Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Man-Made Remnants of Second World War That Have Become Part of Coastal Landscapes

Marc Wilson, 46 years old, travelled more than 23,000 miles to photograph 143 forgotten sites in Britain, France, Denmark, Belgium and Norway, which includes scenes of crumbling concrete fortress at the world's largest man-made harbor in Portland, Dorset, elsewhere there’re pillboxes and batteries almost in the sea, camouflaged by falling rocks or split in two. Nestled among moss-covered rocks, these forgotten pillboxes, gun batteries and tank traps are forlorn reminders of how drastically Britain's coast changed to stop a Nazi invasion. Several of the Second World War defenses snapped by photographer Marc Wilson now blend in with their surroundings, dangling precariously over the sea or being split in two by the forces of nature. Marc Wilson researched the elapsed sites meticulously on the internet and once he got there; he often found the places he was snapping were not even well-known among locals.

He says; I've been a photographing for 15 to 20 years and I would often come across military topics in my work. Similar most people in England my family have a wartime history and I decided it was something I wanted to look at more closely. My family came from different countries like Poland, Romania and Switzerland so they were all caught up in the conflict. Another member of my family flew in the RAF. One way or another, as a photographer, I think this is my act of remembrance. I begin with a simple Google search and moved on to literature and other sources to find the wartime remains. I knew some of them are very distinguished but others were a lot harder to find. It was important to me to find more subtle ones, which people either didn't know about or which blended into the landscape. 

Off course I had to do a lot of research work. A fully high tide would have cut me off totally and once I had the shot it was a case of grabbing my tripod and running. Another photograph shows the temporary harbor structures which allowed the landings to happen 70 years ago and which still float undisturbed within sight of the coast. At St Michael's Mount in Cornwall, a pillbox appears almost completely camouflaged among oblong grey rocks on an overcast day. Some of the locations are no longer in sight - either submerged by the shifting sands and waters or by more human intervention. Some, especially on the continent, were destroyed by the governments of the countries. Others are hardly visible blending into the landscape so well that it is an effort to see them. 

The expensive £16,000 project was made possible after almost half the total was raised through online crowd funding. I know it was extremely unbelievable to get the funds. I truly believe that the subject matter that inspires everyone and that made me realize how imperative it was to follow through with the project. These man-made objects and zones of defense now sit silently in the landscape, imbued with the history of our recent past. However some remain satisfied and strong, but some are moderately decaying. Various now lie prone beneath the cliffs where they once stood. Whilst I capture the majestic beauty of these objects in their landscapes, the series of lovely photographs becomes much more than a set of traditional landscapes. My goal is that the collection will become an everlasting photographic record of the past. Source: Dailymail

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