I got a December Dallas Morning News cover!
As a young budding photographer in San Antonio/Austin, there could be no better newspaper gig other than working at the Dallas Morning News. Dallas, with its pro sports teams, urban crime, big city lights, and its money, afforded a big world of photo opportunities. Dallas was up there with LA, Chicago, New York and Boston. At the time, I felt these were the papers that made all the difference. Before the crunch of the digital world and shrinking budgets, staff photographers at the big newspapers would jet around the world to big sporting events, shoot Presidents and Prime Ministers, and cover conflicts at home and abroad. I saw these photographers, many who won major prizes, as the ambassadors to the visual world. Nothing could top being staff at a major newspaper and the Dallas Morning News was it for me.
Life changes and I followed different paths and hoped around the world only to end up in Hawaii–a far cry from Dallas.
So…a few weeks ago, I get booked to shoot a gig for Dallas. Sallie Stratton’s husband, Chuck, was shot down over Laos in 1971 and the POW/MIA group based in Hickham AFB found his crash site and remains. Sallie, who lives in Dallas, spent a good portion of her life wishing and hoping one day that phone would ring and her husband would return. After photographing her in the short time that I had with her here, you can just never understand what loss that woman had in her heart. Its unbelievable to think she held on that long but what else would you do?
S0…the MIA team found the crash site, dug through the wreckage and found the tiniest of bones.
Mrs. Stratton flew to Hawaii for the repatriation ceremony in which her husband finally came home.
It would not have been human for me not to shake as I shot some of those images. But as hard as it was for Mrs. Stratton, she survived as did all the memories of her lost hero killed in action.
Hard work and being in the zone helped me capture some of these unique images. I assume the eds in Dallas liked what I did as they gave me the cover on the first of three special issues of the paper. It was even the Sunday issue which most likely is the biggest issue of the week, not to mention the lead of the story.
My other issues ran on the third day of the series on the inside. I felt my photos and the David Tarrant’s story did a great deal of justice shining a light on an individual who lost the most important person in her life.