Archie Balmer

I haven’t taken any photos worth sharing this week but I have been researching for the WW1 themed Mural that I am organising (check out my blog about public art or the facebook page for more info).

The photo below was printed as a post card. It is of New Zealand soldiers ready to join the war effort. Archie Balmer is standing in the center of the image, he has a flag resting over his shoulder and is looking off to the right of frame, he is my great grandfather, although we never met. This photo is so intriguing to me, not just because of the family connection but because it conveys so much. It seems to portray the mixed feelings that must have been in the air at the time; the social pressure to fight for your country, the anticipation of what was to come, the excitement, the knowledge that your brother or your neighbour or you cousin was already over there, the anxiety about leaving home, the idea that you could come back a hero or not come back at all; it all seems to be there in this photo. Even all of their gear bags lying around seem to hint at the haphazardness of war, their army issue clothes that perhaps don’t fit quite as well as they should.balmer







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