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1914-1918, La guerre en images

Carl de Keyzer and David Van Reybrouck

Do you feel at this end of this anniversary year, that you have had an overdose of 14-18? Maybe, but as David Van Reybrouck notes, strangely enough we have very few images of the conflict. In the case of Belgium, the iconography on the Congo in 1895 is richer than the conflicts in Western Flanders. There is a reason to that of course: under difficult conditions the photographers systematically recovered the collodion from their plates to make new ones. Thus a great number of original photos were lost. The book, the fruit of a tight selection operated by Carl de Keyser - himself a photographer – shows we can find unexpected images: the Belgian towns emptied of their population by request of the German art historians to take architectural views. These photos for the Criminal Records Office of 23 young Belgian Jews killed on 6 August 1914 at Vottem. These autochromes by Léon Gimpel of children playing war, rue Greneta; these images of Isodore Aubert showing the arms plants in Lyon, where the women manipulated welders to make shells of 75. One hundred years later, Van Reybrouck asks a disquieting question: could the current suicide rate in Western Flanders, double of the European average, be the result of consequences of 14-18 in a region that was ripped apart by the war?

1914-1918, La guerre en images, by Carl de Keyzer and David Van Reybrouck, Mardaga, 2014, €45.

1914-1918, La guerre en images - Carl de Keyzer and David Van Reybrouck

Review published in the newsletter #369 - from 18 December 2014 to 7 January 2015

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