Thomas Bayard

I have long felt that weapons are tools.

These photographs represent the first successful rendering of the photographer's desire to make a statement about the war in Vietnam and his service there in 1967 and 1968. Feelings about the war and being in it are difficult to render in photographs, especially ones that don't show what most people expect to see in a war photograph. I was using a rifle identical to the one in these pictures and not a camera when I was a soldier. When I was not a soldier, I photographed what I saw around me when all was relatively calm.

These photographs are of an M-14 rifle, actually the M-1A civilian version, that I bought because I wanted to have a memento, this gun. After my military service, and after graduate school, where I studied History of Technology and got back into photography, I found the possibilities of this subject irresistible. If one needs a "scholarly" reason for these photographs, I can honestly say that I was influenced by Walker Evans' photographs of tools that he did for Fortune magazine.

These photographs show details of a gun. These are photographs of parts of tools. Look at them for what they are. Look at the shapes, the textures, the marks of the shaping tools. Some of the pieces are curious, some are beautiful, and some are only recognizeable as worked metal or some other material. The parts taken together, all these photographs taken together, do not make a damnable whole. These are parts of tools, guns. These are photographs of parts of guns. Look at them for what they are: photographs.

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