Bullets are better avoided than contemplated. But photographer Sabine Pearlman took the time to get up close to pieces of ammunition, revealing the intricate design of their interiors in her photo series “Ammo.” In doing so, she sheds light on the surprisingly pretty pearls inside these deadly shells–what she calls “a pristine Zen-like perfection of parts and what others see as the epitome of horror.”
Ammunition is a fascinating piece of technology– the bullet is actually just the tip, poking out from a cartridge that supplies gunpowder to propel the bullet as well as primer to ignite the gunpowder. Pearlman captures the diversity of a wide range of types of ammo–specially designed for target practice, hunting, combat and other purposes–photographing 900 ammo specimens in a single day inside a World War Two bunker in October 2012 for this series, which received the 2013 Lens Culture Emerging Photographer Award.
In a statement, Pearlman says she “made a careful and deliberate choice not to provide a single detail about the name or purpose of these objects. By eschewing the practice of giving each an individual title or label or describing the type or age of each cartridge, she preserves their ambiguity and anonymity and offers the viewer the purest appreciation of the power of contradiction inherent in their shapes,” a contradiction she calls “Quaint and innocuous to one set of eyes and a paragon of poised destruction to another’s gaze.”