Between 2009 and 2013, the Italian photographer Paolo Verzone travelled through Europe to make the portrait of cadets of the continent’s biggest military academies. He opens the door of these prestigious places that built over time a real legend of excellency with their stories and their figures.
In most of these academies tradition and discipline prevail, as do aristocracy and in some rare cases a laid-back attitude. In each of these institutions, Paolo Verzone takes a wicked albeit respectful view of the cadets photographed in symbolic sites they themselves selected. In the ballroom or on the parade ground, in the main courtyard or on quays facing the sea, the poses are rather tense, stiff, ill at ease, but always proud.
Numerous cadets chose to pose before the portraits of glorious predecessors or of their monarchs, such as the British and the Spanish cadets, other did not hesitate to take position before the symbols of the history of their country: Emperor Franz Joseph for an Austrian cadet, a formidable steel cross for a future officer of the German navy. The cadets of the Polish naval academy opted for a more «warrior-like» environment: shells or models of submarines. The Danish cadets, more laid back and donning everyday battledress, stand with their hands in their pockets.