Shining a light on bygone era

Reporter: Gillian Potts
Date published: 15 May 2015

GREENFIELD photographer Ian Beesley is harking back to a bygone era to bring First World War veterans back to life.

The award-winning social documentary photographer is joining forces with poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan to stage “Magic Lantern Tales” at Chetham’s Library in Manchester on Monday, to tell stories of those who survived and lived through the Great War.

Using an original magic lantern — an early projector — Ian has transferred his images of veterans taken in the 1980s to glass plates to fit the antique device. McMillan will add stories and poetry.

“In the Eighties I took pictures and interviewed as many First World War veterans I could find,” Ian explained.

The Bolton University photography lecturer, who was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2012, did nothing with the work at the time.

“With it being the 100-year anniversary last year it was suggested I should use them, so it developed from there and I hit on the idea of using a magic lantern.

“The first half tells the stories of men and women who survived the war, it’s very moving. In the second half we show slides I’ve collected from around that era, including propaganda material.”

Tickets are £10 on the door. Doors open at 7.30pm.

twitter: @GillPottsOC