In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
The opening lines of John McCrae's poem 'In Flanders Fields', written in 1915 on a scrap of paper upon the back of a fellow Canadian soldier.
In the area around Ypres in western Belgium, Allied and German soldiers died in their hundreds of thousands in the intensive trench warfare of World War I. The battles of Ypres and Passchendaele left indelible traces on the landscape. By the end of the war in 1918 the countryside had been transformed into a sea of mud devoid of buildings, trees and vegetation. A hundred years on, a first glance might suggest that little remains of the horrors of the war. However, under this surface of normality, the scars the war has inflicted on the landscape are in many ways still visible or at least imaginable. Stefan Boness' book 'Flanders Fields', published by Bildschoene Buecher, represents a systematic search for these traces of the Great War.