The Photo of the Year
December 16, 2005

The December 19 issue of Time Magazine is on sale right now. I suggest you rush right out and buy a copy. It is extraordinarily good. Of course, since I fancy myself as a photographer, you will understand why. The issue is devoted to the best photos that the editors of Time Magazine picked for 2005.

Most all of the images are really good. There is one, however that is great. (Why I think it is great can be read below the image table. Click Here for the Back Story)

(As usual, click on the little picture to see the big picture.)

This is the issue on the news stand. Go buy it. Right now. You need to see these photos.

(Legal Disclaimer: If you are a lawyer for Time Magazine or any other interested party with a copyright issue, I don't have the faintest idea how this page got posted on my site. Really. I don't. Somehow, a power greater than me read my mind and did the deed. I think it was God's hand on the keyboard. He probably ran the scanner, too. Therefore, please take it up with him if you have a dispute. I just want to say, "Thanks, God. I appreciate you liking Time Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Jim Sheeler and Todd Heisler enough to intervene on their behalf, on my humble website.")

This is the Photo of the Year as chosen by my friends. Please buy the issue so you can see it in high rez and not this little scan. (Be warned, however, that this is a big scan and will take a while to open on a slow computer.)
I sent Todd an email to learn about his equipment choice because I'm a gear head. (He shoots an $8000 dollar Canon. I shoot an $800 dollar Nikon. He isn't a better photographer because he has better equipment. He is a better photographer because he is a better photographer.)

In his reply, he directed me to the full story written by Jim Sheeler in the Rocky Mountain News. As many of you know, I am also a writer. I'm no more as good as Jim Sheeler than I am as Todd Heisler. This is not a mea culpa.. it is my way of establishing my bonafides so you will take my word... this is a stirring story that takes a long time to read. It is a story that is worth reading. 

(As it turns out, the Marine in this photo was from the same unit I was  stationed at in 1973.)

Click on this link to read this fine story: Final Salute

Suggestion: Have a box of kleenex handy.

The Back Story

I joined the Marine Corps in 1969. During the war, I served at stateside bases and didn't get to the war except on one occasion when I crewed on a flight of body bags. As the years passed, I did more and more in photography and worked on a couple of papers as a photographer and lab rat. In 1991, I started shooting for The Heritage and had some really good assignments, one of which led to a submission to the Society of Professional Journalists annual awards program. Needless to say, I didn't win. Mostly because I was up against people who have real talent, people like Todd Heisler.

As many photos as I will take in my life (and the current box score is almost 177,000) I will probably never have the eye and the vision people like Todd have. I'm not envious of them but I am in awe of them.

This photo represents one of the reasons I strive to take a good photo. I hope that someday I will have the happy confluence of opportunity, equipment, technique and vision to make this kind of image. I carry a camera every day of my life living under the hope that this dream will come true. I am not delusional enough to think that there is a Pulitzer in my future (mostly because I'm not employed by a paper anymore) but I'd like to have a photo that I can say is great, as this one is.

This image is incredibly complex. When you look at it, your eye is immediately drawn to the coffin and the Marines. This is partly because the wing root points the way to the cargo door. After the initial impression, the cargo door handle points your eye toward the window. You start to notice there are people in the windows. Then you start looking at them and you begin thinking about your view of the war. Then...well, then you start feeling whatever you feel. Perhaps, if you are like me, you cry a little remembering friends who are living in coffins in places around the world.

Thanks, Time Magazine and Todd Heisler and Jim Sheeler. 

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Once again, there is no copyright notice.
Once again, you have blanket permission to steal whatever you want.
Once again, send me a check with a lot of zeros before the decimal point.
Once again, well, never mind...