29 August 2008

Buffalo Soldier. 87 years young....

History walks among us. Sometimes you just have to open your eyes, ears, and mind. Listen up & grasp someone's true story & the life they've lived. Yesterday I photographed one such individual. It was to be my second "history lesson" I'd receive in 3 months. See my earlier post here about retired fighter Lee Carr. I will re-post his piece here as a slideshow as well:
Lee Carr

Retired US ARMY Sgt. Sanders Matthews strutted into the basement offices of the West Point Visitor's Center yesterday, albeit late, but brought with him a wonderful sense of pride, military history, humor and most of all & affecting me the most; a powerful firsthand history of Black people in this country, particularly in the armed forces when he served in a mounted segregated unit in the Army. He took over the room. It was going to be his show. For a man of 87, he had us in stitches one minute, and had me thinking immediately of my elders and their own difficult racial experiences in this country. As a vet, I smiled a few secretive smiles while working extremely fast, as our schedules were tight. (A high school swimming practice still awaited me.) I knew in my mind's eye that I wanted to photograph Sgt. Matthews in a similar fashion that I'd done with Mr. Carr in his trailer park home in June. Here's a brief slideshow of the take, specifically how I started with a few tight "talking heads" as he stood in the wonderful afternoon window light being interviewed. When I'd finally found a comfortable corner in the museum, moved a bench in place for the portraits & threw up two portable strobes, we went to work. I think I made about 100 frames or so during the interview. Like I mentioned, Sgt. Matthews just took over the room... -cg.

*(Use the arrows at the bottom of the player or click the image to scroll forward through the slideshow. Enable full screen viewing by clicking the 4-way arrow icon above the credits button at lower right of the player. )

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