I spent 2 days this week on a tour with some colleagues, visiting the battlefields of France and analysing the contribution that the RAF made within both the first and second world wars. The trip began with a visit to the 'bunker' at RAF Uxbridge, where Winston Churchill witnessed the Battle of Britain from the underground operations room, followed by a very poignant and moving visit to the RAF Memorial at Runnymede prior to leaving for Northern France. With all that is going on in the world at present, it was a timely reminder of the sacrifice that our forbears had made in previous wars, and of the lessons learned (or not!) from those wars. At times I was deeply moved and honoured at having the fortune to look upon the memorials and be a part of the future legacy that these men and women sacrificed themselves for. There was also a feeling of frustration in the futility of warfare - it's exceptionally difficult not to feel a certain sense of anger when faced with rows upon rows of nameless graves. However, it is important to recognize the sacrifice given by those who faced danger (and continue to do so), and it provides an important aspect to my future photographic work and study in telling the story, through imagery, of those who continue to fight so that others may have peace.
I have been busy reading 2 superb books on the subject of photography in warfare, in preparation for my final course with the OCA. Both books are by David Perlmutter, the head of political communication at the Manship School of Mass Communication, Lousiana State University. The first is called, "Photojournalism And Foreign Policy: Framing Icons Of Outrage In International Crises" and the second is entitled, "Visions Of War: Picturing Warfare From The Stone Age To The Cyber Age". Both books have given me a really good grounding in the 'history' of warfare as viewed both through the photographic lens and through 'pre-photographic' imagery, providing some thought-provoking ideas on how to look at my own work. As I look deeper into my own vision of warfare through photography - especially through the 'eyes of the soldier' - I intend to provide my own insights into this fascinating subject.