Back to the present though still touched by the past

Easter near Khe Sanh, Vietnam. Photo credit: David Hume Kennely/Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Easter near Khe Sanh, Vietnam. Photo credit: David Hume Kennerly/Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Back in present day Austin I was fortunate enough to attend a stunning photo exhibit at the LBJ Presidential Library on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

At the exhibit I saw the original of the above photo and had the chance to meet David Hume Kennerly, who was there in attendance along with a group of about ten  photographers featured in the exhibit.

This gathering was described by someone I spoke to as the photojournalist equivalent of having the likes of George Clooney, Harrison Ford and Meryl Streep, etc.,  in the same room.

Among the many images on the walls covering American history from World War II to the present day were many reminders–such as the photo above–of the reoccurring theme of combat in foreign lands.

Photos from the Vietnam War have always held a power over me, inculcated during years of boarding school nights watching every related war film made, which has only intensified after going to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kennerly’s photo brought to mind the following photo taken in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2009:

Big guns and big cock-ups; an unfortunately recurrent theme.