In a recent ancestry survey, it was unveiled that 57% of Canadians don’t know what war brides are. War brides are the 48,000 women who met and married servicemen during the First and Second World War. Dorothy Marshall is a war bride living in the St. Clair area of Toronto, although she holds many more roles than just a war bride. Dorothy was born in London, England in 1922 and lived there until 1947 when she travelled to Toronto on the Queen Mary at the age of twenty-two with her five-month-old son. After connecting with Dorothy’s son, Bill Marshall, it became evident that Dorothy would be a sensational photography subject. Over the course of three meetings with Dorothy, a friendship arose between us and the conversation turned to her biography. Most important in the conversation was the idea of being persistent and moving forward, as echoed in the phrase used by the monarch during the Second World War, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” The photographs in the series are taken in her home, depicting her environment, her small archival collection, and her physical appearance.
The series documents the strength of the subject and therefore stretches the traditional definition of femininity, as well as the personal ones that are attached to society over time. The photographs also recognize all the things a woman has seen in her life, what she has held, and what she becomes over time. After starting her life in London, Dorothy Marshall has carried on now as a mother, a widow, a grandmother, an aunt, a confidant, a war bride, a woman, a human, and an equal.
Meagan Dickie is a photo-based artist working out of Calgary and Toronto. She is currently studying in Toronto at the Ryerson University School of Image Arts to obtain her Bachelor of Fine Arts. In addition to photography, she has a background in sketching, painting, and graphic design from preparatory art classes at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Her organic aesthetics primarily come from her exposure to nature in her hometown of Calgary, Alberta.