Study of a Soldier and His Country

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by decaphotography, May 19, 2009.

  1. decaphotography

    decaphotography TPF Noob!

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    I had my nephew, who is an air force reservist come into the studio for a study that I had been wanting to do for quite a while.

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  2. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Technically, I think you nailed it..... As an old Vet, I'm not sure about 1 & 3.. As a parent, #2 is beautiful... (Did he get a promotion between the two pictures?)
     
  3. farmerj

    farmerj TPF Noob!

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    Retired Army Guard.

    I think I would have used something other than a Rosary in #1. I am guessing you were going for God and Country. Possibly a bible instead. Simply brown cover with "Holy Bible" on it. As a Catholic, I recognize the Rosary. Not sure others would.

    #2 - Nice. Having deployed, it's powerful

    #3, you should drape the flag over his leg. Would be interesting. Not the sharp angles to the eye from kneeling or the flag just dropping to the ground. Almost like he is truly embracing it then. Flag should never touch the ground. Just proper respect and courtesy.
     
  4. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    i understnad what your going for, but i too have strong feelings towards my flag and seeing it in that condition.
     
  5. decaphotography

    decaphotography TPF Noob!

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    Ottor, he did not get a promotion as we did in a three hour session. I asked him to bring his dress blues and a set of BDU's. He may have chosen one that wasn't up to date?

    farmerj, I hadn't thought about draping it over his knee. Wish I had tried that. It would certainly have softened the image. A bible would have appealed to a much larger portion of the people.

    And to all, I am aware that the flag should never touch the ground but since I was using a paper backdrop rolled out underneath him, I felt that it wasn't truly touching the ground and I was trying my best to show respect for our flag and still tell the story.

    Obviously, these image are controversial but I have two children in/were in the service and generations of soldiers in the family and had a powerful feeling to tell a story. My son is a Chinook helicopter pilot slated for Iraq or Iran in October and served in Mogadishu.

    I apologize for the condition of the flag as it should have been properly disposed of long before it came into that state but it did lend itself to the story I wanted to tell by representing a broken country that needs to be cleaned up.
     
  6. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's not the flag (for me) - but, as an X-Special Forces LRRP (Nam era) , I'm just uncomfortable with the picture itself. With all of the true and spontanious emotion that comes with conflict, I guess I kinna have a little hard time with one that's staged.. Just dzn't set well with me ... but - that's just me and probably my issue alone.. Like I said, the technique is impeccable, and I can actually 'feel' what you were portraying in that beautiful #2 picture, but the flag shots just kinna turn me away a little.. (was kidding about the promotion, however, I've seen them occur in a minutes notice) :mrgreen:

    Please thank your son for me for his service ... it really is appreciated..
     
  7. decaphotography

    decaphotography TPF Noob!

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    I will do that. He will appreciate it.

    Actually, I get the joke! :lol: My son has suffered through many a promise by the army for months and even years and then suddenly, without warning, here it comes. He is a career man and has had a lot of interesting experiences to share with us!

    As I said, I am aware that the photos are very controversial. They illicit strong emotions both good and bad. I respect your feelings and the feelings of all others on this. Whether they are appreciated or are shyed away from, I feel that I did something powerful for my first piece of work on my own.

    I very much appreciate all of you sharing your feelings about it.
     
  8. decaphotography

    decaphotography TPF Noob!

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    There's nothing more exciting than to be shot at................. and missed!

    Ottor, I don't know how you meant for this to be taken but I laughed when I read it. I didn't mean it a bad way either. I was relieved!
    :D
     
  9. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yea... remembering those that put a hole in my sleeve, or whizzed past my ear brings a grin to my face too... And I mean that in all good humor also.. :mrgreen: Tended to piss me off a little when hit happened, but now I look at it and chuckle a little... that happens with age I guess..
     
  10. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    I echo Ottor in all respects. My first and immediate reactions were that the images, 1 & 2, were contrived (while I understand the intent and your images were meant to honor, it still hit me as ... well ... overly controlled). As Ottor pointed out the flag on the ground in such a controlled environment ... well just didn't sit well with me either. The flag looks more aged by weather than damaged through combat ... again just detracts from the primary intent of the image.

    I think as a personal/family reflection of patriotism and devotion ... that the image works ... but as a public display for those who have experienced combat, the image is just too contrived.

    Rick ... LRRP's huh ... been on a couple of those ... gave them up ... you guys are nuts ... welcome back.

    Godspeed to your nephew and all our armed forces.

    Gary

    PS- The same effect could be attained with close-ups as well. A tight shot of hands, Bible/Rosary and flag ... while not personalized, still conveys strong emotion.
    G
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  11. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

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    I think to some degree the fact that people have commented about the emotions and feelings these brought up means that they work on some level, even if the feeling they brought up was discomfort or unease. I guess it just depends on whether the feelings you intended to bring up were those that actually surfaced.

    1 and 2 work for me. I'm not religious, but I can appreciate the emotion in both of them. The last one less so - it does seem more contrived as mentioned. I think that must be it.

    The flag on the floor makes me uneasy, but there are so many things that could be conveying - I assumed you did it intentionally.
     
  12. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    "Rick ... LRRP's huh ... been on a couple of those ... gave them up ... you guys are nuts ... welcome back."

    I'm told that helps... :confused: If you werent' nuts when you walked in, we cetainly were when you came out!! - thanks - appreciate the mention!!

    "I think to some degree the fact that people have commented about the emotions and feelings these brought up means that they work on some level, even if the feeling they brought up was discomfort or unease. I guess it just depends on whether the feelings you intended to bring up were those that actually surfaced."

    As a photographer, I completely agree ..... Nice job.. Wish I could do portraits, but I have to stick to trees, water and critters for now until I learn more.. :D
     

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