when I was the one instructing the use of them.

I also wonder how long you're there?

Oh and on glasses issue it goes other way around here. You use the ones you have and if they get broken then army pays new ones. Cheapest possible of course.

Damn this entry was good and raised millions of thoughts. I don't remember everything I wanted to say but perhaps it's better that way. This comment is already growing too long :D

Your blog is only one that I follow regularly. It's pure ace like tanya said.

Heh. Take care of yourself there, will you. ;)


Pekka said...

And b/w is just so right choice for army photos. Armies won't change that fast so b/w photos from there look ageless.

alife said...

auf jeden fall eines deiner besten blogeinträge, bzw. eines der besten, die ich bis jetzt überhaupt gesehen habe!

die selbstportraits sind klasse. das eine ist ziemlich witzig, das andere sehr ausdrucksstark. ich würd dich aber auf beiden nicht wiedererkennen ;)

das mit dem allergiker ist so krank ...

bei den marschfotos hast du mit dem verschwommenen effekt voll eine kriegsstimmung eingefangen. tolle wirkung!

Das allererste Foto ist auch super!