This week’s image is of the Menin gate, Ypres, Belgium. This magnificent structure is dedicated to the British and commonwealth soldiers who were killed during the First World War, and still to this day are missing in the Ypres Salient.
Once completed, the gate appeared to be not large enough to contain all the names as originally planned. It was then decided by the Commonwealth Graves commission that the 54,395 names of those who had died before 15th August 1917 would be inscribed on stone panels of the Hall of Memory within the Menin Gate. The remaining 34,984 names of those who were killed and are still are missing would be commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing instead.
In an act of gratitude to the brave soldiers who fought for the freedom of Belgium during the First World War, every night at 8pm buglers from the local fire brigade close the road which passes through the memorial and sounds the “Last Post.” With the exception of the German occupation during the Second World War, this evening ceremony has been carried out each night since the 2nd of July 1928.
When visiting Ypres earlier in the year, I had the privilege to witness this ceremony for myself. Standing alongside hundreds of people within the Hall of Memory surrounded by all the names of the missing etched onto the walls, knowing that the ground I stood on was were hundreds of thousands of brave men made their way to the front line, was a very overwhelming experience. Even now, recalling it now as I write this makes me emotional. The dignity, gratitude and honour shown to all those who fought all that time ago was extremely poignant and humbling. The memory of the night will live with me the rest of my life.
Dominating the skyline near the Villiage of Thiepval, France, stands the Thiepval Memorial which commemorates the 72,246 missing, or unidentified British Empire soldiers who have no known grave who died during the the battles of the Somme which took place between 1915 and 1918.
This magnificent memorial was constructed over a period 4 years, from 1928 and 1932. This edifice which is the largest commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens who is well known for designing the Cenotaph in London, Rashtrapati Bhavan (the Viceroys House) in New Delhi, as well as many more well known structures.
The memorial is also the Anglo-French battle memorial which commemorates the 1916 offensive where Britian and France fought side by side. At the foot of the Thiepval Monument lies a cemetery containing the 300 British Commenwealth and 300 French graves which recognises further the relationship both countries had during the Somme offensive. When I visited this site earlier this year I was in awe of the sheer scale of this structure. I had seen many images of it, but it wasn’t until I was standing inside the main arch that I truly realise the sheer scale of this magnificent memorial. Surrounded by the thousands of names of the lost carved in the newly restored Portland stone I stood overwhelmed. As physically monumental in scale this structure is, it does not compare to the scale of sacrifice and horrific loss of human life that took place between the July 1915 and March 1918. Like many of the sites visited on the trip, visiting the Thiepval Memorial is something I will never forget.
Yes you guessed it, I was on my holidays again!! But don’t worry this trip has filled the ReClick Photo pool so much that there will be enough material to keep #PhotoFriday going for the next couple of years! As I have mention before I always shoot images in Raw Format so every image is processed individually so all these new images, combined with all the other images I have taken this year has created a vast ReClick Photo stockpile! In order to give you a tiny preview of my latest images (the rest of them you will see in the coming months) I am going to share an extremely special image of mine which captures a moment I have been waiting for all my life. Today’s #PhotoFriday image is of the Secession Building, Vienna, Austria.
Ever since I new what art truly was, I have known about the Secession and those who created and inhabited it. All throughout my secondary school education and then later on to art school, I learned all about the great secessionists such as the Great Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann, Otto Wagner, Egon Shiele, Joseph Olbrich, Koloman Moser etc. Through time these great artists became my own personal creative heroes.
On Friday the 1st of June 2016, I finally had to chance to stand on the steps of the great Secession Building which is situated near Karlsplatz, Vienna. Looking up I was so overwhelmed by what I saw. For at least the past two decades I looked at various images of this building but to be there, to take it all in, to touch its wall with my hands was a dream come true.
Above the magnificent entrance in bright gilded lettering is the phrase which is synonymous with the secession movement “Der Ziet ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Frieheit,” which translates to “To every age its art. To every art its freedom.”
