Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dick Grant, R.A.A.F

This photo fell out of a book today. It is clearly a snapshot and yet there is something quite remarkable about it. On the back, a note reads "1944, With your Aussie drinking mate at Tel-Aviv. Dick Grant. R.A.A.F."

It isn't just Dick Grant's great presence that makes the photo so special, but also the four girls in the background, smiling and laughing, against the backdrop of what must be the Mediterranean sea.

Dick Grant sounds like the hero of a Boy's Own adventure. He even looks like one. It's frustrating that we will probably never know what happened to him, but I've posted this photo on the offchance that an answer might appear out of the blue. Stranger things have happened.


JRSM said...

I can tell you that he made it through the war, getting out of the RAAF later in 1944: http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/script/veteran.asp?ServiceID=R&VeteranID=1029320

More info than that isn't available online, though, as far as I know.

Anonymous said...

Chichester University are having a Paul Nash exhibition at the moment, which may be of interest. (Apologies that there's no relation to this post!)

"I coundn't possibly begin to care" said...

I love this image.

People used to take more time with their photographs when cost, skill and process was a factor - someone attempted a composition and framed the subject - chose their moment and gave it value. i was in London recently and watch a group f 50 or so students crossing the road outside parliament and taking photographs of big Ben without actually looking at the thing - just raising their arms in roughly the right direction and point-and-clicking.

They would also have only kept the images that worked, destroying the rest or selecting from the negatives which one they wanted - and the manual lense means you actually have to look through the viewfinder and think about the shot - physically putting your image into focus.

Of course, there is such romance from images like this, lost worlds, events and people - nothing that can be replaced or recreated honestly. A real treasure.

Steerforth said...

Thanks for that James - it's good to know that he survived. I'd love to know what happened to him in civilian life.

Thanks Anonymous - I didn't know about this exhibition, so I'm very grateful to you for letting me know.

Richard - I remember somebody doing a similar thing in a San Francisco cable car - looking but not seeing. However, from my point of view, the invention of digital photography has had the opposite effect.

Jim Murdoch said...

I think it's a very striking photo indeed. And probably just a lucky shot but we'll never know. There's a spontaneity to the image that makes me think that it wasn't set up. It may well be that the photographer was only interested in the man and wasn't paying a blind bit of attention to what was going on in the background and it just to happens it all worked out.