Friday, May 24, 2013

Honor Flight of South Carolina

I was asked to document 100 WW2 and Korea War Veterans flying from South Carolina to Washington DC to tour all of the war memorials.  It didn't take long for me to say yes to this amazing opportunity.  What an honor it was to be able to join in on the experience of these men and one woman from South Carolina who served our country.  I knew it would be an intense experience full of emotion and it certainly didn't disappoint. 

I haven't been to Washington DC since I was an 8th grader.  I was fortunate to have been able to make that trip as I was this week to experience this one.  We all met early in the morning to depart from the Columbia airport.  Old friends and new ones spent the morning chatting and catching up while walking through the airport while people cheered and clapped for them.  

As we arrived at the Washington DC airport, they were greeted with more cheers and hand shakes from strangers.  It was hard to not get emotional at the welcome they received.  Looking at their eyes, you know these men were touched by what they were seeing.  The emotions ran strong all day long as they were again greeted with a parade of people in line to thank them for their service.  

The day of touring, remembrance, and celebration ended with the grand finale of greeters back at the Columbia airport cheering, complete with a band, banners and what seemed to be the entire town of Columbia waiting to greet their arrival home.  For some of them, it was the homecoming they never had.  For me, it will be an experience I will never forget.

This memorial day, take the time to thank the men and women who have served this country so we are able to live a life of our choosing. 

Here are some moments of the day.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reflected Identities at the Palm Springs Photo Festival

For the past few months, I have been working on a new series.  I started taking portraits of my friends in the Southern California area with an idea in mind. As with a lot of projects I start, they tend to change and take on a life of its own by the time I am ready to show it.  That was the case with "Reflected Identities".  I began the series (I didn't have a title or direction) by photographing my friends for an androgynous series but the more I shot, the more I realized that the portraits were molding into a reflection of me.

Last week, I learned that I was a finalist in the slide show competition at the Palm Springs Photo festival so I attended the festival and spent a few days there.  I was in disbelief when it was announced on Thursday night that I won the grand prize!  There were so many beautiful and powerful slideshows included and I was just thrilled that I was selected to be among the finalists.  When I submitted the show, I had less images than what you see here but ultimately, this is what won the competition.

I want to thank all of the amazing women who have stepped outside of their comfort zone to be completely vulnerable with me.  This has been such a beautiful learning and growing experience... I just can't thank you enough. Many of you have expressed the same so for that, I am grateful. 

I debated on if I should keep the images private and not roll it out to the public, partly because it's so vulnerable to throw it out there.  If my friends can be this open and vulnerable with me, it's only fitting that I do the same with the series.

On a side note... 
A little over four years ago in Palm Springs, I was sitting on a small patch of grass in front of a hotel completely hung over, crying and lost in my life.  That day I stopped drinking alcohol and the months to come I painted and picked up a camera and started shooting.  Last Thursday, I walked on stage in front of hundreds of photographers and people in the industry, to accept the grand prize award. Just a few blocks away sits that patch of grass where I made the decision to change my life.  Anything is possible.

Click to watch below or you can see it directly on VIMEO by clicking HERE


Related Posts with Thumbnails