A Touching Veteran Portrait Series In Honor Of D-Day

A Touching Veteran Portrait Series In Honor Of D-Day

My buddy and DC photographer Willis Bretz has been busy working on a personal portrait series in honor of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Mixing his history degree and his flourishing photography career, he wanted to create something that reflects his love for both. Learn more below about this personal series that was even picked up by The Washington Post for their coverage for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

According to Willis:

"You may not know this, but I graduated college with a degree in History. Yes, you read that correctly, History. I knew that I never wanted to teach the subject, and everyone would ask what I planned to do with it if not teach. Frankly, I had no idea. Like photography, it was something that I was very passionate about and still am. Like my photography internship at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, I am always looking for opportunities to mix both history and photography. This personal project of photographing D-Day veterans from WWII for the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, France is one of these opportunities.

Back in March, I realized that June 6, 2014 would be the 70th anniversary of D-Day when the Allied forces invaded Normandy, France in hopes of turning the tide of WWII. The sad truth is that we are losing WWII veterans at an increasing rate every day. With this in mind, I wanted to do my part in recording history the best way I know, through photography.

I immediately went to the internet searching for names of soldiers who had taken party in the Normandy landings and lived within a reasonable driving distance. In the end, I was able to get in touch with three veterans who were willing to sit down with me, share their story, and allow me to photograph their portraits."

Read his full BTS post here.

Check out more of his work on his website.

I love his shooting style. The lighting has an almost natural ambient quality to it and the posing is very natural, as if the subject has known the viewer for a long time. What do you think about the series and the images?


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Chris Blair's picture

Great post, thanks Douglas. It's hard to belive it's been 70 years..

Mike Folden's picture

I love the color in these so much. Any good tuts on the muted/cinema look that he's executed so well here?

James Nedresky's picture

I also love the lighting, very simple, no fussy stuff, but enough to bring out the mood and character of these veterans. Because of this simple lighting, the military mementos in the background of many shots can still be recognized, but like many stories out of the past, seem to almost be fading away. It couldn't be more appropriate to this story. Beautiful work.