The idea for this project came about as I was walking through one of the larger towns in the North East as I was heading for a train. It was a couple of days before Remembrance Day and as I was walking along I happened to noticed that there was a lot of people who weren’t wearing poppies. Again I saw this as I sat on the train and I begin to think of a photo project that would raise the awareness of people to the reasons behind this tradition that we have of wearing poppies and what former soldiers do throughout the year once the spotlight of Remembrance Day has passed.
I didn’t just want to show veterans wearing poppies and marching to their respective War Memorials as people traditionally see, I wanted something different.
My idea is to show veterans, of any war or conflict, be it World War 1, although sadly many of the veterans from this area have died, World War 2, Korea, Suez, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leon, and of course the last 2 Gulf Wars in 1991 and 2003 and Afghanistan.
I want to photograph them in their natural surroundings, or where they feel more comfortable, be it walking their dog along a beach, sitting in a club with a pint, or reading, or something that shows what they do through the year when the focus has moved on and the average person on the street does not even think about them, or what they have done in their past.
Why do this?
What might it achieve?
Maybe nothing… probably nothing…But if the photos aren’t taken, then eventually, as the years march on and these veterans have died then the reasons behind what they did and the fact that they did it and were involved in such a big part of history, will die along with them and even fewer people will wear a poppy, let alone understand why they are wearing one.
So I’ll try and make some pictures and I’ll post them on here and maybe someone who wouldn’t normally wear a poppy, might, just for the day. It isn’t much to ask.
If anyone is interested in getting involved in this project…especially veterans then drop me an email and we can take it from there. Especially in the North East of England and North Yorkshire where I am based.