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.
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!
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