Tag Archives: europe

#PhotoFriday: The St. Julien Canadian Memorial.

Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! To join with others all over the world, here is my contribution to #WorldPhotoDay – The St. Julian Canadian Memorial, Ypres.
memorial, Canada, First World War, Frederick Chapman Clemesha, design, belgium, battlefield, brooding soldier, Ypres, Europe, history,
St. Julien Canadian Memorial, Ypres.
 
After the First World War, The Imperial War Graves Commission made available 8 sites to Canada to build memorials. The Canadian Battlefields Memorials Commission was established to facilitate the competition which was held to find a design which would become the national memorial.
 
In 1922 the entry by Walter Seymour Allward was announced as the winner. Allward’s design would be later erected at Vimy Ridge, France (you can read more about my visit to this memorial here. The runner-up was the design submitted by Frederick Chapman Clemesha which you see in today’s photograph. Also known as the “Brooding Soldier,” Clemesha’s design was built at St Julien, Belgium.
 
During the First World War this location was known a Vancouver Corner, as the Canadian First Division was assigned here during the Second Battle of Ypres. On the 22nd April 1915 the German Army unleashed 168 tons of Chlorine gas from their position opposite Langemark-Poelkapelle, in the north of Ypres. This was first poison gas attack on the Western Front.
 
This striking granite memorial, which stands at 11 metres (35ft) tall, can be seen from miles around. The bowed head of the Canadian solider at the top of it stands as a powerful symbol of remembrance. On the memorial is a small plaque which reads:
 
“THIS COLUMN MARKS THE BATTLEFIELD WHERE 18,000 CANADIANS ON THE BRITISH LEFT WITHSTOOD THE FIRST GERMAN GAS ATTACKS THE 22-24 APRIL 1915 2,000 FELL AND LIE BURIED NEARBY.”
 
Standing in front of the memorial surrounded by its beautifully kept grounds, you cannot help but take a moment to stop and think of what horror faced those brave men during April 1915. Like so many locations we visited during my trip to Belgium and France earlier this year, this site at St. Julien brings home to me the importance of remembrance, what happened should never be forgotten and it is up to us to keep the memory of of those brave men, and what they fought for alive.
 
Lest We Forget.
 
Hugh at ReClick Photo.
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#PhotoFriday: The Menin Gate.

Happy #PhotoFriday everyone!

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.

Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium, Europe, Architecture, Architectural phototography, photography, history, First World War, Landmark, Visitor attraction,
The Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium.

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.

Lest We Forget

Thanks for reading

Hugh at ReClick Photo.

#Photo Friday: Thiepval Memorial.

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.

Thiepval, memorial, monument, architecture, structure, France, WWI, First World War, Battle of the Somme, Somme, Edwin Lutyens, battlefield, photography, photograph, travel, landmark, history, historic site, Nikon D3200.
The arches of the Thiepval Memorial, France.

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.

Lest We Forget.

Thanks for reading.

Hugh at ReClick Photo.

#PhotoFriday

Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! This weeks instalment is an image of the entrance to the Essex Farm Cemetery, Belgium.

First World War, WWI, Belgium, Europe, Cemetery, Remeberance, history, historic, visitor attraction, In Flanders Fields, John McCrae, Valentine Joe Strudwick,
A view of the entrance to Essex Farm Cemetery Belgium.

It is here at Essex Farm that the Canadian Physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Fields.”

A close friend of Mcrae’s, Alex Helmer, was killed in battle and Macrae himself performed the burial. The following day, just by the Essex Farm Advanced Dressing Station, Macrae sat in the back of an ambulance and wrote his famous poem. Sadly Alex Helmers grave is now lost, but he is remebered with his name carved on the walls of the Menin Gate, Ypres.

Among the many graves here there is one that really that really effected my as I read the inscription on the Grave. It is the final resting place of Private Valentine Joe Strudwick of the 8th Rifle Brigade (1900-1916). He was one of the youngest casualties of the First World War. Enlisting at Lambeth, Surrey, he was to become a rifleman at only age 14. On Friday 14th January 1916, at Boezinge, West Flanders, he was killed in action. Valentine Joe Strudwick died when he was 15 years and 11 months old.

Visiting here is something that I will never forget.

Lest We Forget.

Hugh at ReClick Photo.

#PhotoFriday

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.

Art Nouveau, decorative arts, Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffman, Koloman Moser, Joseph Olbrich, Vienna, Austria, architecture, gold, city, landmark, Europe
The Secession Building, Vienna.

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.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your #PhotoFriday!

Thanks for reading!

Hugh at ReClick Photo.

