Charlotte Adams is an upcoming photography student, based in Birmingham, who explores a variety of differing methods and techniques within her field. Experimenting with conceptual photography, this particular series investigates the themes of growth vs decay in the technologically evolving world. For this project, Adams visited the Black Country Living Museum which is situated in Dudley, Birmingham. The key topic of war is conveyed by the artist through the inclusion of ‘old fashioned’ objects, primarily used during the 1940s — like the ration books. By this, Adams is urging her audience to reflect on life during World War II, while considering modern day society, and how norms and values have moved on. For instance, the decaying number of men working in factories due to pressures to enroll in the British Army encouraged a growth in working women; which eventually altered society’s view of women and allowed for more progressive ideas of equal rights for gender roles.
The photograph, “Restricted treats,” evokes a strong sense of empathy for everyone hit by the struggles of everyday life created by the devastating effects of the War, while mainly focusing on the children involved — who may be yours, or your children’s grandparents in modern day. Although younger children may have not completely understood the consequences of such harsh times, they would have certainly felt the lack of sweets and treats available to them; resulting in an innocent depiction of tragic circumstances, emotive to any viewer.
CUE THE DREAMY POSE
Sadly, the tragic irony of the simplicity of this image is naturally communicated by the taped windows, in attempt to protect the glass from shattering under pressures from air-rade bomb blasts. Today, we see windows as a frequent setting for dreamy, romantic scenes in films, or as a place for quiet and therapeutic deep-thinking. However, during World War II, the window would simply be a place to avoid standing near.
RED AND GREEN
The play on words of ‘red’ and ‘green’ in this title symbolises not only the dominant colours within this photograph, but also that of the British flags main hues. As we all know, the British flag doesn’t contain the colour green, but blue instead. The inclusion of ‘green’ instead of ‘blue’ conveys the decay of Britain during the war, due to the deviation caused by heavy artillery and constant bomb attacks. Eventually, poppies grew in these tragic battle fields and restored hope, love and humanity in the broken people of Britain as they grew — hence the title “Red and Green”.
While the majority of their male counterparts were called to fight against the Nazi regime, women were left to do their original jobs of working in factories to produce ammunition, artillery and other key tools. Because of this, society’s perspective of women had changed permanently, as they were accepted to be more equal to men as they ever had been before. If women had not had the opportunity to step up and help out, even if it wasn’t their ‘natural place’ or ‘proper role,’ maybe gender equality wouldn’t be as progressive as it is in modern day. So, this image celebrates the women of World War II, as well as the men, in their courageous and inspiring efforts in order to keep Britain as strong as it currently is, and always has been.