“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson
For years now I've been posting travel-related works, essays and photographs with only the occasional side-tour to something which either caught my attention or otherwise earned a word here on the blog.
Today's going to be something slightly different.
|Le Select Burgers, St Barth|
|New York Metropolitan Museum|
|Great Falls, Virginia|
As a photographer I work in several areas. Travel photography is, of course, one of my premiere interests and vocations. (Heh...spellcheck corrected that word to "vacations'.)
Other areas in which I pursue my interest and at-times profession include the occasional event
photography engagement, in which I cover a wedding; a music concert; a celebration of some kind. Unlike a typical wedding photographer, I tend to cover the in-between moments rather than the usual wedding staples such as "bride and groom with mothers-in-law" or "bride and groom with best man and maid/matron of honor". I know several photographers who make decent money doing that sort of thing, but it isn't really what interests me as an artist. I like capturing people being themselves, not posing but in the moment.
I like to catch people being people. One of my favorite photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson was a master at this, and his works fascinate me no end. Capturing people being people is that middle-ground between photo-journalism -- capturing a news story as it happens -- and human interest. (And believe me, the best photojournalism contains oodles of human interest.)
|Bourbon Street, New Orleans|
|Pike Marketplace, Seattle|
|Alleyway, Korcula, Croatia|
In my travels I try to catch and convey the experience of the trip itself. What it was like to participate in a day tour for example, not just the accommodations of the cruise ship we happened to be embarked upon. If I can effectively convey the moments and the overall experience I consider myself successful.
Which brings me to this particular entry.
Three weeks ago or thereabouts, we buried my mother at Arlington National Cemetery after a six month long agonizing experience of watching her decline and finally pass away from complications of Alzheimer's Disease. If you had asked anyone in the family if we believed this would happens quickly we would have rejected the idea outright. It's an awful disease, brutal and ugly.
Given that 2016 is a year which is pulling no punches nor taking prisoners, losing Mom was a deeply unexpected and profound loss for us all.
But as is befitting a 61 year spouse of a celebrated Navy veteran -- a role which establishes the spouse as themselves an honored servant of the country -- Mom was accorded burial at Arlington with the expectation that at some point Dad will join her.
Running up to the burial I had several discussions with my wife and my siblings, finally asking my Father about the propriety of bringing my camera to document the burial. I personally have the heebee-jeebies about someone standing at a funeral taking pictures. Just seems disrespectful in many ways.
But after consultation, we agreed that we would all like to have some sort of memories. Not of the memorial service, but perhaps of the lead-up, the burial site and a few moments of the family.
I am honored that my Father, who is tight-lipped about any sort of praise aimed in my direction, has asked to share the photographs and my captions with several important family friends who were unable to make the journey back to attend. It means a lot that while he won't necessarily tell me directly he thought I did my Mother proud, he shows it through actions and telling others what a good job was done.
And so, below, I would like to share those images with you. I hope you feel like you were able to attend on a beautiful October day in the nation's most hallowed burial ground.
Cheers. And welcome to a bit of my family.
|My sister helps my father to the limousine for the ride to burial site.|
|The hearse bearing my mother's casket|
|The hearse arrives at the Honor Guard, who will carry the casket to the burial site, which is just left of this shot|
|Mom's casket and the area of field 55. Her burial location is 100 or so yards to the right of this picture, but this shows how beautiful and peaceful the surroundings are|
|Some of the many who have gone before|
|Mom's grave site under the branches of a magnolia tree. She would have been please with that|
|Another view of the plot. She is the first in anew line and directly adjacent to the magnolia|
|Mom's view of the Washington Monument|
|My brother-in-law, younger sister and father|
|Dad leaves to head back to Annapolis|
|What happens when you leave your camera with your younger sister in a family of comedians|
|More of the fallen|
|The view of the Memorial Bridge with the Lincoln Memorial in background|