Photographer returns to Normandy as Royal Armouries Fort Nelson marks D-Day anniversary

By Richard Moss | 30 May 2014

Russell Squires' photographs of the Normandy beaches, 70 years after the Normandy landings, are featured in a new display at Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson

a black and white photo of a fence post with the remnants of barbed wire on it
Russell Squires, Sword Beach© Russell Squires

The Normandy beaches exert a power that enthralls 1000s of visitors who are drawn each year by a fascination with the momentous and violent events of 70 years ago and the many relics it has left behind.

At the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson they are featuring the work of a photographer similarly lured to these historic locations but whose aim wasn’t to focus on relics of the invasion but rather the wider landscapes of today.

Portsmouth-based photographer Russell Squires is displaying 25 of his photographs under the title Landings.

"When I visited the Normandy beaches to the sites of the D-Day landings, I had no idea what to expect," he says, "or any clear vision on approaching the work - only that I felt it important to visit them in an attempt to reflect upon the great sacrifices that took place.”

Squires explored the coastline where on June 6, 1944, British, American and Canadian forces landed 70 years ago.

“The beaches still hold some evidence of the past; decaying concrete defences that bear witness to the violence of yesterday. Yet I did not want to focus on these structures – my aim was to document the surrounding landscapes, to reflect upon the current environment and to leave the connective discourse to the viewer.”

Fort Nelson, high above the city of Portsmouth makes for an apt location. Playing a vital role in the defence of the coastline during the 1939-45 conflict, with a former anti-aircraft gun battery sited at nearby Monument Farm, it is now home to the national collection of artillery – the big guns.

The exhibition is part of the Royal Armouries’ Inspired By programme - an initiative which harnesses the talents of community groups and individuals and invites them to represent the museum’s national collections in exciting and innovative ways. 

  • Exhibition runs June 1 - October 13. Admission free.

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