#PhotoFriday

Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! this weeks offering is something a little different. whilst walking down a little country lane in Belgium a couple of months ago a happened to take a look at a little small holding. As I paused to have a closer look, one of the sheep took notice of the stranger standing with his camera and wanted a closer look. It was really quite funny!

sheep, animal, livestock, farm, farming, agriculture, belgium, europe, hoidays, travel,
The rather inquisitive sheep

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thanks for reading!

Hugh at ReClick Photo.

Inspired by: Alphonse Mucha

Welcome to first in a series of Inspired By: posts in which I will share with you artwork I have created  inspired by well known artists, designers, and photographers of the past. This Inspired By: post will feature an artwork created with inspiration drawn from the great Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, Alphonse Mucha.

Alphonse Mucha © George R. Lawrence Co./WikiCommons
Alphonse Mucha © George R. Lawrence Co./WikiCommons

Trained and worked in Munich, Vienna, and Paris, Mucha created a prolific body of work, but it was through his poster designs that he gained international prominence and success. The actress Sarah Bernhardt features in some of his well known poster designs as Mucha was employed by her to design costumes, jewellery, posters, and stage sets. After several successful visits to the United Sates, where he had built up a following, Mucha returned to his homeland of Czechoslovakia where he worked on a series of 20 large scale oil paintings depicting the mythology and history of Czechs and other Slavic peoples, entitled The Slav Epic.

Mucha’s poster designs predominately featured women who were beautiful idealized symbols of femininity. Their curved forms, posture, and fixed gazes evoked a powerful aura of sensuality.

With this in mind I needed an image to begin with. My aim was to find an image which reflected the qualities that the women possessed in Mucha’s original poster designs. Turning to a few stock image websites I finally found what I was looking for.

Original image.
Original image.

This Public Domain image from Pixabay was perfect. The models stance and the way she held her gaze was just right, now I could begin.

Firstly I needed to decide on a colour scheme. Mucha’s work was often created with a limited, sometimes subdued palette of colour, so I decided on a colour scheme of muted yellows, pinks and blues. Mucha’s poster designs feature an abundance of natural elements i.e. Flowers, foliage etc, so I now turned my attention to source suitable images. With the colour scheme in mind I looked for images of flowers within my selected colour range. Here is a gallery of Public Domain images I selected from Pixabay to use within the work:

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Now with everything I need I now could start work. Firstly I cropped the original image and then painted out the background leaving only the models head and neck on the page. Next I moved on to arranging the floral element of the work. Opening each image I selected only the flower and copied into to my image of the model. What I wanted to create was a floral headpiece which sat on the models hairline almost like a tiara. The purpose of this was not just to add decoration to the image, it also serves as feature which draws attention to the models face.

Detail of the floral element.
Detail of the floral element.

As you can see I have also subdued the colour saturation of the flowers in keeping with the rest of the image. When creating an artwork, it is extremely important to think of it as a whole, each of the elements within it must work together.

Art Nouveau was one of the first styles that did not draw its inspiration from the past. It looked more to the present especially the natural world all around it. Some of its defining features included:

  • The whiplash motif
  • Elongated curved lines
  • The female form
  • Stylised Flowers and foliage

Now I turned my attention towards creating a more Art Nouveau look to my image. After considering a few options I could not decide on a way to achieve it.  After taking a break from the image I came across the solution by accident. I was sitting having a cup of tea and as I sat my cup down on the table, the steam that was rising from its contents where rising into the air creating the curves lines as seen in some of Mucha’s posters. By using decorative steam/smoke in my artwork could be the most effective way to issue the image with an Art Nouveau style, but still keeping a modern feel. After a few attempts I was finally delighted with the finished outcome. Here is the finished work in all its glory:

Mucha inspired art work.
Mucha inspired art work.

What do you think? It may not be not be a direct copy of one of his works, but I did not want it to be. My main goal was to create an image which embodied the spirit of his work, whether I have been successful or not I will leave that decision in your hands.

I first came across the work of Mucha as a teenager whilst at school, and since then he has remained one of my favourite artists. Please if you can take a look at some examples of his work, some highlights include:

  • Gismonda (1984)
  • La Dame aux Camélias (1896)
  • Zodiac (1896)
  • Rêverie (1897)
  • Moët & Chandon: Dry Imperial (1899)
  • The Slav Epic (1910 -1928)

A fantastic source of information on the life and works of Alphonse Mucha and his work is the Mucha Foundation you can visit their website at www.muchafoundation.org.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my first Inspired By: posts and please look out for more in the future. For more in formation about ReClick Photo please feel free to visit our website at http://www.reclickphoto.co.uk.

Thanks for reading!

Hugh at ReClick Photo.