Battlefields

02nd December 2011
In: Blog
A couple of weeks ago I was on a rare work "jolly" to the WWI battlefields around Ypres in Belgium and the Somme in France.

Needless to say its a beautiful part of the world, the memorials and cemeteries are deeply moving and fascinating places to visit. You can read all you want in books but its still difficult to get your head round the sheer scale of the slaughter which happened here almost 100 years ago. Just one memorial we visited at Thiepval lists the names of over 72,000 men to whom war didn't extend the courtesy of a known grave. One German cemetery at Langemark contains what just at first looks like a large flowerbed, but upon further reading is a mass grave with over 24,000 "Hun" soldiers in, mostly unidentifiable. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.



Of course every single grave here and every single name on a memorial represents a personal story of some mothers son, someone's brother, someone's dad. Its easy in the sea of slaughter on a ludicrous magnitude to forget the individual stories, which is exactly why these places are still maintained to this day, and are still being added to when bodies are discovered in the fields of the Somme and Flanders.



Anyway, despite the reputation for rain and mud we were lucky enough on our trip to enjoy dry weather and some very atmospheric light. I would like to go back there on my own time one day with a big camera and a tripod (maybe on the way to Fontainebleau?), but for this trip everything was shot handheld with the GF1, which is ideal for this kind of work. I've put a few shots on the Recent Work page, or you can search for "Battlefields" to find them.

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