“Victory for the Fallen”, 2019 | Luke Watson


Luke is a British documentary photographer based between London and the South West. His work reflects interests in history and the social landscape, documenting different communities and past events. Soon to be graduate of Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at Gloucestershire University, Luke hopes to be able to travel the UK and create long term documentary work around the changing social and environmental landscape.

We spoke to Luke about his featured series.

At 0730h on July 1st 1916, “the big push” saw thousands of British soldiers leave their trenches for the last time. In preparation for the assault, 1.7 million artillery shells were fired to in an attempt to weaken the enemy front line and allow the Allied Forces easy access to the territory beyond. However, a combination of faulty munitions and fortified trenches meant the planned “stroll” over No Man’s Land was shredded in a whirlwind of heavy machine gun fire and German ordnance. Within the first hour of the battle, roughly 30,000 British troops were killed or wounded. By 18th November, the total casualties from both sides reached 1.12 million.

As well as the seeing the debut of the British Tank and the modernisation of military strategy, the Battle of the Somme provided the setting for soldier-poets to produce texts that give readers today an insight into the emotions of one of the bloodiest battles of WWI. Based on the epitaph by John Maxwell Edmonds, this document traces the locations in which eight poems were written, from Fricourt to Mametz Wood, linking the contemporary landscape to voices from over a century ago.

His website www.lukewatsonphoto.com is currently down so if you want to see some of Luke’s work right now, visit his Instagram.

All images and text © Luke Watson