These great artists believed that there should be no barrier between art forms. Their belief was in the gesamtkunstwerk or the total work of art. This means an art work encompassing all types of art forms. A great example of this is the Palais Stoclet in Brussels where every thing was designed and created to form a total work of art. From the architecture, to the paintings inside, right down to the egg cups and teaspoons.
This image, along with the others I took that day are a great reminder of the day my dream came true, and I hope you enjoy looking at the image just as much as I enjoyed taking it.
Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! Today’s instalment is an image I kept back from my recent post about my trip to the Canadian Nation Vimy memorial in France earlier this year. It features a view of its pair of Seget limestone pylons, and the figure of Canada Bereft (also known as Mother Canada) looking downwards.
I had the great honour of visiting the Canadian National Vimy Monument during a tour of First World War battle sites back in April the year. This post is the beginning of a number First World War related posts all cross ReClick Photos social media profiles, and items on the website. Since 2014 there have been many centenaries commemorating the many battles and other event of the First World War. These commemorations are still on going, and will continue to do so over the coming years.
This magnificent monument stands as a memorial to those 11,285 Canadians who were tragically killed in France and whose final resting place is still unknown. Located on the highest point of Vimy ridge, Hill 145, the memorial stands aloft a 100 acre site in which France granted the use of this section of the ridge in recognition of all that Canada did for them during the war. The only condition placed upon them was that the land was to be used to build a monument to those Canadian which fought and died during the First World War and take on the full responsibility of looking after the monument and the surrounding land. It was during the Battle of Vimy Ridge that all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force worked as a whole for the first time, and their success of managing to help capture the ridge from the enemy forces became a source of great pride for the people of Canada.
In 1920 the Imperial War Graves Commission had granted the Canadian Government three sites in Belgium and five sites in France to built memorials to those who bravely served their country. Later that year the Canadian Battlefields Memorials Commission was formed who decided to open a architectural design competition in which all Canadian architects, artists, designers, and sculptors could submit a design for a national memorial. Out of 160 designs were submitted to the jury for selection, 17 were selected for further consideration.
At this stage of the process, the finalists were asked to produce a plaster model of their proposed design. The Commission decided that both submissions by Frederick Chapman Clemesha, and Walter Seymour Allward were going to be realised. It wasn’t until October 1921, that the design by the Toronto based sculptor and designer Walter Seymour Allward was hailed as the winner of the competition, and Clelmesha’s had been selected as the runner-up.
In early 1922, Allward started his preparations for moving to Europe. After spending a few months looking for a suitable studio, he eventually settled in London. For the next two years he searched for the right stone to construct his design. He did eventually find it near Seget Croatia. His choice was Seget Limestone which was found at an ancient Roman quarry. The quarrying and logistical process to move the stone to site was a mammoth task and wasn’t completed until 1931.
Once the foundation was complete work could begin. Allward produced half size plaster models in his studio in London and the sculptors used these to carve the 20 human figures on site. A temporary studio was created around each figure which was carved from a large block of stone.
The foundation for this memorial alone consisted of eleven thousand tonnes of reinforced concrete. the pylons and limestone base is constructed with nearly six thousand tonnes of Seget Limestone, all of which had to be transported from Croatia.
Visiting this monument was such a overwhelming experience that I will never forget. Its size and grand scale, for me, symbolises the great sacrifice those brave souls made for their King and country. It is a place of reflection, contemplation, and remembrance.
We are now over one hundred years on from the beginning of the First World War, and even now thousands of men lay undiscovered. It was a war in which the world was changed forever. We are now living in age where there are no surviving veterans from World War I, it is now our responsibility to keep their memories alive. Their sacrifice and bravery cannot, and must not be forgotten.
Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! This week offering is “Multi-Coloured Midnight”.
Taken from the Vauxhall Bridge, this is a view of Vauxhall, London, at midnight. Almost abstract due to the darkness, this image is one of the most popular images ever on my 500px profile. Why not check out the rest of my images over there? Here’s the link to my Profile – https://500px.com/reclickphoto. Enjoy! If you like any of my images they are available for license for re-use.
