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I have been going to the World War II Days event held every year over the D-Day weekend (June 6) in Reading Pennsylvania for about 18 years. My interest in the World War II era, the waning numbers of the veterans still alive and in decent health, and a need to do personal projects that are meaningful on several levels were the main motivating factors for this project. The goal of this assignment is to capture archival images of history, humanity and sacrifice while portraying these WWII Veterans as larger than life.
The approach was fun, exciting, and at times very challenging. The plan was to contact the Veterans via telephone prior to the event. Arrive at the airshow Friday to make contact with potential veterans, scout the locations of each aircraft, do test shots, talk with the warbird owners, the museum owners and any other entity that needed to be cleared for photography. The difference for this assignment from years past is the posing of veterans in front of warbirds and the addition of strobe lights on stands near aircrafts.
The veterans, owners, reenactors and myself are all thrilled with the results of larger than life veterans, dramatic lighting, and WW II Warbirds as the main background element. As a note, the veterans who were contacted prior to the event were not interested upon my arrival; the in-person, cold calls were however 90% successful.