While researching my latest book project “WW1 Heroes of the Redlands” (due for publication in August), I was struck by how much my mental picture of life in the Redlands at that time was influenced by photographs. In those days, all photos were in black and white, because colour photography had not then been invented. So I found it difficult to visualise the landscape then in anything other than black and white.
Was this how the Redlanders saw their lives then? As if through a filter of monochromatic drabness? Maybe the whole world had been monochromatic up until the invention of technicolour. But then I thought of Napoleon, and my visuals of him are all in full colour. Why? Because I have only ever seen portraits of him done by artists, and these were always colourful (this was even before the invention of photography). So people could see things in colour!
But what about the Redlands a century later? Did they still view life monochromatically? Then I came across a painting of Ormiston Station by Gwen Bruce in the early 1930s. She has confirmed that we Redlanders are no different from the rest of the world.