“Everything Has Changed”, a Falklands Islander’s Photographic Dossier of Invasion, Occupation, War and Aftermath – MercoPress

‘Everything Has Changed’, a Falklands Islander’s Photographic Dossier of Invasion, Occupation, War and Aftermath

Saturday, February 12, 2022 – 09:37 UTC

Graham lived through the 1982 war -- the exposure is the merit of that experience -- and later served as a local correspondent for several British newspapers.
Graham lived through the 1982 war — the exposure is the merit of that experience — and later served as a local correspondent for several British newspapers.

By Graham Bound – “The light falls on the faces and eyes of men. Even from the distance of four decades, we get a glimpse of their emotions: despair, pride, exhaustion, determination and fear.

When I designed this exhibit, I came up with what I thought was a catchy title: [email protected] The show is certainly that: 40 photos to mark the 40th anniversary of the invasion of Argentina and the war that followed. But I quickly realized that this did not explain why my photographic dossier from this period deserved an audience.

Then the phrase “Everything changed” came to mind. This title seemed to work well, because I believe that no one who was then in the Falklands, whether civilian or combatant, British or Argentine, was not spared by the conflict.

A Royal Engineers NCO holds an abandoned Argentine submachine gun, next to a mortar
cartridges prepared for destruction. Credit: Graham Bound

Some have experienced acute and catastrophic changes from physical or mental injury, while others have experienced changes in their minds and worldview that have never completely gone away.

In particular, everything has changed for the families who have lost their sons, brothers, husbands, daughters, wives and sisters (because yes, women have died too).

The community itself has changed. London, perhaps embarrassed by how a small group of loyal Britons had been overlooked before 1982, poured money into the islands, creating the thriving territory that exists today.
Many of the changes brought about by 1982 were for the better. But I sincerely hope that these 40 photographs remind us that the price paid was a war of terrifying intensity.

Some images are not particularly pleasant to look at. Interesting, yes, but not pleasant. Luckily, the darker reality lurks in the deep black shadow of monochrome prints. But in some photos, the light falls on the men’s faces and eyes. Even from the distance of four decades, we get a glimpse of their emotions: despair, pride, exhaustion, determination and fear.

Defeated but not yet in captivity, Argentine soldiers rampaged through Stanley on the night of June 14-15,
burning buildings and threatening their own officers. As British troops take control,
Argentines become prisoners of war. Credit: Graham Bound

I was 24 In 1982, and the editor of the local newspaper Penguin News. Under the Argentine occupation, publication ceased. The occupiers made it clear that the newspaper could only be published on their terms. There could be no argument with representatives of a regime that was known to treat its own citizens with appalling brutality. Thus, the latest edition of penguin news appeared a few days before the invasion, and the paper closed until better times returned. I was happy with that.

I started recording what was happening around me in busy Stanley. More importantly, I took pictures. For a few days after the invasion, I walked around pretty freely with my Canon cameras. But that quickly changed. As the intensity of the conflict increased, I took photos with much more care, often from inside buildings.

I wasn’t spying, but it would be hard to explain to Argentinians why I was taking pictures, as it actually turned out. Like so many Stanley residents, I was arrested and interrogated. “Why were you seen taking pictures the day we arrived? asked an aggressive army intelligence officer at the police station. He was holding a folder with my name on it. “Because I’m a journalist,” I replied.

Argentine occupation troops cautiously deploy through Stanley
early April 2, 1982. Credit: Graham Bound

He reluctantly agreed to this and warned me of the consequences if our paths crossed again for the same reason. Maybe he had more serious things on his mind, like the risk of attack. If so, he was right to worry. A few days later, the police station was hit directly by a missile fired from a British helicopter.

Many of my photos from 1982 are seen for the first time. After the war, some printed it in British and American publications. And some have been lost. But most have been gathering dust for nearly 40 years. They were not forgotten, however, and whenever I moved, they were with me. Then in 2021, living in London and trying to keep my spirits up during the covid lockdowns (which sometimes reminded me of Stanley in 1982), I decided to put the photographs back in the sun, restore them and create an exhibition.

By chance, I had met Alex Schneideman from Flow Photographic. Alex encouraged me to go ahead with the project and then worked closely with me. It did wonders scanning, restoring and printing faded and dog-eared prints and even producing prints from negatives that I had erased but thankfully never discarded. These negs had a particular history.

In 1982, in the darkroom I share with my friend Peter King, I mismixed the developer or made some other basic mistake. Either way, the negatives came out hopelessly “flat”. Or so I thought. I didn’t even bother to print them. In London, four decades later, Alex took one look at the celluloid tapes and said he could bring the images to life. He has achieved digital photographic magic. Seen for the first time in 40 years, these once overlooked photos are among the most spectacular in the exhibition. I am very grateful to Alex.

The creation of this exhibition has cost a significant amount of money, and it would not have been possible without funding from the Friends of the Falkland Islands Museum and the Jane Cameron National Archives (the Friends of FIMA). My thanks go to the Friends, and I hope they feel the show justifies their generosity.

Long Island Farm’s Neil Watson holds a decaying Argentinian helmet as he
remembers the days some 25 years earlier when he carried supplies and ammunition for
troops advancing on Stanley. Credit: Graham Bound

I am of course very grateful to the staff of the Falklands Is. Museum, especially Andrea Barlow and Tasmin Tyrrell. Thank you for welcoming the idea of ​​an exhibition, for integrating it into the 40th anniversary program and for giving so much time and space to my project.

The next step for these photos will be taken in Great Britain. I am working with the Chatham Historic Dockyard Museum near London to create new prints and mount the exhibit there. Chatham is a town closely associated with British naval history and played a role in the events of 1982. Chatham will therefore be a very suitable location in the UK for the exhibition.

All is well, there will also be a digital platform for the show. It’s too early to give specifics, but one of the UK’s major broadcasters asked me to select photos from the exhibition, go back to the places I took them in 1982 and photograph the same places today. I have now done this, and it is strange but pleasing to see the remarkable contrast between the taint of war and the peace of today. The same streets and some buildings remain, but instead of troops there are people going about their peaceful business, and instead of armored vehicles there are modern cars.

However, the actual prints in the Stanley Museum will remain there long after the exhibition is over. I’m sure they’ll go back to storage, which is good: they’re used to that. But I hope they will be brought back to light from time to time to remind people of the dramatic and dangerous days of 1982; the time when everything changed.

Graham Bound was born in the Falkland Islands and comes from a long-established family in the islands. He did part of his schooling at the British Bilingual School in Uruguay and later founded the local newspaper Penguin News.

Michael E. Marquez