It’s #PhotoFriday! Today’s image, “The Glorious Dead at Peace” features Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, France.
Caterpillar Valley Cemetery is located just west of Longueval, France. In the autumn of 1918 a small cemetery was created at this site containing 25 graves. It was not until after the Armistice in November 1918 that this cemetery was greatly enlarged to accommodate the graves of more than 5,500 officers and men who where brought from the battlefields of the Somme and from other smaller cemeteries to be interred here. The memorial and the cemetery was designed by the architect Sir Herbert Baker.
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.
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.
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.
Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! This weeks instalment is an image of the entrance to the 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.
The Castle as we see it today consists of a curious collection of structures dating from different periods, built for various purposes. From the 12th Century Norman Keep to the prisons built in Victoriantimes, this site has seen many changes over its lifetime and currently it is the beginnings of evolving into it next incarnation as a popular tourist attraction.
Now let’s turn our attention to the main subject of this post, my favourite image from the visit.
Shown here is the main entrance to the castle, this magnificent gatehouse dating from the early 15th century was constructed during the time of Henry IV (1367-1413) incorporating into the new structure an earlier Norman gateway, this impressive structure rises to a height of around 20 meters (66 ft) and is believed to be one of the finest examples of its date and type in Britain.
With this shot I wanted to capture the textural quality of the stonework. When I arrived at the castle, the first thing I did was to walk up to the stone walls and put my hand on it. It’s almost as if I wanted to physically connect with it and its history, to know you are standing in a place and seeing something that many have for centuries before you is quite an amazing experience. It brings back to mind that I am, like you reading this blog, only the smallest of ink-dots on the large manuscript of time. For me that is a humbling yet reassuring feeling. By converting the image to black and white; it really brought out the tonal quality of the image, emphasising the rugged stone work, and for me brings back to memory how I felt standing there that day.
As you can imagine this building has been the backdrop of many historical events in our country’s history, here are some fascinating facts about Lancaster Castle:
In 1612, Lancaster Castle was the scene of one of the most famous witch trials in English history. During the Lancaster Assizes of the 18th an 19th of August 1612, twelve people living around the area of Pendle Hill in Lancashire were found guilty of the murder of 10 people by means of witchcraft. The most astonishing fact about this trial was that the key witness for the prosecution was a nine year old girl named Jennet Device, and three of the people accused where Jennets mother, bother and sister who were all found guilty and hanged along with 6 others. One died awaiting trial, and only once of those on trial was found not guilty.
On the 9th June 1975, the trial of The Birmingham Six started within the Shire Hall at Lancaster Castle. The trial lasted 36 days and on the 15th of August 1975, the jury found the six men guilty and were sentenced to 21 life sentences each.
Now many areas of the castle are open to the public, guided tours of areas inside the castle are available. Speaking as a person who has visited many historic properties of the years, the tour was amazing! If you are ever in Lancaster a visit to the castle is a must – I cannot recommend it highly enough!
I really hope you have enjoy this post today, if you would like to see some more of the images I took whilst at Lancaster please visit my 500px page (https://500px.com/reclickphoto) if you like them you can even licence them for use!
For more information about ReClick Photo and the work that I do please visit my website at www.reclickphoto.co.uk for more information.
Love them or hate them, tattoos have been around for centuries in many cultures all over the world. The practice of tattooing has many purposes. As we all know, its most common use is for cosmetic purposes.
Some tattooing fascinating facts:
The First ever documented professional tattooist in Britain was in Liverpool in the 1870’s.
After the death of King Harold II of England after the Battle of Hastings, it was by the number of tattoos that the King had that made it possible for his body to be discovered.
For most people, a lot of time and thought goes into deciding what design they want and what tattooist does the work. But on the the flip side of the coin, there are those who make a spur of the moment decision (often after a few adult strength ‘Lemonades’) and have to live with the consequences later.
Here at ReClick Photo, those unwanted tattoos do not have to spoil your photos any longer. Why not send them to us and I can make your tattoos disappear. Would you like to see a couple of examples of what I can do? Let’s get started with our first image.
What I wish to achieve with this image:
Remove the tattoo, without altering the existing hairline.
Leave the skin as smooth as possible, without any unnecessary blemishes.
Lets get to work. Retouching hair, in my opinion can be a difficult and lengthy process. So when trying to digitally remove a tattoo from the hairline, it defiantly is a bit of a challenge. The method I use is to clone the existing skin around the tattoo and cover over it with a soft brush with the opacity reduced to 45%, slowly building up the coverage. Whilst doing this, some of the stray hairs from the neck hairline have been lost, so with a very fine brush I draw in individual hairs. giving it a more natural look. This takes a little time, but the result it worth it. Finally I use the healing brush to smooth out any blemishes left with the removal of the tattoo. Lets take a look at the finshed result:
What do you think? Let’s move on to an example featuring a more extensive tattoo.
That is certainly a large tattoo! Let’s make it disappear. Using the exact same methods as the image above, I slowly worked on this image so that the tattoo would disappear. Unlike the previous image, with this one we have a diffent problem to deal with – shadowing. Here it is not only the skin that need retouching, the shadows do too. As the shadows are slightly transparent, the tattoo can be seen there also. To remedy this i just clone the surrounding shadow over it and the problem area disappears. As I did with the first image, I smoothed out the blemishes on the skin caused by the removing of the tattoo with the healing brush, and then the job is done. Lets take a look at the finished image:
A definite transformation! Now you can see that digital tattoo removal can be done. If you have photos where you have an unwanted tattoo on show, why not send it to me at email@example.com and I’ll do everything I can do to help.
If you have enjoyed reading this post, you can catch up With the first part here. Stay tuned for our new post coming soon – Fashion Faux Pas Part 3 – Hair.