A few weeks ago I came across a 5x7 print that I had photographed back in 1983 or 1984. I remember uploading the image to our very first AOL website 15 or so years ago and didn’t think much of it at the time. Back then we were just “self publishing” photos to the web to share with family, other photographers. While I felt it was a good image - I didn’t think it would rise so much in popularity over time. September 11th changed all that. About a year after September 11th - I got an email slide show from a retired military officer friend of mine Terry Oneill. All of the photos in the slide show were respectful of the men and women that served our country, a tribute to honor, country and the first responders. I was so surprised to see a copy of my photo mixed in with the rest. I emailed Terry” hey - that’s my photo from years back, where did you get it?" The reply was to be expected... “Oh I don’t know, it was just fwd to me and I passed it along to my friends”. So now 10 years after September 11th - this photo is all over the web, there is even a facebook page about this photo. I’ve seen on the web, this photo used in positive tribute sites, and a few “anti military comments” also associated with this image. I have seen someone else take credit for the photo (but maybe they were just taking credit for the “respect” poster with the use of the photo). I had one webmaster ask me that how can I prove its my photo? She stated it was on her site for the past 5 years and others have come forward to claim the image, that the website she got it from gave her permission. Well, I scanned the print with out the text in the upper left corner, that seemed enough for her. Another person claims that the person in the wheelchair is their father and they are just out of frame, standing to the right of the photo. (might be, there is a shadow on the jacket - was someone else standing, I don’t remember). Most sites I found the photo on have updated with proper credit - thank you! About the photo: I was just out of the Navy in March 1983. I lived in Concord CA at the time and would travel into San Francisco to photograph “spot news” images, freelance for local magazines and try to get my name out into media row and the San Francisco magazine community. I was just out and about when I saw a the parade starting, I positioned myself to capture the man in the wheelchair with the Marine Color Guard coming around the corner. My thoughts would be that most people would stand for the passing of the flag, and the “veteran” in a wheelchair would remain sitting, this might be a nice image of those who served. I did not expect the opposite to happen - the man struggled to stand and most everyone else stayed on the curb. I knew I had something special but never got the photo published. I think the original photo was on Kodachrom 64 and converted to a copy neg for printing, that was my process back in the 70’s and 80’s for all slides. I made several 5x7’s and 11x14 and 16x20 and “boxed” the images along with other unpublished images from the 80’s. I’m sure I have the original slide or neg in a box someplace as I don’t throw away this kind of stuff. I can find the prints I made... but not the slide... yet. I still have dozens of slide boxes to go through. Its fun looking back, re - living memories - I found 2 great photos of my dad when he was very young that I don’t even remember taking... They are treasured items as my dad is now in the hospital and could move on any day/week now. I ran across some photos of my mother - she passed about 7 years ago ?? Nice day in SF with mom. Anyway - off with my wife of 23 years to take some bridal images of a beautiful young lady - I wonder what memories we will create today that will be shared in the near future, and then again 20 or so years from now...
Update 12/02/2011 - Today I received an email from Dave - (see below)
Your photo of the man in the wheelchair really hit home with me. It inspired me to write this song:
The Memorial Day Parade.
I play the song and other American classics at local patriotic events and nursing homes in south Alabama.
It's all complimentary, I do it for love of country and never charge anything for these shows.
People are always asking for a copy of this song (many with tears in their eyes).
I have taken the liberty to create a half page flyer, with your photo and my lyrics, to give to those interested.
That's when the search began for the original photographer to give proper credit.
The Facebook page led me to you.
With your permission I would like to properly include your photo, with credits of course, on the attached flyer and on the web page that carries the audio version.
The credits do not stand out on this low-res pdf but they do on the hi-res version. I am a printer by trade and these will be photo quality laser printed.
Here is the audio sample page with the link to the photo: http://songramp.com/Strider
and a link to the lyrics are here.
Incidentally, if you ever do offer a large print (8x10 or so) of this image I would frame it and hang it on my wall.
Thanks for your consideration,
Well Dave, YES - I love the song! I will email you privately and see what we can do to get you a high res copy... Thanks, Ray