Please enjoy my blog. I’m currently upgrading my website and will have an exciting new site up by this fall.
I photographed Iraq War Veteran U.S. Army Colonel Gregory D. Gadson for Guideposts Magazine back in November at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. On the night of May 7, 2007, while returning from a memorial service for two soldiers from his brigade, he lost both his legs and severely injured his right arm, to a roadside bomb in Baghdad. Gadson recounts his story and how he came back from the accident in a moving piece that ran this month’s issue of Guideposts.
Gadson has an impressive resume. He graduated from West Point and while he was there played football for the school. He later served in the U.S. Army for more than 20 years as a field artillery officer and served on active duty for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Forge, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a motivational speaker and made his acting debut in Battleship, a 2012 American science fiction naval war film. Here is a little interview of him about working on the film. He still serves in the military as the garrison commander at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.
I recently spent an afternoon in late December photographing the Civil War era Endor Iron Furnace near Cumnock, North Carolina. The Endor Iron Furnace operated from 1861-1864 and again from 1870-1871. It was built to take advantage of the iron deposits along the Deep River which it was built on. During the American Civil War, the furnace produced pig iron for the Confederate Army. In 2001, the property was acquired by the Triangle Land Conservancy. A historic preservation group – is leading the effort to restore the Furnace. The restoration effort has been under way for more than 5 years, and nearly three-quarters of the required $2 million has been raised. Directions to the furnace.
Continuing with photographing people that live and work in my neighborhood. About three weeks ago, I was heading out the front door where I live and the elderly black man, who lives in the basement apartment came to the gate of his front door. He mumbled something to me, I got close and asked him to repeat what he was saying, it was then that I noticed that his face was swollen. “What happened to you Martin? Did you fall and hit yourself?” I asked. The right side of his face was swollen, and he had stitches on his upper lip.
“It is a long story, I’ll tell you later”
Later that day he told me.
I got to know Martin a bit better that day, I asked him if he had ever been married, in fact he had, and his wife was killed in 1972 while running across a street in DC to catch a bus. She was on her way to work out in Virginia at her night job. She was taking daytime classes, learning to be a key punch operator. He took down to Florida to be buried under a “big ole’ oak tree” in a small town in central Florida. I photographed him holding a picture of himself and his wife from the early 1970’s.
Later I took Martin to the hospital to get his stitches removed. The swelling of his face had disappeared, and he was looking a lot better. On that trip I learned that he and I share some common musical interests – mainly the blues and James Brown. Martin told me he saw James Brown perform at the Howard Theatre in the 1960’s. The Howard Theatre is located just a few blocks up the street from us.
I learned that Martin has worked a variety of low paying jobs in his life. He worked in Florida picking citrus, strawberries, and other crops. He worked in a DC hotel restaurant washing dishes at night and during the day, operated a jackhammer on construction sites. At 77, he still works part-time at a local laundromat.