A former Soviet military base lies abandoned on the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Evidence of Soviet occupancy can be found all over Estonia and its islands. Soon many of these places will be demolished. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be able to wander through many of the buildings to document their existence before they eventually get torn down.
Fort Manoel is a fortification located on Manoel Island in Marsamxett Harbour to the north west of Valletta and commands the entrance to Marsamxett Harbour and the anchorage of Sliema Creek.
Fort Manoel is a fortification on the island of Malta. Fort Manoel is a star fort, with much of its ditches and walls formed from the native rock of Manoel Island. The fort was built by the Order of Saint John the patronage of Portuguese Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena. The first stone was laid by de Vilhena himself on 14 September 1723, and work progressed rapidly. The gateway was built by 1726 and the ditch had been excavated by 1732. The fort was complete by 1755, although by this time de Vilhena had died. The original design work for a fort on the island, then known as Isolotto, was the work of the French engineer René Jacob de Tigné. The final design also incorporated the work of Charles François de Mondion, at that time the Order’s resident military engineer in charge of works of fortification and defence. Mondion also supervised the construction and after his death, he was buried in the fort’s chapel. The fort was an active military establishment initially under the Knights and later under British Military control from its construction through until 1906 when the British military finally decommissioned the fort’s guns.Military re-enactment of the Second World War at Fort Manoel.During the Second World War, a battery of 3.7-inch heavy anti-aircraft guns was deployed in and around the fort. The guns were mounted in concrete gun emplacements and deployed in a semicircle around the fort. The fort suffered considerable damage to its ramparts, barracks and chapel as a result of aerial bombing during the war. After this it was left abandoned and it suffered more damage from disuse and vandalism.
The fort was left in a state of disrepair for many years due to the ravages of time and damage sustained during the Second World War. In August 2001, MIDI plc began restoration work on the fort. Large parts of the fort were completely rebuilt, including the chapel and the main gate. It was reopened to the public on 31 October 2009. The restoration of Fort Manoel together with that of the nearby Fort Tigné cost a total of €30 million. Fort Manoel is featured in the fiction book Il-Misteru tal-Forti Manoel (The Mystery of Fort Manoel) by Charles Zarb published in 2007. Since the restoration the fort served as a location for the shooting of the climactic scene of the ninth episode (“Baelor”) of the TV series Game of Thrones.
The current work is a series of intimate portraits based on people who have trained in the Armed Forces. This role requires skill, mental and physical effort and above all discipline. Choosing a career in the forces with the intention to engage in combat is also a great sacrifice. They do this in order to bring peace, it shows spirit, courage and determination, and it was my aim to depict these mindsets within the series.
Comments about my work are very much appreciated.
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