• Memory and Mourning on the Western Front: A Photographic Study of World War I Cemeteries, Memorials, and Commemorative Landscapes
    Brian Grogan

Somme American Cemetery, 2010, Bony, France. Photograph by Brian Grogan.

The World War I Western Front of France and Belgium is comprised today of hundreds of formal cemeteries and memorials that represent one of the most profound expressions of bereavement and public art in human history. These sites range in size from garden-sized plots of a few dozen graves to the enormous formal cemeteries and elegiac memorials designed by great architects of the era, including such luminaries as Edwin Lutyens, Reginald Blomfield, Léon Azéma, André Ventre, Paul Cret, and John Russell Pope. The unique aesthetic expression found in the sites of each nation honor the fallen while also recalling the catastrophic losses of the Great War, which shaped and defined the twentieth century. The approaching centennial anniversary of World War I is a compelling reason to study these sites of memory and mourning.

Brian Grogan is a founder of Photography + Preservation Associates, a photographic firm specializing in historic documentation and preservation. For more than twenty years, he has worked extensively with the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscape Survey programs of the National Park Service, photographing historic structures and cultural landscapes. The HABS/HAER/HALS collection in the Library of Congress includes thousands of his photographs. He is also an associate of the Digital Ark, Inc., a firm specializing in digital archiving solutions to preserve, manage, and share historic collections online. He has lectured on historical documentation photography for the School of Architecture’s Historic Preservation Program at the University of Southern California; the California Preservation Foundation; and the Society for Industrial Archeology, among others.