This Monday just gone, 28th July, marked of course the one hundredth anniversary of the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on Serbia, the first of that series of such declarations in late July and early August which led into WW1.
It therefore seemed very appropriate that Brockwell Park Community Partners chose the eve of that anniversary, last Sunday night, as the occasion for a commemorative event in Brockwell Park, a large public space in Herne Hill, London, not far from where I live. I was fortunate enough to be asked to photograph the event.
The evening was a mixture of music and readings of a very diverse nature; the music ranged from pipe music to Bob Dylan, while the spoken word included material on Walter Tull (the first black officer in the British army), as well as material by John McCrae, Edward Thomas, Vera Brittain and many other writers of the time. All this was delivered by a combination of local performers, a Gurkha piper, and the well-known British actors Charles Dance and Jason Flemyng.
The evening was poignant and moving, but there were lighter moments as well as some of the humour of the trenches shone through. Above all, as the sun sank through the cloudy sky and touched the far horizon, it was a chance to reflect – something which perhaps we should all make time for in the coming weeks and months.
I hope that the small selection of photos captures some of the spirit of the event; and my thanks to the organisers for asking me to take the images.