What Does Freedom Mean To You?


I recently came back from a trip to New Jersey. My family and I were guests at a wedding. I had a little time to myself and went to take photos of the new Freedom Tower in New York.
What started as a singular task soon turned more detailed and meaningful. As I was taking photos of the New York skyline with the Freedom tower in it I noticed a monument. I was at Exchange Place in Jersey City. The monument was dedicated to the Polish people and the massacre at Katyn, Russia. The Russians under Stalin murdered around 15,400 Polish Police, Intellectuals, and Military officers.
I am sure there is some symbolism or significance as to why the rifle is upside down. The officer is being stabbed in the back which is how cowards murder the innocent.
I placed the Freedom Tower in the background as a reminder that we are the beneficiaries of all whose blood has been spilled in the pursuit of freedom.
I then went to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. From there I could get a different angle of the Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty. I had just gotten there and was setting up to photograph a WWII statue with the Freedom Tower In the background and this elderly gentleman walked up and stood in front of the Statue. He leaned on his walking cane and put his head down.
Realizing he was a veteran I quickly took a photo. No sooner had I done so and he moved away. I ran up to him and asked if he was a veteran and he said he was. I thanked him for his service.
This photo speaks volumes to me.

The statue is if a WWII soldier carrying a victim of the Holocaust. The gentleman is leaning on his walking cane with head down in respect and possibly reflecting on his experience of war. The statue is looking down at him as if to say ” I know what you suffered”. I believe non of us truly know what a soldier who has seen combat has sacrificed or suffered. In the background is the Freedom Tower. This is what they fought for, our freedom.

So what photography tip can I give you today? Learn composition and lighting and using your camera on MANUAL. Practice till your camera becomes part of you and you don’t have to think about it. You just do it.  Some photo like the one of the statue and veteran last for only seconds. If you are not quick because you are fumbling with settings you will miss it. It will be like that fish that got away.

One last thing, next time you see a soldier thank him or her. It’s because of them that you are reading this in English.

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