sighinastorm: scrapironflotilla: A British o…



A British official cameraman in a trench standing with a Moy Bastie camera on a tripod.

Note a large steel plate fitted to the front of the camera. The cameraman is almost certainly Ariel Varges, to whom most of the film taken for the British in Salonika, Persia and the Middle East is credited, c1916.

@scrapironflotilla  But what about the person taking this photo?

Official photographers like Varges there rarely worked alone, so there’s a good chance this picture was taken by another official photographer, as the IWM says it is. 
But soldiers did sometimes have their own cameras. Usually officers, but occasionally some one of the other ranks were able to afford them too, usually through membership through amateur photography clubs and the like. Although the British army banned anyone having a camera at the front other than official correspondents many soldiers, particularly officers, ignored the ban and so there is a very large number of these pictures out there. The problem is that they aren’t catalogued or verified in the way official pictures were, so many have little to no context.

Richard van Emden actually covers the topic of private photography during the war quite well in his book Tommy’s War: The Western Front in Soldiers’ Words and Photographs.