Location: San Diego, CA, United States
The theme of this submission is: CONFLICTS OF INTERESTS, a collection of images made during a one year period after my return from service as a combat photographer in Vietnam. While there I served in the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. The pictures are presented in chronological order, a visual journal of a budding photojournalist’s self-assignments between the summers of 1967 and 1968.
I left my M-16 rifle, 200 rounds of ammo, grenades, and body armor behind in Vietnam, but I kept my Nikon-F, per the example of Gordon Parks: 'Choice of Weapons'. I was without any formal training, but I had been raised on a diet of John Steinbeck & Life Magazines. My (virtual) tutors were W. Gene Smith, Dorothea Lange, et al of the Farm Security Administration school. I channeled them all subconsciously, their empathy first, in obedience to a spiritual ‘calling' to witness & record my impressions and emotions of the history unfolding around me, for the ages, my raison d’être. 'Depth of Feeling' became my mantra and theme song, with the words 'Truth to Power' worked in.
Just off the boat, my adrenalin still set to eleven, there was no shortage of fights to join, either as a neutral documentarian and/or partisan. In reading the wire services, one chose the Conflict du jour to cover: the Pro & Con of the Vietnam War; The Farm Workers vs. the Growers; Racists vs. Civil Rights Warriors; Plantation Owners vs. Dirt Poor Share-croppers; Evangelicals vs. Pro-Abortion Advocates. One wishes that many of these issues were no longer on the radar.
In that one year period, I covered stories in Watts, Anaheim, Delano, San Francisco, Oakland, Monterey, CA, Memphis, TN, Marks, Mississippi and Washington, D.C. Thanks to all who lent me their couches! Thanks to any with an interest in publishing my book, in progress.