Monday, October 22, 2007

Vets With Tattoos Cont.

This is Jolene Wieber, a 21-year-old Military Police Officer in the Army. She spent 15 months in Iraq. On June 21, 2007 her best friend Karen Clifton was killed in action. Unfortunately, that was the very day they were supposed to come home, but their deployment was extended. Jolene got a tattoo today in honor of her friend. A cross with their unit symbol, Karen's name, birthdate and death date.

Karen Clifton b. 5-10-1985 d. 6-21-2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I was looking through some pretty meaningless pictures from about a month ago searching for something else, when I ran across this photo. I forgot I even took it. But, something about it today I like. I don't know if I'm seduced by the color or what. I think I like it because of the look on her face. It's like she is having a moment to herself during her break at the Flea Market, allowing her mind drift off for just a second. A moment of solitude amidst an area of chaos.

What won't be remembered...

I have a friend, he photographs his family and his friends in a way that leaves me speechless. So speechless, in fact, I'm going to write an entire blog about it.

I was looking through his new blog (the link can be found under Paul Michael Myers to the left of this entry) and I perused the link called Sarah and Scott. Sarah is my best friend and I had the privilege of being in her wedding. Paul's photos are from that day. As I looked through the album, I was amazed at how he captured things that won't necessarily be held in the collective memory of the event or people participating.

Most watching will remember that the bride was stunning and our dresses were pink. But there are in-between moments, gestures, glances, touches, subtle details that most will not recall.

He reminds me why I love our job. We are here show people things they would miss otherwise. I know that. And I knew that before I looked at his blog. But in the day to day B.S. that is dealt with at each of our given jobs, it can be forgotten. He showed me what I wasn't remembering.

I have been searching lately. Searching for some sort of inspiration. I ultimately know that this has to come from within me. But thank you, Paul, for drumming some of it up. Thank you to all of my photographer friends who are fighting the good fight. Who still believe in the meaning behind what we do, and the art that comes with it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Vets With Tattoos

I'm working on a portrait project about veterans with military tattoos. We want to know the stories behind them.

Jim Brennan, a 74-year-old Korean War veteran, got his first tattoo of a black panther on the inside of his left forearm before he entered the Navy and "before those boys in California were known for their name." But the rest, the ones shown in this picture, were done after. He refuses to talk about the war itself. Making explicitly clear he would not talk about combat. But, he would talk about his tattoos, where he got them and why.

At this point most of the tattoos just look a little like blobs, but there are three of note. The one on his right forearm is an eagle and anchor, a symbol of the Navy. The one on his right chest is a rose, for his mother whose name is ... Rose. And the one on the left chest a memorial tattoo for his good friend who died in a car accident on his way back to the ship after being on leave. Vignettes of several veterans is scheduled to run on Veteran's Day, November 11. More to come.