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Martin Roemers June 24, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Holland.
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Frederick Lennart Bentley, b.1924, England

Martin Roemers (b.1962, The Netherlands) received his formal training in photography at the Academy of Arts in Enschede (The Netherlands).  He has worked in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Russia,  Ukraine, Belarus, Mexico, Eritrea, Ruanda, Syria, India etc. The themes of Martin Roemers vary from the final days of production of the Trabant, the car symbol of the DDR, to portraits of people who were blinded as a result of World War II in “The Eyes of War”, and the deserted and guilty landscape of the Cold War in “Relics of the Cold War”. With his portraits of World War II veterans, he won a prize in World Press Photo 2006. A book of the project: ‘The Never-Ending War’,  was published  by QV publishers, The Netherlands. He is represented by Panos Pictures in the UK and Laif in Germany.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph of Frederick Lennart Bentley is from my project called The Never-Ending War: portraits and interviews of WWII veterans from Germany, Russia, UK, Poland, USA.”

“I was blinded by a German grenade during a night patrol near Caen in Normandy. My comrades left me behind. That was how it was: you didn’t help the wounded. You had to look after yourself. I managed to reach my own lines on my own. If the Germans had found me, they would have certainly shot me. You don’t give the wounded a bed, you bury them. I would have done the same myself. People who weren’t in the war can’t understand that. You’re living with death 24 hours a day. The war was over for me. I worked for 33 years at the Leyland factories as a mechanical engineer. I inspected machines by touch. I had work, I married and I had four children. I had a good life after the war.”

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Comments

1. Sheila Newbery - June 26, 2009

That’s *quite* a portrait—the grenade still resounds.

2. Anke Jacob - July 31, 2009

As a portrait photographer which I am myself and also a german I feel touched twice by this portrait – it seems the face of Frederick Lennart Bentley is split into two parts, the right part seems to be still in war, the left part of the face seems to have found some peace.


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