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I was assigned to create moving, emotional portraits of a diverse set of veterans who reside at The NJ Veterans Home At Vineland for the November issue of New Jersey Monthly Magazine, which is dedicated to Veterans Day. This home has housed vets from the War of 1812 and was founded in 1899. These vets carry an extraordinary repository of stories which are told through both the images and interviews. The portraits are to be heroic and sensitive whiles demonstrating the existing diversity of vets. Props and environment are secondary but help to support and create narrative with the faces and gestures to be the focus.
Due to limited access and logistics we were contained to the theater room at the facility along with a military assigned media escort. We used a grey background to create separation while allowing the carpet and flags that were in the room already to provide the context without overwhelming the subjects. The background and background stands remain part of the image showing a set within an environment - both a traditional and contemporary approach.
"The set that Dave constructed for the Vets transformed the florescent-lit nursing home environment, and allowed the men to take center stage in an almost regal fashion. Their pride—as well as a myriad of emotions—came across in all of the pictures. Beautifully crafted lighting, and attention to every detail in composition and color is evident, but it’s the emotional quality—more than the technical—that really set these pictures apart for me." - Words by Laura Baer, Creative Director of New Jersey Monthly