It’s that time of week again, Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! Today’s offering is an image of an abstract sculpture designed by Thomas Heatherwick installed at Paternoster Square.
This sculpture has a dual purpose, as well as providing a striking piece of modern sculpture for us to admire, it also serves as Ventilation for an underground electrical substation below!
If you think the name Thomas Heatherwick sound familiar, he was responsible for designing the quite outstanding Olympic Cauldron for the Olympic games held in London in 2012. I strongly recommend that you take a look at his other works, he is truly a design superstar!
If you like this image and you would like to see some more, why not take a look at my 500px profile (https://500px.com/reclickphoto) where you can licence my images for re-use!
Whilst in Lancaster on holiday a couple of months ago I visited Lytham St Annes for the first time in many years. It was a glorious day, the sun was shining and it looked as though people had ventured there from far and wide to enjoy the beach and take a leisurely stroll along its beautiful pier.
With my sunglasses on, cool drink at hand, a fully charged battery and a spare SD card, I spent a lovely afternoon taking pictures of everything I could.
As much as light is at the very heart of photography, sometimes the type and strength of it can make, or break a great image. When working outside light conditions can change within seconds, so we must always be ready, with our finger on the shutter release button, waiting to capture the best image we can. This can be rather frustrating at times because you can’t force the sun to come out from behind a cloud, or stop a shower of rain just for you to take a photograph. Mostly it isn’t until I am back at home and I can see the images I have took that day on my larger computer screen that I can see if I have had a successful day. When you do find the one image that you are delighted with, you sit back and take pride in the work that you had done, and forget about what you had to go through in order to get it.
Personally, when I take my camera outside I believe the final result is only achieved when I can find that slot of time where mother nature and I can work in coalition with one another. It is almost like every relationship we have in life; work with one an other then good things will happen, but fight against one another then it can be miserable!
Now on to the elusive perfect shot, how many photos did it take before I got it? In truth, a lot! would you like to see it?
I stood at the very same spot for around 5 minutes taking many photographs of this view. This was due to the clouds moving quite quickly across the sky, the light was hitting the sourrounding area in many different ways. The trouble was that with each of the images had their merits, with different qualities. I have chose this image as my best shot, but I’m sure if you seen the others then you might pick different one as the best shot. That is the most interesting thing about art, it is completely subjective. I choose this one as it truly represents the atmosphere of the day, everything was bathed in beautiful light. Everything from the plants to the finials of the ornate ironwork of the shelter seemed to glisten and radiate in the early afternoon sun.
The only post-shoot work I carried out was that I decided to apply a slight vignetting around the image, and to increase the vibrancy ever so slightly – it didn’t need any more!
Like nearly everything to do with photography, it is important to be prepared. Here is a my own personal check-list I have before heading out for a day with my camera.
Ensure battery is fully charged, and SD cards have been cleared and ready to go. ( I also have a spare battery which I charge and have at hand just in case!)
Make sure everything is packed and ready to go in my camera bag, batteries, SD cards, lenses, tripod etc. (preferably done the night before.
The night before make a plan. Decide location in advance and check what the weather is going to be like (this can help with knowing what to wear and help determine what equipment you need to take).
If your chosen location is an extremely rural one, make sure you prepare a packed lunch, maybe a flask for a hot drink if its cold. Pack a map and make sure mobile phone is fully charged (Getting lost is easier that you think!).
Make sure to pack a lightweight water-proof jacket in my rucksack. (Especially if like me, you live in Scotland!)
Take a book with me, to pass some time between bouts of not ideal weather conditions.
Sadly sometimes there are days when, it doesn’t matter how many photos you take, the perfect shot is just out of reach. There are many times where I have had to revisit a location in order to get what I want. The main lesson is, don’t give up. It just means that when you finally capture that perfect image then the victory is twice as sweet!
If you like this image featured in today’s post then please visit my 500px profile at https://500px.com/reclickphoto where you even purchase it for re-use (terms and conditions apply).