Soldier's Farewell

To wrap up my very military-oriented day Friday, I said goodbye to some very brave soldiers.

On Friday, after shooting ROTC's CWST (and taking a nap since I woke up before 5 a.m.), Grant Hindsley and I ventured out to Jefferson City High School. I had gotten word from KOMU's twitter account that there would be a farewell ceremony for the 428th Transportation Company. I was intrigued.

"Moments" are a photographer's dream. Photographers seem to have this serious boner for moments and events where moments are rampant. And I knew that a company of soldiers leaving for Iraq would be chock full of moments.

The 428th Transportation Company, a reserve unit, left for Iraq for Operation New Dawn. Although the Iraq was is technically "over," occupation in countries where we are fighting an insurgency are rarely over.

As it could be expected, the farewell ceremony was quite emotional. I was very actually kind of nervous going to the event. I think often of the prospect of two of my loved ones leaving for a foreign country for war someday. I didn't know if my emotions would get the better of me during the event.

I was also very careful photographing this event. Surprisingly, Grant and I were the only members of the media that showed up. I was glad it wasn't some media frenzy with reporters taking advantage of an emotional situation. Of course, I was kind of doing that, but I always try to have much more poise and tact when photographing events such as these.

For example, I was very careful about firing off a bunch of shots during patriotic moments. I didn't take any pictures during the national anthem or during the numerous prayers that were said during the ceremony.

I was also very careful about sticking my camera in people's faces. During the ceremony, husbands and wives were very touchy and a few women were crying. I didn't want to just get up in their face and snap a few. I tried to slowly and surreptitiously move, acting like I was preoccupied with other things when framing up the shot. Of course, being noticed is inevitable in most situations, but I always like to try and diminish any notice of myself. I also talked to those in attendance at length afterwards instead of just getting their names and going on my way.

Photographing children is also equally difficult. Children seem to have a serious radar when it comes to camera. Most are hams and love you to take their picture. That, or they're super shy and hide their faces. I find that usually, the longer you stick around and photograph children, the more they will get accustomed to your presence. And then they will ignore you.

All photographs copyright Katie Currid © 2010. All rights reserved.