'and something comes over you...'
In October 2013, I was selected as one of the finalists in the Ideas Tap\Magnum Photography Award. As part of the process, I had to produce five images for exhibition, plus a multimedia piece. 'and something comes over you...' is the result.
The photographic prints when shown in exhibition are different. Stand at a distance and you will see black shapes on the horizon line. Move closer and you realise that they are words and phrases: the memories of service personnel who were in the ships and landing craft off the coast of Normandy on June 6, 1944.
The work invites you to consider the sights, sounds and smells that greeted the Allied servicemen waiting to land in France seventy years ago and to reflect upon how it is for those who attempt to connect with the past, standing on a beach during peacetime, looking out across a tranquil, unthreatening sea.
Listening to the voices on the video, one would think that the only people involved in the D-Day Landings were British. Those of us who know even a little about WWII know this is not the case. British personnel served alongside those of many nations, including soldiers, sailors and airmen from Canada, America, France and Poland. For the purpose of this project, I carried out my research using the oral history archives of The Imperial War Museum in London and was not able to widen out the work further. It is worth pointing out that British personnel were involved in the landings on all of the D-Day beaches, including Omaha.
Many thanks to Ideas Tap and Magnum Photos for giving me the opportunity to make this work, and to Cinzia Baldessari who put all of my images, text and sound together to make the multimedia piece.