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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Boots On The Ground


In 2004, I was taking pottery classes at Clayworks on 9th Street in Charlotte NC. and Gerry joined an embed with troops going to Iraq to do a story on the first anniversary of the Iraq war. He called me one day to say that he would be out of touch for a few days and couldn't say where he would be, but he would check in as soon as he could. A few days later, I was driving in to Charlotte to go to my pottery class and heard on NPR that two American journalists had been killed in southern Iraq, which was where Gerry was heading. By the time I got to Clayworks, I was sick with worry, could not focus on making anything and finally ended up in tears. Bless the people that were there that day, they consoled me as best they could and then one of them suggested I call home and see if Gerry had left a message. And by some small miracle he had. He was alright, he was at a camp with the troops that were looking after him and I calmed down a bit. 


 Forward to 2013..... on 7th Street in Charlotte, just two blocks away from where I learned to make pottery, is the Levine Museum of the New South. And Gerry's work from the Iraq war is on exhibit there, along with an exhibit of Margaret Bourke-White's photos of the first M.A.S.H unit during WWII. Imagine, you shoot one of the best assignments of your career and your work ends up in a museum alongside an exhibit from one of the most famous photojournalists of our time. That has got to feel pretty great. I am incredibly proud of Gerry and what he has accomplished since I met him. We met when I was 19 years old and his first job for the Greensboro News and Record was as a stringer shooting pet of the week. Now he works for the largest news organization in the world and has a show in Charlotte. We drove down to the big city today to see it. Gerry had the flu the night of the opening reception and this is the first chance we have had to go.


 This was probably one of the last really great photojournalist assignments Gerry worked on before he went to work for the Associated Press and started sitting on the basketball court A LOT, shooting sports photos for our sports obsessed culture. Gerry has a great job, and he loves what he does, but what he does best is tell stories with his photos and he doesn't get to do nearly enough of that anymore. Sadly, journalism is dying a slow and painful death and I for one am sorry to see that. I have hopes that the generation behind us will see how important it is, and keep it alive and truthful.
When this photo ran of this little boy, it really struck a nerve with the Observer readers. The chaplain that Gerry traveled with on his trip said his images were really getting the soldiers noticed and phone cards and things for them were pouring in.


 The exhibit is so well curated and I was very impressed. We thought that Gerry's photos were to be part of a larger exhibit but instead they took the actual pages from the stories he and writer Mark Washburn filed and printed them full size on boards and the page spreads were placed all around the gallery. It made quite an impact visually and I love how they did this. As I stood in that room, I just had chills looking at those photos. They are powerful images and they reminded me of what a really great photographer Gerry really is. Sometimes with all of the football and hockey and basketball I forget that he used to tell amazing stories, back when there was real journalism.




 There were several other people included in this exhibit, one was an artist that did a floor installation of the country of Iraq printed on a vinyl canvas, more about that later.
As we walked around looking at all of the photos, Gerry kept saying, where is my tank photo? It was one of his best images and they had asked for it specifically, but it wasn't in the gallery. I walked outside to shoot a photo of the building for my blog and found the tank photo, haha!

 I'm not really sure how we missed this going in! This is probably the largest format Gerry has ever had a picture run.
 He even got a photo credit:)

So, if you are in the Charlotte area, stop by the Levine Museum and check it out, the show is pretty great and the Margaret Bourke-White photos are pretty special too.
Wesley was home last weekend and completed her application to transfer to UNC here in Chapel Hill and enter the journalism school. Imagine that! She practically grew up in the newspaper building in Greensboro and has been able to go on assignment from time to time with her dad, and she wants to tell stories. Two peas in a pod, she has had a great example of how to do it, we will see what happens. Fingers crossed she gets in!
Congrats Gerry! I am really proud of you and the work you do... xoxo

17 comments:

cookingwithgas said...

We need to see this. How wonderful for him and you all to see him getting this recognition for his work.

Dennis Allen said...

Wow this is nice.Thank Gerry for telling these stories.

Kelly said...

Wow, this is so amazing! Congrats Gerry, for a job superbly done.

Anna M. Branner said...

Fantastic Tracey! What a proud day for Gerry, and for you. It is surely amazing to see so much of his work in one place, especially on such an emotional experience. Thank him for me!

Lori Buff said...

You have got to be so proud of him and he must be so overjoyed. I really wish I could get up there to see this exhibit, it sounds really moving.

Michèle Hastings said...

Wow! What a great achievement, congratulations to Gerry. Good luck to Wesley with her transfer, I have no doubt she'll get in. Will she live at home if she transfers? My daughter ended up living at home and commuting to school after her first year... she just didn't like living in the dorms.

Laura Farrow said...

WOW!! SO excited for Gerry! How awesome. xoxo

Shannon said...

Congratulations to Gerry--what a thrill to be alive to see a pinnacle moment in one's work honored. And then to inspire your child...that's got to be a pretty good day. :) Good reporting on your part, too, Tracey.

Dennis Allen said...

It's a long way from Pet of the Week to Margaret Burke White. As Joe Biden might say. "This is a big******* deal!"

Tracey Broome said...

Hey guys, I'm just checking in, thanks to all of you, have forwarded your congrats to Gerry!!!!
xoxo
Dennis, it sort of is a big f@#*ing deal, I'm really proud of him!!!!
I have watched Gerry stay the course in his career, wish I could have been that consistent :)

handstories said...

congratulations to Gerry! Such important work- the telling of stories.

Kings Creek Pottery said...

The commitment to tell the stories of so many people is truly a calling. What an amazing body of work- clearly from the heart. Congratulations to Gerry~

Sherry said...

What an honour! So much to be proud of!

Amy said...

wow, great pics! Thanks for this story and good luck to your girl in getting into school closer to home.
Also fun to see your houses at Lark & Key in CLT this past weekend. What a wonderful gallery!

jffollies said...

A BIG THumbs Up to all three of you. An amazing family.

Tracey Broome said...

A ww, you guys are sooooo sweet!!!! Thank you for your kind words. Xo

Susan Wells said...

Hooray for Gerry! I know you are proud and have every reason to be. What a fine man you have there.