My Dad hit Normandy Beach on D-Day 5. He was a mechanic and truck driver in the motor pool; if he even carried a gun he never told me. He rarely spoke about the war.
My memory of him as a photographer was a lot of vacation film shot with the lens cap on. But after he passed I found a box of photos from 1945 Berlin that are consistently impressive. They are tiny, taken with a Zeiss-Ikon camera he bought when he got there, but when you scan them and blow them up, there’s plenty of visual information in those black & white prints.
Sometimes being in the right place at the right time with the right equipment can result in something timeless and wonderful. And because of that, and because of so many cameras everywhere today, it’s easy to think that photography is simple. It’s understandable why clients often don’t understand the cost of quality photography.
It’s one thing to catch a special moment in passing; it’s quite another thing to also create that moment, stage it believably and then capture it in exactly the way that matches what your client is saying. It is a real art to make the staged feel spontaneous—hours and hours of pre-production before the shutter clicks. Yet most folks only think of that moment.
In memory of the 70th anniversary of D-Day 5, we’re posting some of the shots that happenstance made special so long ago.