Compassionate campaign

Veteran Joy Denlay with photographer Rebekah Wilson.
Veteran Joy Denlay with photographer Rebekah Wilson.

The Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) is on a mission to make a living record of more than 14,000 World War II veterans.

So far, 11 AIPP-accredited photographers in WA have registered for the project, designed to reinforce the Anzac tradition of �We will remember them�.

They will donate their time and talent to the not-for-profit project, where each veteran photographed will receive a free print.

The AIPP is collaborating on the community project with the Australian War Memorial and the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) to donate all the portraits to the Australian War Memorial�s collection.

Ms Wilson said the project would provide a compelling pictorial record of returned service men and women.

�What better time to capture our living heroes than now, and commemorate 100 years of the Anzac tradition and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II,�she said.

�Letters and photographs meant absolutely everything to them back then, telling the story of their lives in their youth.

�It�s only fitting to contrast this with their senior years in the same way, in a timeless gift to them, their families and the nation.

�We are working with the RSL but, of course, not all veterans are members and we want to reach as many veterans as possible.�

A recent visit to the RAAFA retirement village of McNamara Lodge, in Meadow Springs, near Mandurah, resulted in more than 40 portraits of veterans.

The event was organised as part of an Anzac tribute at the home, as most resident veterans are no longer able to attend Anzac Day services.

�It was quite overwhelming, seeing these people dressed in their finery,� Ms Wilson said.

The two photographers arrived at the home expecting to take 19 portraits but, in the end, 36 veterans registered for the photo shoot.

The two photographers were in awe of the veterans, many of whom cast aside walking frames and sticks to stand unassisted in front of the camera.

The RSL Foundation, or Legacy, will receive the profits from any photographs sold through the not-for-profit project.WWII veterans are encouraged to register, or ask someone to register on their behalf for The Reflections: Honouring Our World War II Veterans project.

For more information, visit tinyurl.com/paadm6o or call 03 9888 4111.