Beyond the ‘Taking of Vimy Ridge:’ The War Photographs of William Ivor Castle


  • Carla-Jean Stokes


Historians who study Canadian First World War photography often do so within the framework of commonwealth photographic programs, including the British and Australian wartime systems of information. Examples of this include Jane Carmichael's First World War Photographers (1989) and Hilary Roberts and Mark Holborn's The Great War: A Photographic Narrative (2014). One of the more frequently analyzed images of the First World War is William Ivor Castle's The Taking of Vimy Ridge. This paper proposes to contribute to that historiography by illustrating the larger implications of this manipulated image--that photography projects of the Canadian War Records Office must be analyzed separately from those of the British Ministry of Information. Additionally, this paper will examine some of Ivor Castle's other images made during the battle to argue that historians can move beyond The Taking of Vimy Ridge, to understand his photographic style as he attempted to visually capture the war.

Author Biography

Carla-Jean Stokes

Carla-Jean Stokes has a Masters of History from Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as a Masters of Photographic Preservation and Collections Management, from Ryerson University. Carla-Jean won the 2015 Photographic Historical Society of Canada thesis prize for her paper, "British Official First World War Photographs, 1916-1918 Arranging and Contextualizing a Collection of Prints at the Art Gallery of Ontario." She has also written blogs and articles for the Laurier Centre for Strategic and Disarmament Studies, and Espirit de Corps magazine. Her special collector's edition, "War Photos," was published by Legion Magazine in May 2016. She works as Curator and Collections Manager of the Historic O'Keefe Ranch, in Vernon, BC.






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