The Last Stand
Between 2010 and 2014, Marc Wilson photographed the images that make up The Last Stand. This piece of work aims to reflect the histories and stories military conflict and the memories held in the landscape itself. The series is made up of 86 images and is documenting some of the physical remnants of the Second World War on the coastlines of the British Isles and Northern Europe, focusing on military defence structures that remain and their place in the shifting landscape that surrounds them. Some of these locations are no longer in sight, either subsumed or submerged by the changing sands and waters or by more human intervention. At the same time others have re- emerged from their shrouds.
Over these four years Wilson travelled 23,000 miles to 143 locations to capture these images along the coastlines of the UK, The Channel Islands, Northern & Western France, Denmark, Belgium and Norway.
A book of The Last Stand, complete with a foreword by Roy Exley and detailed research text into the locations, was published by Triplekite in November 2014. The first edition sold out in it’s first few months.
From a review by Colin Pantall:
“It’s large format work and it’s quite beautiful (Paul Virilio’s Bunker Archaeology may be the most recognised photography of sea defences but that’s a different kind of book) . Everything is shot in subdued diffused light, the pre-dawn it looks like much of the time, and the way in which the different defences merge and crumble into the landscape of which they are now part….
The Last Stand is as multi-layered as the landscapes which it features; there’s historical detail wrapped folded over into a chronotopia of functional brutalism, mixed with local touches that feeds into the geological, panoramic and tactical. All the boxes are ticked in Robert Adams traditional landscape list: there’s geography, autobiography, and metaphor. But on top of that, Wilson gives us a
politicised view of landscape and power that ties back to survey photography of Timothy O’Sullivan and the work of Mitch Epstein.
Layered into that is an Arcadian vision. With its focus on Northern Europe it’s a dystopian Arcadia; there is a pagan feel to Wilson’s pictures, a syncretic vision where geology, flora, climate and war find a single expression. And it’s beautiful.”