Hackney’s lenses relive memories of First World War

The photographic genius of Irish man George Hackney who had been an amateur photographer before and also a soldier in the First World War helped to relive the brutal and touching memories of the war.

Though taking unofficial photographs was illegal and strictly prohibited, Hackney’s fascination for the shutterbugs prompted him to smuggle a small camera that he could conceal from all along with him when he was summoned to fight.

The shots he had captured were realistic and heart rending. Most of the men featuring in the master shots did not live to see the light of the day as this futile war took lives of millions. Hackney fortunately lived for a long time and had entered into his late 80s. He shared his creativity with his loved ones. His mesmerizing work of art was given to the Ulster Museum in Belfast in the United Kingdom in 1977 before his demise. However it remained their unexplored and unseen for over three decades until the curator of the museum gave them to a filmmaker two years back.

A remarkable documentary has been made by Brian Henry Martin on the life an experience of Lance Corporal Hackney, who served the 36th Ulster Division. The photos captured by him are highly realistic and show life like images like a Sergeant mounted on a horse holding a rifle, and also personal moments of a soldier writing a letter. Mr. Martin stated that Hackney had actually handed over photos of his colleagues to their family who never returned after the War. This unique album will be displayed to the public at the Ulster Museum in the New Modern History gallery from the 26th of November.

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