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Cities at war, 1914-1918 - Wallonia and Brussels

The authors of La Wallonie dans la Grande Guerre and Bruxelles ville occupée relate the experiences of Walloons and inhabitants of Brussels during the First World War through the medium of the image. They examine how the major challenges of this turbulent period are reflected by means of photographs, postcards or the illustrated press.

The books are for sale at CegeSoma at the price of 20 €.





















A Double Challenge

Six years after the publication of the series “Villes en guerre”, dedicated to the Second World War, the same approach was used in two new volumes with regard to the First World War. The challenge was twofold: to present an overview of a period less researched than the Second World War, on the basis of less and more dispersed photographic material.


The Image as Vehicle
At the outbreak of the First World War, photography was already a long-established medium. To have one's photograph taken at important moments in life had become a custom. Not everyone possessed a camera yet, but the object had increasingly become a popular possession. The image had become an important vehicle and the occupier was determined to maintain control of it. Several restrictive measures explain the rarity of photographs by amateur photographers. The work of professional photographers has been better kept. Even in times of occupation, press photography became an essential medium during the First World War. Yet it would seem that some subjects were widely treated while others left few traces in visual history. The four authors have nevertheless succeeded to present many original photographs that present a varied image of day to day life in the cities at war.


Wallonia and Brussels, Singularities and Convergences

In these two volumes, singularities and convergences between the “cities at war” are widely discussed. The capital may have escaped the worst of the massacres and destructions of the rest of the country, but like the Walloon cities it soon fell victim to famine, shortages and misery. By its status as capital and because of the presence of a Germanic community there was more than one cultural life in Brussels, which was not the case in Wallonia. The thousands of refugees who required food, shelter and care were an urgent problem both in Brussels and  Wallonia.

These two richly illustrated volumes present an intimate image of Wallonia and Brussels during the First World War. This particular approach of the war via photography offers a whole new perspective of daily life in this troubled period.


- La Wallonie dans la Grande Guerre 1914-1918 [Alain Colignon & Mélanie Bost], La Renaissance du Livre, 2016, 176 p.
- Bruxelles ville occupée 1914-1918 [Chantal Kesteloot & Bruno Benvindo], La Renaissance du Livre, 2016, 176 p.


The books can be ordered at CegeSoma via email (Lut Van Daele) or telephone (00 32 2 556 92 11) at the price of 20 € per book (postage not included) in stead of 22,90 € (bookseller's price)



25 / 11 / 2016