MacleanLight Horseman, Merton and Harold Farlow in uniform. Photo Courtesy Joyce Watson - Farlow Family Album
MacleanLight Horseman, Merton and Harold Farlow in uniform. Photo Courtesy Joyce Watson - Farlow Family Album

Photos from the frontline, by Valley soldiers

TODAY, as we commemorate the centenary landing of Gallipoli at Anzac Cove during the First World War we all understand this was a defining moment in world history.

But few would know this same era would also be a defining moment in photographic history.

Around 1910, camera technology had a seismic shift not unlike what we experienced when we moved across from film to digital technology a decade ago.

Back then photographers went from using a timber tripod and a camera the size of a small microwave oven down to the size of a large packet of chips with bellows.

Thanks to American Mr Eastman (Kodak) and the introduction of film and even better technology, camera's downsized even smaller to the now respectable size of something that looked like a Samsung phone and was called an Autographic.

The good old camera was now in the hands of the masses and conveniently fitted into the pockets of shirts, jackets and trousers - and could be hidden.

The potential for photography to be used as a tool during war began in 1848, but it wasn't until the First World War then it was used as a medium to record, control and exploit the war effort.

The very first photograph used to shock the public into outrage and become involved in the battle were the photos of the assassination of the Austrian royal couple.

At the beginning of the war soldiers were banned from having personal cameras and any serviceman caught with one could be court marshalled.

Censorship was strictly controlled and the written word was still the preferred option to convey stories through the media.

As the war progressed both sides of the war used photography as a tool for propaganda to influence public opinion and debate.

It became increasingly difficult for professional photographers to record the war without influence and so the most accurate true accounts of the First World War often lay in the hands of the servicemen and women who were there on the battlefields.

Today we call these people with camera's in their hands a 'citizen journalist' and it is through the eyes, lenses and family albums of local soldiers Frederick, Harold and Merton Farlow (Maclean), Gordon Attwater (Grafton) and John Rogan (Upper Fine Flower) we are able to share with you some of their personal journey across the battlefields of the First World War.



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