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Posted on May 18, 2006 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Paras in Normandy – An ACG Re-enactment Photoshoot

By Steve Lee

I hadn’t realised how much work actually goes into a professional photo shoot, it’s certainly not a case of click-and-go! Much time was spent preparing lighting inside and outside of the bunkers, there was a smoke generating machine and some very loud pyrotechnics to add to the effect. When you see the article in July’s issue you will see us all huddled up outside the entrance to a bunker just as a grenade goes off, I can tell you now that was so close to the real thing, we were waiting for the bang and when it went off it really did make you jump!

For the scene where we’re emerging from one of the bunkers, I am right in the foreground followed closely by my friend Jean-Marie, we have just cleared a bunker and are advancing up the trench engaging fleeting enemy all around us, constantly on the move low and fast, firing on the move. To be able to capture this on film it was necessary for us to go through the motion of storming out of the bunker many times, we never actually knew which time would actually produce the best photo. It was done in such away that we became tired and we weren’t actually bothered at all about the camera being there, we just stormed out of the bunker as if we were doing it for real. I am sure Mr.Tanne, the owner of the Battery (and German Reenactor in the photos) was worried when we took him prisoner, all these guys shouting at him in English and pulling things out of his pockets, his face certainly looks worried in the photos.

For me, Jean-Marie, Manny and Pete this was certainly the best part of our time together in Normandy last year, I would love to do it again.

It was an interesting insight into the way that a Professional Photographer can achieve absolute authenticity and capture the action, aggression and speed that were needed for the photos for Armchair General.

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About the Author

Steve Lee has been interested in WW2 Military History from a young age, after serving in the British Army he moved to Normandy with his wife Sarah to open a B&B at Utah Beach, Normandy. A keen Reenactor and MV enthusiast, exploring and touring the Normandy Battlefields take up a great deal of his free time.

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