Featured Artist

Kill Zones

Craig Ames

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Each weekend, thousands of role-play gamers and military enthusiasts head to over 200 locations across  the UK that have been 

transformed in recent years into arenas of non-lethal combat. Unlike paintballing, ‘Mil-Sim’ (military simulation) players are 

fundamentally concerned with creating ‘authentic’ combat experiences that are usually based upon contemporary theatres of 

conflict involving British and/or American armed forces. This is achieved, in part, by the use of: highly detailed replica weapons 

that fire 6mm plastic ball-bearings at high velocity, employing current military tactics within typical combat scenarios, as well as 

adorning genuine military uniforms and using standard army issue equipment. However, whilst most players go to great lengths – 

and expense – to ensure their immersive experience is as ‘realistic’ as possible, the settings for these ethically questionable 

activities often provide poor substitute for the distant, arid terrains of Afghanistan and Iraq. The photographs document a number 

of diverse gameplay arenas from around the country, exploring Mil- Sim’s fluidic relationship with reality and fantasy and how, in 

turn, pockets of the British landscape and derelict urban environs have been transformed to become theatres of recreational 



Defend the Outpost from Taliban Insurgency, Kent


Terrorist Bomb Threat, Shopping Centre, Berkshire


Assault on Chemical Weapons Bunker - North Yorkshire


Islamic Terrorist Cell Takeout - County Durham


Search and Destroy - Iraqi WMD Misslie Launch Site - Kent


Special Covert Ops - Cheshire


Command and Conquer - Attack the Watchtower - Norfolk 

Ames' interest in photography began when he undertook training to become an Evidence Photographer whilst serving as a

combat soldier in the British Army in Northern Ireland. Documenting terrorist scenes of crime and chronicling his day-to-day 

experiences of 'the troubles' proved to be a catalyst for developing his fascination with the medium.

Collectively, his early work draws heavily from his personal experience of his time in the military. Whilst much of this work can be 

viewed as autobiographical, Ames’ practice also encompass his wider research interests, particularly contemporary 

representations of conflict and the military. Working in collaboration with British Armed Forces veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan 

(alongside veterans' organisations and charities) he is also concerned with the 'unseen' consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress 

Disorder (PTSD). Most recently, his attentions have focussed on the commodification of contemporary conflict by both 

civilian communities and military institutions. Employing a range of visual strategies, Ames’ key agenda as imagemaker is to offer 

alternative understandings of conflict and its broader implications that seek to question established conventions.

Since 2001, Ames has exhibited work nationally and internationally at galleries and museums including: The Photographers’ 

Gallery, London; Baltic, Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; Turner Contemporary, Margate, Belfast Exposed and Huis 

Marseille: Museum of Photography, Amsterdam. Collections of his work have been acquired by museums and photographic 

institutions including, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.