It is estimated that over 60 million people were killed during World War II.
In the face of such unimaginable horror and heartache, people resolve to be optimistic about the value of life and find positive ways to move forward.
What followed in both Europe and the Pacific at the mid-point of the 20th-century is a testament about the will to live in a better world.
Many great photographers - too numerous to mention, were shaped by circumstances of the post-World War II era.
Hungarian photographer Robert Capa (1913-1954) is perhaps one of the most influential of his time - certainly one of the most prolific. Through his work with a camera, Capa revealed both the beauty of the human spirit and the gruesome cruelty of man’s inhumanity to man.
Capa’s most notable quote is: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
With this in mind, I recently decided to experience Vintage Day at Howden Market Place near my home in Yorkshire. The annual event celebrated life in England from the late 1940s-to-the-1960s, a time of profound change in my country.
For the occasion, I dressed as a 1950s news reporter, Panama-type trilby hat with a press card slipped into the rim. Waistcoat, slacks, white jacket and a Dickie bow to compliment the look. With my retro-looking Fuji XT10 in hand, I set off for Vintage Day.
It always helps to blend, when taking street shots, no matter the era.
On arrival, I felt like I had gone through a time portal. Bunting criss-crossed the street, greasy 1960s bikers chatted around their machines.
Event photography is good for getting in close, and people expect it.
I drifted into the market place, slowly merging with history, taking a myriad of shots from all angles.
A 1940s female duo sang on a makeshift stage, using an old wagon trailer for cover.
Couples from this wide-ranging period jived in a spring, overcast market place. The clouds seemed to reflect the foreboding doom that once loomed across the landscape during the war.
Vintage cars and fair rides lined the streets. The French Resistance were everywhere. Soldiers were home on leave, chatting up the lovely maids.
Indeed, it was a gay, swinging atmosphere. I felt part of a film set. I had sampled the dress and heard the music.
But had I sampled the anguish? Lovers, husbands, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers never to return.
I think not …
That anguish can never be extinguished, and continues throughout the decades, yet we must always find a way of keeping a smile on our faces. In this way, we honor the dead and keep our memories of them alive by documenting the passage of time.
I got some great, retro-feeling street photography, and I hope they draw a smile …