Hilary Roberts

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Edinburgh International Book Festival




After a week of remembering the brutality of the last 100 years, A celebration of the fallen victims, the young men that had no choice but to meet an untimely fate. From the war film footage of Beyond Zero (1914-1918). Which was harrowing in an insightful way and beautiful in a musical way. To this hour long presentation by The British War Museum employee Hilary Roberts. A pictorial history (with Mark Holborn) of how photography was developed as an art of propaganda, to show people back home.how effective the armed forces were being in there campaign to slaughter,before being slaughtered them selves. It was brutal. Stories of photographers who’s soul purpose it was to photograph men killing each other. Hillary explained that the photographers ended up going mad with trauma of such experience. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was only coined in the 90’s. These guys really did suffer for there art.



The rain hammered down on the Book Festival marquee as the disturbing images were projected on to a screen. For some reason I thought that this was going to be a book festival gig about the poetry of Ladies longing for the safe return of loves, who were fighting in this horrible horrible war. But it wasn’t, it was to promote the disturbing pictures of death and destruction that occurred in the Great War. Why anyone would want to purchase such a thing is beyond me. Never mind get one autographed. The reason that I don’t have a telly, radio or buy newspapers is because imagery such as this disturbs the joy out of me. And disturb me it did, I wandered home through the rain with a cloud of doom, looming precariously and hanging heavy in my heart. A Stormy Emotional Evening.


Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

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