Glenn Michael Morley

Glenn Michael Morley Follow
Toronto Ontario, Canada

Opera de Lille 2019-1915 (2019)
Photography


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About this artwork
This artwork is part of the gallery Fotografias de Color Gallery.

Techniques Digital Photography
Support or surface Paper
Framing No
Related themes

Photography , Digital Photography , Documentary , History , Black and White

Description

I find it fascinating to locate historic photo locations and shoot the same location today as was done then - or nearly the same - this photo shows the Before ( 1915 ) and After ( 2019 ) of Opera de Lille - the restoration of the Opera house in Lille France damaged in the fire of 1903 was not yet complete when the invading German Army entered Lille in October 13th 1914 to occupy it almost four years later until September 1918 - somewhat surprisingly - the restoration of the historic Opera house... Read More I find it fascinating to locate historic photo locations and shoot the same location today as was done then - or nearly the same - this photo shows the Before ( 1915 ) and After ( 2019 ) of Opera de Lille - the restoration of the Opera house in Lille France damaged in the fire of 1903 was not yet complete when the invading German Army entered Lille in October 13th 1914 to occupy it almost four years later until September 1918 - somewhat surprisingly - the restoration of the historic Opera house was completed under German rule in December 1915 and showcased numerous German Operas such as "Iphigenia in Tauris" by Goethe and Franz Liszt's "Festklange" attended by various German dignitaries including Crown Prince Rupert of Bavaria - on 11th January 1916 at 3:30 AM a large ammunition dump named Les 18 Ponts used to store artillery shells for the Western Front exploded leaving a 150m wide by 30m deep crater and demolished multiple houses and buildings in the Moulin district killing 104 citizens and 30 Germans - the cause was never determined - few history texts exist that discuss the fate of the people in the towns and villages that came under German rule in the occupied regions of France and Belgium - in Lille there were spy networks established to send information to the Allied forces about German Army developments - several were discovered and those caught summarily shot - a Memorial exists in Lille "Monument aux Fusilles lillois" that shows the defiant pose taken by a token few of those who were executed - in order - on the left looking upwards stands shopkeeper Georges Maertens - next to him with arms folded and a steady gaze is Armentières salesman Ernest Deceuninck - to his right looking down with his arms hanging by his side stands Belgian worker Sylvère Verhulst and finally wine seller and local secretary of the Human Rights League Eugène Jacquet waits calmly for his fate with hands in pockets and a defiant look in his eyes - further to the right lying face down on the ground is the young student Léon Trulin who seems to be already dead although he was executed a month and a half later than the others on 8 November 1915 - in 1940 during the second occupation of Lille by the German Army the monument was destroyed - after the War it was rebuilt and stands to this day - there is much more to be said about the German occupation of Lille - enough for a book but that is for another day ... it is an eerie feeling to be standing in or near the same spot where that photographer once stood and shoot the same setting - you can see in the background on the right the destroyed buildings in the initial shelling of the city that destroyed numerous buildings near the Rail Station and city centre that have since been rebuilt - the ghosts of the host of German soldiers standing in the foreground have now vanished - the street lamp in the foreground has seemingly had its upper half reconfigured and has been shifted to the centre of the 2019 photo - the reason for the change is unknown perhaps improved electrical wiring or the original was destroyed - for myself when I see this I have a deeper sense of what history is and how it is created and forgotten - it is certain few if any who stand in this same location today realize they are standing in the footsteps of the German Army ...

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