American Legion Magazine Assignment

I’ve had this article sitting in my drafts folder for almost two years. I thought I would post it as I attempt to get my photography blog back up and running. In January of 2018, I was living life in the fast lane as a freelance photographer. This photo assignment was a prime example of my crazy schedule.

In January, I was sitting in the media room at Thompson-Boling Arena doing a quick check of my email. I was about to walk out and photograph the Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt basketball game, when I got a Facebook notification.

My friend, Melissa Lyttle, recommended me to a photo editor at American Legion Magazine who was looking for editorial photographers in Tennessee. I responded, after a quick conversation and a few text messages throughout the game, everything was set. I would make portraits of a veteran in Crossville, TN and turn it around within the next 48 hours.

On top of a deadline crunch, this was a critical assignment because the story was being considered as a possible cover story. While the importance and turn around time of the shoot was par for the course, the feeling was not. Most of my work is happy, happy, joy, joy where people are shown at their best or even better. This article was not exactly that. It was a gritty story about veterans that had been stationed at the most toxic base in the United States and their problems associated with it.

I made contact with the subject the next morning and set up a photo shoot for that evening. I packed my gear and headed out. Once I arrived on location, the first thing I did was take time to visit with the subject and get to know her a little better.

I did a quick scout of the area and started with a few safe shots outdoors. These could be used as an opening spread or cover if need be. After a few shots, we moved inside the house because it was COLD and beginning to get dark. Inside I decided to use contrasty lighting to make a moody feel to go along with the article. To create this mood inside, I primarily used a MagBeam by Magmod with different gobos. Once I felt we had plenty of diversity for the magazine, I packed my gear and headed back to Knoxville.