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The A59 photographer

War's end

In 1921, he went back to Belgium and photographed war-torn Louvain, Nieuport and Ypres. At Louvain, the damage was contained, and his photographs show work on the battered cathedral proceeding apace. Ypres and Nieuport were a different matter. The cathedral and great 13th century cloth hall at Ypres are reduced to piles of stone emerging from acres of rubble. At Nieuport, the church is being rebuilt, though it stands in a wasteland. It is surrounded by slender wooden crosses. In one of the photographs a woman stands gazing at them. Is she his wife, perhaps? Did they lose a son here, in the Great War?

The A59 master must have been too old to have fought in the war himself. If he were a young man in his twenties when he went on his first recorded trip to Genoa, Bologna and Lake Maggiore in 1894, he would have been in his forties in 1914. By 1934, the date of his last recorded trip to Sweden, he would have been in his sixties. No photographs are recorded for 1933, and only a few in Lincoln for 1932. This kind of photography was only for the fit, and deteriorating health may have forced him to forgo it. But his name and his profession remain a mystery, and we do not know the date of his death.

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