By Lea Hartman on | No Comments
(Originally published in October 2017)
For the past several weeks, I’ve been thinking about what to write about regarding photographing my my military family. Having spent the past decade as an army wife, I thought that maybe I’d have some insight to share. Maybe even some foolproof tips to help other military families as they document a life that is rife with challenges that most can’t begin to imagine.
A life of unpredictable uncertainty.
Last week my husband flew to a desert in the western United States for yet another training mission. It’s life as we know it. He’s gone often, sometimes with only a few weeks in between trips. We try to make the most of having him home and we were actually thankful that this training mission was only a short week-long excursion.
On Sunday, he boarded a homebound plane out of Las Vegas and got home safely later that evening. Just over an hour after his plane landed, a gunman at a concert in Las Vegas unleashed terror from his lofty perch high above the crowds… a crowd my husband was a part of himself, the very evening before.
I learned the following day that my cousin, was one of the concert-goers that was shot. Luckily she survived, but will live the rest of her life with a bullet lodged in her shoulder.
Fifty-nine others were not so lucky, and lost their lives, not to mention the hundreds of others who were terrorized and wounded. And so, as I sat down to write, I found that I simply did NOT have any words.
A few days went by and I once again sat down to gather my thoughts and write something photographically helpful. But then I was assaulted once again with the news that three American Green Berets were killed in Africa and two more were injured.
They were in the same unit as my husband, deployed to a region of the world my husband spent time in previously, and one he will revisit in the future. Please excuse my vagueness. One can never be too careful. And once again, I didn’t have the words
Obviously, the events of this week have hit me close to home but that’s the thing… it can hit any of us close to home, at any time.
There is no safety net in life. You are guaranteed the very moment you are living and nothing more.
So, here’s my TOP TIP; my number one piece of advice for documenting your life, military or otherwise: DON'T STOP!
There are 62 grieving families this week who would give anything for another moment to record; Sixty-two grieving families who have only those recorded moments to hold onto.
Pick up your camera right now and go take a picture of someone you love. Don’t overanalyze it, just enjoy it. Keep it. You’ll never regret doing it. But you may regret if you don’t.
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Lea is a self taught natural light photographer currently based out of North Carolina. Happily married for 14 years, she and her lover boy are raising three crazy kids wherever the army sends them. She's addicted to coffee, jamberry and her dog, Huxley.