Deep in the heart of America, the recreational use of military-grade weapons has become a cherished pastime for many gun-culture aficionados. Shooting ranges host annual recreational events that attract thousands of participants who utilize machine guns, cannons, bombs, and even tanks. Their targets include barrels, mannequins, images of zombies, scrap cars, and explosive charges.
Participants see this activity as both a sport and a way of life, connected to American ideals of freedom and self-reliance. Jean-François Bouchard’s photographs show this reality from a new perspective by documenting the remnants of this recreational pastime. Bouchard’s point of view brings to light the new extremes of military-grade weapon use and adopts a cinematic language that transforms reality into a surreal, parallel world. Shot from the sky or at night, the images convey an eerie beauty. Bullet-ridden shipping containers or flame-engulfed scrap cars show the aftereffects of a passion for heavy weaponry.
In Guns We Trust walks the viewer through an alternative view of gun culture, where family and recreational time completely hinges on pulling the trigger.