When Utah photographer’s voice is silenced, the WWII veteran’s images will remain


* By Matthew D. LaPlante Salt Lake Tribune *

The years have come and gone. But J Malan Heslop can still see it all.

Emaciated prisoners, dozens to a small room, many too weak to stand. Rotting corpses, naked in the dirt, discarded like garbage on the side of the road.

J Malan Heslop takes a walk every day around his Ensign Peak neighborhood. Heslop was a combat photographer with the Army in Europe during WW2. His pictures ? which include images of German concentration camps ? have been part of the Eisenhower collection, and are featured in the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. (Scott Sommerdorf / Salt Lake Tribune)

Sixty-five years after the May 8, 1945, liberation of the Ebensee concentration camp in Austria, the images remain fresh in Heslop’s mind. Even if they were not, they have been secured, for posterity, in his photographs.

And the 86-year-old Salt Lake City man is content to know that what he witnessed will not be lost when he is gone.

“We shouldn’t forget any of this,” he says.

‘All I ever wanted.’ Heslop’s father taught him to make photographs on a Kodak Folding Pocket camera. The pair developed baseball card-sized negatives in a makeshift darkroom in the kitchen of the family’s farm home in West Weber.

“I was obsessed,” Heslop remembers as he sits in his home, overlooking the Utah State Capitol, on Ensign Peak. “Photography was all I ever wanted to do.”

Read more at Salt Lake Tribune


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