Ernest's first encounters with photography was from working in the darkroom with the Hussy Vivan, 3rd Baron Vivian family photographs. It's from here that Ernest got the photography bug, buying his own camera paying by weekly instalments at a shilling a week. He focused his work on prominent society where he made a few sales through an agency thus Ernest choosing to become a freelance newspaper photographer.
After the outbreak of WW1, Ernest, had enlisted in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and with the Gallipoli landings being prepared, Winston Churchill (Who was also once a war correspondent) arranged for Journalists and Photographers, Ernest being one of them to accompany the exploration. In March 1916, Ernest was appointed the official photographer for the Western Front and the only professional photographer to cover the Battle of the Somme. It's noted that he used a Goerz Anschutz Plate Camera.
After the war, he found himself working with the Prince of Wales (1914) with his tour of the USA, Canada and Australia (1920). George V disapproved of some of his (still locating these pictures) photos and for reasons not disclosed, he's appointment as Royal photographer being cancelled along with his OBE and BEM being cancelled and annulled too. Ernst's photography career continued up until the mid 1930s.
Ernest Brooks' work had it's fair share of critics where it has been noted that he chose to curate his subject matter (I guess we'd call that Art direction these days) and he's fondness of dramatic silhouette photographs still carry an influence to this day. when it came to combat photographs, Ernest was adamant that they were never faked. You can read more about Ernest Brooks work here at the Imperial War Museum
|A dapper looking Ernest Brooks 1876-1957 pictured with a Goerz Anschutz plate camera|
|British infantrymen give a helping hand to wounded German prisoners near La Boisselle on 3 July 1916|
|Dramatic silhouette , Men of the 8th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment going up to the line near Frezenberg during the Third Battle of Ypres, 1917|
|Men of the Border Regiment resting in shallow dugouts near Thiepval Wood during the Battle of the Somme during , August 1916|
|I like to think somebody still has this hat: A wounded British soldier holding his steel helmet, which has been pierced by a piece of shrapnel, during the advance on the Somme Front near Hamel, December 1916|