Members’ Military History Lecture - Fields of Battle - Lands of Peace, 1914-1918

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A presentation by Michael St Maur Sheil, photojournalist and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

In his presentation, Michael St Maur Sheil will discuss ‘Fields of Battle - Lands of Peace, 1914-1918’, his latest photographic exhibition. This collection, captured over a period of seven years, has created an awareness and understanding of the events and historical implications of the First World War. Combining a passion for history and landscape, Michael will present a unique illustrative reflection on the transformation of the battlefields of the Great War into the landscape of modern Europe.

Michael St Maur Sheil started his career as a photographer in 1970 working in Northern Ireland, where he was the first photographer to be allowed to document the work of the Bomb Squad. His subsequent association with the renowned New York based ‘Black Star’ picture agency led to work on films and a wide range of editorial and corporate clients in over sixty countries around the world. In 2002 he won a prestigious World Press Photo Award for his work on child trafficking in West Africa. In 2006, in collaboration with the late Professor Richard Holmes, he began photographing the battlefields of the First World War as they are today. This work has now gained international recognition with exhibtions in Belgium, Canada and New Zealand. In 2014 the exhibition ‘Fields of Battle - Lands of Peace, 1914-1918’ was seen by over two million people when it was hosted by the French Senat in Paris and then here in London when it was opened by HRH The Duke of Kent in St James's Park. In addition, Michael photographed the Commonwealth War Graves Commission centenary book 'For the Fallen' which documents First World War cemeteries in sixteen countries around the world. It is this work which has led to him becoming a battlefield guide with an almost unrivalled knowledge of the terrain of the entire Western Front and other campaigns of the Great War. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and has recently been elected a member of the British Commission for Military History.

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