They say that knowing your subject is as important to portraiture as lenses and gear. I learned a lot about Larry today. Nancy and I have worked out at the same gym for a dozen years, and have made many casual friends. A group of us go to coffee after our workouts on Saturdays, and Larry's one of the regulars... a funny guy who always has a joke and a smile. He's a total goofball at parties... But there's a pensive side to the man, too. He's been divorced for years, lives alone, and his kids, who he adores, don't have much time for him... unless they need something. View attachment 6851 He really enjoys the companionship of our get-togethers, and has never missed a birthday party, a dinner, or one of our Saturday coffee chats. View attachment 6852 Larry's had health problems for the last year. He's undergone several angioplasties, which seemed to work, but recently has been having unexplained chest pains. The doctors have him on nitro pills, and he's scheduled for testing in a few weeks, but it's been weighing on his mind. He showed up for coffee today with a little velvet box. It contained a Bronze Star, and he was uncharactistically eager to pass it around and talk about it. After everyone had looked at it, I took him aside and asked him about the show-and-tell. He explained that when he came back from Viet Nam, nobody wanted to talk about the war. During his marriage, his wife had never expressed any interest in what he had been through, and now his kids are too busy to care. Facing his mortality, he just wanted someone to know. I'm not going to share his story, because this post isn't about politics or war. Leave it to say that Larry was an 18 year old kid when he was drafted and sent to fight on foreign soil. He received the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross during his two tours. Larry let me take a few shots with his medal pinned to his chest, and for a few moments, concerns about his future vanished and were replaced with his pride in having served his country and comrades well. I tried to capture that look for you. View attachment 6853 We'll visit again, and I'll try to create a more picture essay, because, hopefully, his kids and grandkids may care some day. At least I was able to let him know that I do.