JF Ptak Science Books Post 2414
Earlier in this blog I wrote about an extraordinary WWI news service photograph from a collection here of German prisoners on display, ca. autumn, 1918. (There's a description along with tighter, detailed images of the individual faces of the prisoners here.) In the great wide world of serendipity, where everything is possible, and nothing seems to be in the place you'd expect it to be, I found another photograph of that same group of POWs.
The original photo--truly a fine and remarkable image:
And the newly-uncovered photograph, showing this group either approaching or leaving the side of the cinema where their group portrait was made:
And the detail:
There's a lot of surrounding British soldiers and Irish Tommies, and commotion, and mud, and happy/confused/and something else in the faces of the victors as they paraded this end-of-the-war group of soldiers in the muck. In the original group portrait the soldiers are bookended by what I see as two extremes of soldiers in the war--the boy on the left, experienced with god-knows-what under his camouflaged and hardened baby fat:
and the guy on the right, who seems so much like a Durer-Death/apocalypse image itself, a thousnad-yard-stare man, a soldier of deep experience, and worn to the nub:
He seems to have the same expression in each picture:
Maybe he was just bone-tired, though he definitely gives the impression of you-can't-hurt-me, and perhaps underneath it all he was happy to have made it through the war alive, and hadn't become one of the 40 million casualties. In a few months, the war would be over, and perhaps most of the men in this picture got to go home.