Saturday, October 2, 2010

The work of which I am most proud... again...

Robert N. Dechene, 23 / Army – Tour of duty 7/16/67 – 9/17/67

Raymond A. Borduas, 20 / Marine – tour of duty 5/5/68 – 6/4/68

This story was originally posted when I first started this blog, and because of the significance of the work (to me) and the dramatic increase on folks visiting this blog I wanted to dust it off for more people to see.

Of all the work (photographically) I have done, these two images are what I am most proud of. Though they may have little to do necessarily with photographic skills, the families (and fellow veterans) think them to be wonderful “pictures”.

I was a green beret (special forces) at the end of Vietnam, so the fact that seven boys (literally, boys) from this small town in southern Maine where I call home never returned is of significance to the people who live here.

After more than 30 years (and for the first time) I finally visited the Vietnam War Memorial. While there I took a picture of the panels that hold the names of these two of young men.

Here is a (very abbreviated) overview of what I did In Photoshop:

1. Burnt all but their names so they were pushed to the background but still viewable
2. Painted their names white to make them stand out
3. Took one of their old pictures (scanned it) and converted it to digital
4. Combined their old photo with the photo of the wall that bore their name

It was difficult at times working on these images, having these young men literally “looking” back at me… and at one point the Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here” came on the radio… I will save you the details; suffice it to say I was glad no one else was at home.

Then it came time to give them to the families. Roberts family had been told something was going to be delivered to them, all of the family and friends in the area had gathered at the house and were waiting… after they passed the picture around several times and looked at it for awhile, they all climbed in their cars and headed to the nursing home where his mom now resides, so she could see it.

Rays family was equally as grateful; his brother has been to my studio more than once to thank me.

I did not do these for praise or recognition, but because these boys deserve to be remembered and I wanted to do my part to make sure that happens.

12 comments:

nate said...

thank you for your service sir, I have great respect for people of your caliber ( green beret, that's bad-Ass!), and these photos are a remarkable tribute.

Scott said...

Thank you Nate... but the years have not been quite so kind as I would now be considered more of a fat-ass...

;)

Anonymous said...

A Green Beret with a big heart, that is power!

AC said...

I can only imagine what these meant to the families. And, although, a little late, thank you for your service to our country. I have never taken our armed services (and their) families for granted.

I really like your work!

Anonymous said...

That is an awesome tribute. A keepsake for the family and a reminder of their sacrifice.

Zeker said...

Sgt. Sadler's "The Ballad of the Green Berets" was a song that made a significant impression on me as a young boy. I played that 45 over and over again until I nearly wore it out. I haven't had that song enter my conscience for some number of years. Your post brought that song back in an instant and also brought tears to my eyes. I thank you for your post and also for your service to our country.

Maryann [MF*****Fotos] said...

Powerful stuff Scott! Incredibly beautiful memorials! You should be proud.

Jodi Renshaw said...

Well thought out & well executed. Wonderful tributes. Thanks for sharing with us all.

Chance said...

very powerful. Thanks for sharing this.

Michael Brillant said...

Having been to the Wall in DC and visited the Traveling Wall, both are equally moving. There must be some supernatural powers linked to them because whenever I shoot them I get some very striking photos, almost eerie. Thanks to all past, present and future American Warriors.

Jeremy said...

Great work!

half blind said...

I never stop to think that a photographer or a blogger is or has been anything else other than that. But of course everyone is so much more. Wow...a Green Beret. Truly amazing. Thank you Scott for defending this great country. Your great work for those families illustrates what most people conveniently forget: Freedom is not free. You're one of the good guys.