There are moments that for whatever reason just stick with you. It might not have been the most beautiful setting or the best lighting but the energy captured makes all the difference.
In 2005 my band (Hollowellmusic.com) was asked if we were open to tour and play for our troops overseas. We immediately jumped at the opportunity and found ourselves on a whirlwind tour of 14 countries in 40 days including Bosnia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq and a few more. At the time I knew nothing of photography and even less about journalism.
I started the trip with a small "point and shoot" type camera which ended up getting stolen in the first week of the trip, along with my cell phone. After not having a camera all the way through Afghanistan I purchased a better than average digital camera at a PX in Kuwait (not a DSLR or anything fancy) and carried it with me on the lowest possible setting to take as many pictures as possible.
This was my introduction to photojournalism. I learned very quickly that there are moments in life that regardless of how well lit or framed, that need to be captured and told. If nothing else so that the very nature of war and sacrifice can be captured in the pure unedited and raw perspective.
We spent an entire day with a Marine unit on the Iraq, Syria border. We set up and played an amazing show at an abandoned train depot. Early the next morning we packed up and headed to our next destination. At the same time a group of Marines were gearing up to head out for 48 hours of patrolling the border. At the time it meant certain action and a likely chance that some would not return. As we were heading off to the air strip I grabbed my (at the time) new camera and attempted to capture these Marines as they packed their Humvee's and prepared to put themselves in harms way. This picture, even though low quality, is the epitome of photojournalism. To capture a single moment that sticks with you for the rest of your life. A photo that takes you to a certain place in time regardless of the years that have passed since.
This morning Marines were prepping for a patrol. Some laughed and joked with false bravado, others celebrated the coming action jokes and put off the "serious nature" of the situation, which is a very necessary defense mechanism for those about to walk through hell. But one soldier sat on the hood of his Humvee, and in a moment of peace and calm prepared himself for the coming day. He might have been praying or perhaps reflecting. As a lax Christian/Buddhist I personally think he was soaking in the quiet and prepping for the level of intensity that comes with 48 hours of being on the edge.
Whatever he was going through or preparing for has turned into a single moment that I will never forget. Again I say thanks to all those who carry a weapon and put themselves on the line so that I don't have to.
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