Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

From NPR article:
And of course, that's very traumatic. It's very traumatic for me. Before a shoot, I don't have a storyboard. I don't know whether this person will be angry at the world — or maybe at me — or if they will break, how to deal with vulnerability. You have to be ready for the whole human condition to play out. You go in so raw. You just have to make very quick emotional decisions.
And sometimes I get it wrong.
How so?
I went to a lady's house. Her name is Jessica [Gray]. Her husband wrote an op-ed criticizing America's policy. Shortly after that, he was killed in Iraq. They'd recently had a little girl.
I'm setting up my studio in her living room. I'm dealing with a woman's pain and courage, facing a new life that's going to be difficult. That becomes consuming. I saw the flag they'd draped over his coffin and I said, "Would you be prepared to hold the flag?" She said of course and took the flag out of the box.
I asked her, how would you feel wearing a piece of his clothing in tribute to him? She said, that's a good idea. She had received a box of his clothing, it was at the base of the bed but she had not yet had the courage to open it. All his clothes, his Army T-shirts were in the box. She said, maybe now is the time to open it.
And then I thought, oh — what am I doing here?
She undid one latch. I undid the other. And as she lifted the lid, she burst into tears.
I felt so ashamed. I really blew it. I thought, for the sake of a photograph, you went too far. I said, "I feel so ashamed. I didn't want to hurt you. Let's not do this. This was a bad idea."
She said, "You don't know why I'm crying. I've just realized they washed his clothes and I wanted to smell him again." She said, "The pain is there whether I open the box or not. Now the box is open and I think I would like to wear his T-shirt."
This is not the look of a victim. This is the look of a woman trying to pull all her strength together to face the future.

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