Faces of Patriotism

4 07 2010

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I’ve had the pleasure and honor to meet and photograph many of the military families over the past couple of years as a photographer participating in the Operation: Love Reunited program.  Capturing these moments of the families together in 1/250 of a second slices for the deployed soldiers is something I truly enjoy.

Last year, I photographed over 40 families.  I doubt I will do that again this year as they are all starting to return, but I have photographed some.

First up were Chris and Tricia.  Chris was home on R&R from Afghanistan.  It was a bit chilly in March, but the warmth and love was abundant.

Tricia, William, Emma & Chris

I created a small video of their session. You can see it in an earlier post on the blog.  Patriotism there, for sure.

Next up!

Ryan and Sybil

I see a lot when I look through the viewfinder of the camera.  The Ryan and Sybil were proud and excited by their baby’s first photo session.  The pending deployment was not on their minds… at the moment.  Here are three faces of patriotism.

Next up this year were Barby and Violet.  They came down from north of Seattle to Olympia for their session to send to Aaron, based in Afghanistan.

Barby & Violet

I haven’t heard that Aaron has received his album yet, but I am certain he is otherwise occupied.  Barby and Violet – two more faces of patriotism.

Nicola called me. Her husband, Brad,  just deployed in March – also to Afghanistan.  She asked and of course, I was happy to photograph her and Eden.

Eden & Nicola

Eden hated the grass touching her legs. It was fun!

Michelle and her children, Tylor, Parker and Anya wanted photos for their husband/Dad stationed in Iraq.

Michelle, Tylor, Parker and Anya

Hey Greg!  Your family is behind the tree!

The latest family to date Tara and Eddie.

Tara & Eddie

I don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that these deployments are easy.  They aren’t.  It is tough duty for those who are overseas and for those who are left at home.  Eddie was leaving that night.  I asked for a serious look and it came quickly.  Too quickly and I realized that behind the laughter of moments earlier, pain and sadness was only held back for my benefit.  Bravery when you don’t feel it – that is patriotism.

I love these men and women for what they give and sacrifice on our behalf.

These are the real faces of patriotism.

Happy July 4th.





2009 – The Year of The Military Family

14 01 2010

I enjoy photography. I enjoy most people. But, when I combine photography and people, I really have fun!

I photographed 41 different Military Families in 2009.  41 great families all making the best of the impending separation of 12-15 months, with the Dad, husband or son heading to Afghanistan or Iraq.  Ft. Lewis opened the gates and flew 2/3 of its troops to the Middle East/Central Asia.  Ugh.  I really don’t know how they do it with a smile on their faces.  Everyone smiles for the camera when asked — most of the time…

Sensing underlying tension, I often asked  family individuals to look ‘serious’, or to not smile and look straight at the camera.  The resulting images caught me off guard… more than I thought they would.  The honesty of their emotions and their underlying sadness were closer than I thought.  The soldiers were good at quickly dropping into the ‘no smiling now’ pose, but the wives were not as practiced at masking their emotion.

Deployment is Hard On Everyone - Even the Brave.

Though emotion showed when asked, the vast majority of the time we had fun (after the families got used to me shadowing them like a paparazzi photographer!)  Those who know me may blame me for getting the kids into trouble Sometimes, though things could get out of hand…

Corrective Action

In all fairness to the Brevers, I saw the the love the children had for their Dad, and I knew they would have fun posing for this ‘Corrective Action’ photo.

Drop and Give Me Ten, SOLDIER!!

But this was NOT a posed photo!    OK… it was. (The Sanchez family really enjoyed their session!)

The military families I met and photographed gave me far more in return by sharing their love for each other than I could ever have have provided them in photos.  When you listen to the news reports, or read the paper, pray not only for the soldiers in the field, but also for their families listening and reading the same reports at home.  The USA truly is the home of the free because of the brave!

Until my next post…