He will be forgiven on this occasion as his presentation featured a history of photography during the First World War.
The first use of photography was for recruitment and propaganda, using images to stir up patriotism and to focus the mind of the nation on their common enemy.
As the war dragged on and casualties mounted, the power of photography as a tool came to the fore as the government recognised its potential in maintaining the morale and cohesiveness of the nation. To that end, the National War Aims Committee (NWAC), a semi-official parliamentary organisation set up with cross-party support in the summer of 1917.
Eager to hide the horrors of war from the population, the military took steps to prevent the use of cameras by soldiers at the front, preferring the use of approved images provided by commissioned photographers.
Photographers being photographers however bypassed these rules and took their Box Brownies and Vest Pocket Kodaks to war and using their imagination, cunning and subterfuge managed to get their images back to Blighty. This was in contrast to the Germans whose High Command was quite happy to allow their troops to record their lives on photographs.
Throughout his presentation, Joe illustrated aspects from all points of view using photographs taken by allied and German troops on the front line, ‘approved’ War Office photographs and those taken by groups opposed to the war.
Of particular interest were the images taken by Ernest Brooks who took photographs throughout the war, from the fresh faced eager recruits at the start of the war through to the tired, weary, grim faced veterans at the end of the conflict.
Joe cleverly managed to portray the horrors of war, not by scenes of carnage, but as etched in the faces of those long gone men and women who lived through it, the child soldiers, the tired and weary troops, the women on the home front who provided the tools of war whilst at the same time keeping the country running and the portraits of families torn apart by the madness of war.