On Monday and Tuesday of this week Roger had two spreads in the Daily Mirror relating to stories of the First World War. For each story his brief was pretty loose and had he only done what was required we wouldn’t know as much about these two instances as we do now.
In “Finding Private Brameld” all that was initially required was an image of the area where these soldiers had been found, however when Roger and reporter Tom Parry started to investigate, the story became all the more interesting. By talking to Guy Behorel Deputy Mayor of Beauchamps-Ligny, they not only discovered the location where the British soldiers had been found but were given access to images of the area during the war, added to this, Guy who showed them the location revealed his grandfather had also fought in this area around the same time and so provided a greater depth and connection to the past for this story.
In “Boy Soldier Killed at 14” the sadness of the grave of Private John Condon was made more poignant by the images of a family who had gone to visit the grave. The grandfather of the two boys remarking that John Condon was at the time just barely older than his two grandsons. All the image made by Roger in these reports are either set up or ‘collects’ and while they may be very simple they do play a huge part in telling an important story about the appalling nature of this and other wars.
Going out to find and tell a ‘photo story’ requires more than just looking, you have to engage with people, investigate and uncover facts and information and be prepared to do what is necessary to bring the elements together that are necessary to make the story relevant to the reader and publication. Only by thinking with an inquisitive mind and looking beyond the obvious do photo stories develop from simple concepts into emotional tales.