In Silent Memory Of Those We Never Knew
One of the things that has always amazed me is how different and distinct each Australian state capital is from its counterparts. In the first week of this year, we were in Perth, Western Australia and despite a hectic three-day schedule that included a wedding, we still managed to savour some of the most famous sights.
I’d heard that the 400-hectare Kings Park is actually larger in area than New York’s Central Park and I enjoyed my first fleeting visit to the beautiful setting, situated high above the Swan River.
It was a scorching Sunday morning under a flawless blue sky and the symmetry of the State War Memorial was perfect against the tranquil backdrop.
Because it’s set on a hill, the design of the monument allows for a crypt, although this is not immediately apparent when looking downhill at the memorial.
The Cenotaph was unveiled in 1929 while the Queen inaugurated the pool of reflection and the flame of remembrance in 2000. In the crypt, along with a display of regimental colours, there are names of every serviceman and woman from Western Australia who were killed in the Boer War, the two World Wars, Malaya, Borneo, Korea and Vietnam.
When I first composed this shot of the eternal flame, I included the reflection in the water as well. Then I suddenly noticed that the intense heat of ignition was causing a mirage-like shimmer, just left of centre. In this shot above, you can actually glimpse the heat-induced distortion, even though this is a low-resolution copy.
Having seen several cenotaphs around the world, I didn’t realise the significance of this design until I flew back to Melbourne and began researching the background of the monument. The obelisk, I learned later, is based on the design of Australian Imperial Force memorials erected in France and Belgium.
This young visitor (see last photo, below) was walking across a narrow plinth in the shadow of the crypt, with the strap of his bicycle helmet in his mouth. He was in shadow and I was outside in the sunlight, about twenty metres away, when I realised what a great image it would make, because it is so different from a run-of-the-mill shot.
I only had time for one frame before he disappeared, but it's interesting to note that the position of his foot does not obliterate the word "name" in the engraved letters.
It’s fitting, I guess, that the names of those who lost their lives should be etched forever in an area of such beauty and silent contemplation.
Visit TNChick's Photo Hunt. Today's theme: "In Memory''.