Armistice Day Portraits, Chelsea College of Arts, London

Les Eastwood, World War II Veteran - Wireman on Landing Craft at Normandy on D-Day 6th June 1944

Les Eastwood, World War II Veteran – Wireman on Landing Craft at Normandy on D-Day 6th June 1944

World War II Veterans at today’s Chelsea SPACE and London Taxi Benevolent Fund’s Armistice event: A Day’s Silence at Chelsea College of Arts. Such wonderful characters! It’s quite something that these people were part of D-Day…an event which changed the history of the world as we know it! They were in great spirits and continue to tour with the project Veteran’s Road Trip orchestrated by artist in residence Janet Louise Hodgson.

Singing Veteran

Singing Veteran

©gavinfreeborn (2)

Royal Hospital World War II Veteran in Scarlet Uniform

Still in fighting form!

Still in fighting form!

Royal Hospital World War II Veteran

Royal Hospital World War II Veteran

Retired London Black Cab Owner/Driver and Tour Guide, WWII Veteran Roy H Knight

Retired London Black Cab Owner/Driver and Tour Guide, WWII Veteran Roy H Knight

WWII Parachute Regiment Soldier

WWII Parachute Regiment Soldier

Karen and Judy, Cantabrians in traditional Red & Black in front of one of Christchurch’s many containers

As Nick and I walked towards a cafe I spotted this eye-catching pale blue shipping container and had an urge to make a portrait with it as the background. I quickly looked around and spotted two ladies walking up the footpath. I could instantly envision their red & black Cantabrian colours in contrast to the blue container so I stepped back and asked them if they’d mind standing in for a portrait. They were more than obliging and I thought it made the perfect finish to my day documenting the anniversary of 22.2 a year on. I will spend another week in the area and hope to continue meeting inspirational people and hearing their stories. The people of Christchurch are quite remarkable in terms of the spirit in their community. An Irish blessing on them! May they grow in strength from day to day! If you are thinking of visiting please do…you will be astounded by the city and it’s inhabitants…

If you want to gain a further appreciation of the events of the past 18 months you should watch this movie by the very talented and adventurous Gerard Smyth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIlxoV6uG3Q

Cracks in a damaged building by Hagley Park, Christchurch

A river of flowers in remembrance on the Avon

Finding the balance between remembering the past and looking forward positively

A high number of lost lives were Chinese and Japanese language students in the CTV building

Nick Lawry

As I was about to leave Hagley Park I noticed Nick shooting a panorama and spoke to him. I was about to do the same but instead I introduced myself and suggested that I link to his panorama which you can see here http://www.flickr.com/photos/nz-lazza/6773934088/in/photostream

Both avid photographers, we ended up spending the afternoon in a cafe talking about life, photography and the events of the last 18 months in Christchurch. Nick is a Cantabrian, a year from being a qualified Geologist (with an interest in earthquakes from a young age), a talented Photographer and a keen snow sportsman.

For me, this quick portrait I made of Nick as the crowd left Hagley Park, represents Nick and his fellow Cantabrians standing tall and proud of their city and region. It will take decades to rebuild Christchurch but you can guarantee that it will rise stronger and more united than ever before!

It was a privilege to meet and spend the afternoon with Nick and I hope we get the chance to collaborate again in the future.