September 7, 1940, is a significant date in London's history. On this Saturday afternoon, hundreds of German bombers flew over London, and for the next 57 consecutive nights, unleashing a wave of terror as they launched one of the biggest air offensive against the city, which came to be known as the “Blitz”. The purpose of the Blitz was to destroy London, and with it the morale of the enemy and force them to surrender. Although the bombing failed to break the spirit of the British people, a million buildings and homes in the city were reduced to rubble. It took a few decades of massive re-building, but traces of the war are still visible throughout the city, if you only knew where to look and what to look for. British photographers and brothers and sisters Thom and Beth Atkinson knows where to find them.
Over a period of six years the brother-sister-duo has walked all over the city looking for tell-tale signs of these scars that appear sometimes as unexplained vacant spots, and sometimes as ghostly outlines of buildings, that once stood there, on the walls of adjoining properties. These photographs were collected in a recently released photobook called “Missing Buildings”.
The pair identified their sites by simply walking the streets and looking around, rather than relying on historical research.
“We made a decision early on that we would only research sites after making photographs. We were looking for pictures which resonated, rather than systematically recording historical sites,” they told Fotografia Magazine.
"Some of our early pictures weren't even missing buildings, they were these weird apparitions of what had happened or what had been there. It turned out that the majority of the time our instincts were right and they were bomb sites."
"We're at this point now in history where the people that were there to witness it won't be around for much longer," Thom explained to Dezeen. "This is a really crucial point in the story where it's born into mythology because we no longer have eye-witness accounts."
"Some of the sites we'd photographed would be gone a year later, they'd have been filled in, so there's this really strange paradox," he said.
"It's upside down, we're not physically loosing anything as there hasn't been anything there since the war; we're gaining something, but yet these 'missing buildings' disappear for a second time."
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