In 2013, British-born photographer Charles Ommanney was commissioned by the German publication Stern to travel around the United States and photograph Americans with their guns. To his surprise, he found most Americans were more than willing to have their pictures taken with their cherished weaponry.
“I can’t imagine going around England and knocking on someone’s door and saying ‘I’d like to photograph you with your shotgun.’ They’d look at me like I was a lunatic. But for these people, there was nothing in any shape or form abnormal about me wanting to do this; [their guns were] a perfectly normal extension of their lives,” Ommanney said.
That’s right Ommanney, welcome to ‘murica.
Ommanney met with gun-owners in six different states in the Western and Southern regions of the country. While many owned guns for protection purposes, quite a few said they purchased the firearms because they find the weaponry beautiful. The photographer discovered that gun-ownership is attractive to many different types of people, from devoted dads to innocent all-American girls to victims of previous violence.
In order to keep his project from being classified as typical liberal “NRA bashing,” the artist took measures to ensure that his subjects displayed a sense of “normalcy.” Instead of photographing them at target ranges or NRA meetings, Ommanney adopted a fly on the wall approach, capturing each unique gun owner in his or her own home. The series provides a much-needed glimpse at what gun-ownership means in America today.