Following on the footsteps then of our rather unusual September presenter (forensic photographer, John Farrell) is another, out of the ordinary, speaker. Cpl. Ray Lewis, from the Camp Pendleton Marines, will be volunteering his time with us that evening. That, alone, is a special thing, but we are doubly honored to have THE Marine's "2006 Photojournalist of the Year" share his images and experience with us! He, and his fellow Marine photographers, have taken some outstanding images, which you can view by exploring this link: www.mcnews.info/mcnewsinfo/marines/gouge/marines.htm Cpl. Lewis is also the Press Chief for the Camp Pendleton Scout, which is the official weekly newspaper of the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base.
And while this is again a departure from our normal venues (standard portraiture, landscape, wildlife, etc.), it is a continued foray into the extremely varied worlds of photography. John Farrell gave us a good grasp of what his job entailed, and entertained us along the way. I'm sure Cpl. Lewis will do likewise. And one last note: This presentation is not a political forum but rather a glimpse at the experiences of a military photojournalist.
And from a story Marines Magazine wrote on Cpl. Lewis when he was deployed to Iraq:
Cpl. Ray Lewis sticks to one rule when performing as a combat correspondent: "Never limit myself to the last shoot. I'll get dirty if I have to. The riflemen do it, so why should I be exempt? If you don't take risks, you won't know how far you can go," said Lewis, who graduated from El Camino High School in Oceanside, Calif., in 2000 and attended ITT Technical Institute in San Diego.
After receiving his associate's degree in computer-aided drafting in 2003, he worked in fast food for a little while before deciding his life needed more discipline. So like any hard-charger, he went to his local Marine Corps recruiting office and signed up.
"I went home, told my mom, and she was horrified," said Lewis. "My mom thought, with all my education, I should have joined the Air Force." When telling the Marine Corps story, Lewis tries foremost to focus on the ground troops.
"A fellow combat correspondent once told me 'You got to tell their story, man. It's important because they might not come back,'" said Lewis, currently stationed in Iraq with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5. "He was so passionate about it, and he was right. I didn't really understand what he meant until my battalion lost a Marine."
Lewis assumes his role in the infantry battalion with great relish: "Who in their right minds would dodge bullets and bombs just to take a picture? Me, that's who. I appreciate each crazy moment because some civilians would love to be this close to Marines in combat."