Seattle Photographer Daniel Berman | Seattle editorial photographer | (206) 387-3767

An honorable discharge 61 years later

Posted in assignment work, portraits, Washington by bermanphotos on September 20, 2008

Norman Lauritzen, 83, served in the Aleutian Territorial Guard during WWII and just received his honorable discharge papers from the U.S. Army this summer. Until the papers arrived, he had no idea he’d ever served in the Army. During this period, Lauritzen walked the shores of his tiny town of Unga, Alaska, looking out for Japanese warships patrolling the neighboring islands. The U.S. Army announced eight years ago that all members of the Aleutian Territorial Guard were official WWII veterans and eligible for benefits.

For this assignment I tried both a lighted setup and a natural light portrait. I like how this simple photo expresses Lauritzen’s quiet sentimentality for his service, as well as the strangeness of receiving recognition for something 60+ years later. Lauritzen was very mum about his experiences, only saying that he never had to fire his weapon, and that he didn’t have “any war stories.” Every freelancer knows that the first step to making a nice portrait is connecting with the subject, and luckily Lauritzen was a good sport, giving me all the time I needed to make a striking picture.


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