This project was prompted by research into the artist William Wyatt Bagshawe, who was killed in the Battle of the Somme. Archival material, including letters and sketchbooks, was shown alongside contemporary landscape photographs taken at locations where he fought and died. The project also included associations with other creative people who fought on the Western Front, including the poets Alexander Robertson, Charles Hamilton Sorley, and Wilfred Owen. The project pays homage to a lost generation of talented people, their lives cut short by the carnage of industrial-scale warfare.
The landscapes explore meaning and metaphor embodied in the letters, snapshots and paintings creating a sense of narrative when shown alongside the landscape photographs. The captions I wrote to accompany the images explain the significance of the location and narrative. In the Edinburgh show, poems etched onto glass accompanied the images.
From extensive research, the images of these anonymous places are energised by the knowledge that they once bore witness to the death and devastation of war. An avenue of mature trees photographed in mist takes on significance when we learn that this area was once a No Mans Land, and lines of stubble in a field appear like ranks of fallen soldiers. As the grass grew over the battlefields and crops were planted once again, nature incorporated the damage into the landscape.
Time and nature softens the damage and conceals the evidence of the war. It is through the juxtaposition of William Wyatt Bagshawe's artefacts that we are prompted to reflect again on the meaning of the landscape. This approach offers an alternative reading to the conventional portrayal of warzones in which nature becomes a force for restoration.
|Type of Research:||Show/Exhibition|
|Additional Information (Publicly available):|
With an interest in literature and history, my creative work in photography is interpretations of the landscape of Europe, informed by historical research, and connected to themes of identity, association, and personal loss. I have produced a successful touring exhibition on the landscape of the Great War, which I visited again in 2006, and produced some more work. I envisage a solo publication to coincide with the 100th anniversary in 2016. The approach is to show the land as a memorial in itself, with the land still showing scars of the conflict, but also a regeneration of the land to farming. The cutting of a maze crop, or lines of winter stubble where men were cut down by rifle fire, or mine craters deeply moulding the land are metaphors with a personal sense of place. This show includes personal memorabilia and letters to juxtapose the contemporary photographs.
I have been researching a project on the French Huguenots who came to England to avoid persecution in 1700, and intend to exhibit this work in 2009. This relates to my ancestors the Roubels, from Ruffec in the Charente Maritime region of France, who came to Westminster in London. The project relates to my interest in the ideas of personal identity, and also of a displaced people - themes that I have seen recurring whilst degree teaching at the UoAL, notably with students of Jewish, or African descent. An Australian genealogist has published a book on the Roubel family, and I am using this as a basis for the work, as well as linking up with archives and museums in London.
Working in black and white and recently in colour, I am well known for fine printing my own, and other photographers work. I printed an exhibition at the darkrooms of the Imperial War Museum from glass plate negatives taken in Scotland in 1914 - 18, of women working doing traditionally 'men's jobs' in factories and industry. This was exhibited in Edinburgh at the National Portrait gallery.
I am also continuing to print on silver paper to present galleries with recent landscape work. Currently I am experimenting with digital forms of capture and printing, as many companies have stopped producing silver based paper. I am doing high resolution scanning of my career archive of creative work on film, and I have been linking up with Shelley Rose the digital printing technician at CSM.
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design|
|Date:||09 November 2001|
|Event Location:||Imperial War Museum, London|
|Locations / Venues:|
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||03 Dec 2009 23:43|
|Last Modified:||26 Jan 2012 09:52|