I had an assignment last week to photograph an 85-year-old WWII veteran named Keith. We had a lively conversation about his time in the war, about the manner in which he was shot by a German soldier (remember: never throw a third grenade from the same spot), and about my Japanese American relatives and family friends who had served bravely during the war. Truth be told, probably 75 of my 90 minutes with Keith were spent talking. As his lovely wife Carol put it, "He can talk all day about the war - and he does."
But this was one of those great assignments where you get a free pass into someone else's life and stories - and it made me miss newspapering, where these moments happened more often. Over the phone, I had asked Keith if he had any mementos from the war, which might look good in a photo. When I arrived, his old dress uniform was there, and when he put it on, it still fit him like a glove. Carol, who'd been married to him for 56 years, smiled and told me she'd never seen him in it.