All we know about him is a name written on a glass negative: ‘Hart’. Ever since I first saw him I have kept his photograph on my wall. He has been the inspiration for many hours of image research for the World War I film that screens in Te Papa’s C20th history exhibition, Slice of Heaven. Using silent archive footage and stills the film tells the story of the journey of New Zealanders who served on the Western Front. More than 12,000 New Zealanders died on the Western Front. More than 800 men died in a single day at Passchendaele in Belgium.Hart was just one of thousands of New Zealanders who had their portrait taken for loved ones before they departed for the war. Te Papa has a large collection of them, mostly unidentified apart from a surname. You can search them here at Collections Online. Sons, brothers, husbands, lovers, fathers, uncles, grandfathers…who loved them? Who kept their photographs?
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