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Artist Ian Alderman

Born in Eastleigh in the South of England, Alderman lived in London for more than thirty years.

Extensive experience as both a photographer and digital artist has given Alderman the broad, practical knowledge required to produce a technically challenging project such as Recovering The Past.

Working alongside the personnel of the Belgian armed forces bomb-disposal team for this project has given Alderman a unique insight into the legacy and clearance of unexploded ammunition from a former war zone. The risks endured by those who live and work on the Great War’s former Western Front has been laid bare in this work.

This self-funded, non-commissioned project of eight years in the making is solely the result of the artist’s own long-term vision and dedication. Through Recovering The Past, Alderman’s desire to raise the profile of a plight that has and will continue to affect millions of people world-wide has produced an exhibition that poignantly reveals the less-appreciated consequences of human conflict.

“In August 1916, my great-grandfather – Henry George Spearing – became a casualty of the Battle of the Somme. Shot in the spine and paralysed from the waist down, the injury was his alone; its consequences were not. 

Invalided home and till his death in 1936, Henry was nursed by my great grandmother Louisa-Jane. Despite having not gone neared the war itself, through her relentless dedication to Henry over a twenty year period, Louisa-Jane’s own life was  intrinsically compromised as a consequence of the war.  

Their shared experience was the inspiration for this project”.


Ian Alderman, London, 2024

Image Title : #Flanders 6950

Image Title : #Flanders 6950

Recovered toxic ordinance is handled and dismantled by personnel wearing full biochemical protection suits. Although the recovered gas shells are now more than a century old, their contents have lost none of their toxicity; all such shells are destroyed under highly controlled conditions.In stark contrast, the Australian soldiers in this image are carrying box respirators, essential for survival in trench warfare.

“He was all out of order […] quite a different boy prior to enlisting”

Elsie Frank, speaking of her son Walter who returned home from the war in 1918