What I love about photography is capturing special moments. Freezing something in time – something that will never happen again. The photographic image captures that…and if it’s a great image, it also evokes an emotion in those who view it.
At military homecomings, those emotional, magical moments are all around you.
I remember the first few military homecomings I photographed for my documentary project (video of that here). Since I wasn’t photographing it for anyone as a job, I was excited to be able to capture whatever happened around me. I quickly realized that there is no way that one photographer can capture it all, no matter how fast you and your camera burst mode are. So when an extra special moment happens – something that stands out among the already amazing moment-filled environment of a homecoming – it feels pretty good to be able to capture it.
I’m kicking off this post with a sequence of shots I captured at my last homecoming. Had we been standing on the other side of the road, or a bit farther back, I wouldn’t have caught it. So I feel lucky to not only have seen it happen, but to have my camera set and ready to freeze this lovely moment in time.
In addition to this shot, I’m including a few of my favorite ‘extra special’ moments I’ve captured at military homecomings. A new dad meeting his baby for the first time. A wife running clear across the parking lot and straight into her Marine’s arms (there’s also video of that one in the above link!) A little boy excited to see his dad again. A Marine and his fiancee in a tender moment amidst the chaos. And each image full of relief to have a loved one home again.