Military homecomings — the joy of a family reunited after months or a year of separation.
Last fall, I had the privilege of photographing one such reunion for a very unique couple. Antares Martin, a graphic designer for Antares Martin Design, asked me to photograph her husband’s homecoming. She and her husband have known each other for ten years and will be celebrating four years of marriage this Thursday? During that time, the couple have been through their share of deployments. Antares believes there have been between 3-5 deployments that lasted for 3-6 months, but this deployment was the longest at 9 months. Just two days before her husband deployed, Antares lost their planned pregnancy. The couple had no choice but to grieve separately. She was also in her last semester of college.
Antares wanted her husband to experience a no-holds barred homecoming like she experienced when she returned from military service. Before this homecoming, her husband had never experienced the warm welcome her family showed her when she returned. Antares told me that she remembered her "homecoming and how it was made special by my family who showed up with signs and . . . even got interviewed by the local news station. It was something I’ll never forget. I remember my husband telling me about a girl he was dating during one deployment. After he came back, she didn’t even bother to come see him pull in. I knew that since this was the first (and hopefully last) BIG deployment he has had since we have been together, I needed to make it special for both of us. I had never heard of people getting photographers for homecomings in the past, but when I first heard mention of it, I thought that would be the perfect way to help us keep those special moments during the day with us forever.”
Being a master designer, Antares had many idea about what she wanted, and I was more than happy to help. Inspired by old movie posters and the ’40’s or ’50’s style dress she was planning to wear, she wanted to “recreate those old movie posters to bring some fun and flare to our homecoming. It is my intention to pick one of them and get it printed and framed to hang in my house, now, that is a unique military homecoming poster no one else will have!”
What a perfect homecoming it was for the sweet couple! We did a candid homecoming session with a few poses at the end to fulfill Antares movie poster wish.
I asked if she had any words of wisdom for those going through deployments to add to this blog.
"I went through hell this deployment, my husband and I discovered that we had lost our planned pregnancy (two days before he left) and we had to go through all of that alone and away from each other. I was in my last semester trying to finish my degree and was unable to fully grieve both the loss of our baby as well as the temporary loss of my husband. The one thing I learned quickly was to let people in your life know exactly what is going on with you. I told my instructors and they were quite lenient with me. Because I was open with people I was not only able to finish my classes and graduate on time but I also did it with straight A’s! I also learned that it is very important to know when to accept the fact you’re not a super hero and can’t do everything on your own. Know when to ask for help and don’t be ashamed of the fact you can’t do it all alone all the time. The other thing I learned is that if you don’t have family and friends in the area find other people in the same situation as you. You won’t get along with every military spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, parent, etc. but all you have to do is find a few that you click with and stick with them. Maybe they are new and you’re seasoned, or you’re new and they’re seasoned, or you’re all new and/or seasoned, whichever the combo it is important to find these people. These are the people you can talk to about everything you’re going through and they will understand more than anyone else, it makes life so much easier to have someone to go through this with. You never know, they might just end up becoming a part of your extended family (unrelated of course) because during the most difficult times they were there and could understand when no one else could.”
Meeting and working with Antares was a pleasure. If you would be interested in having your photos turned into a movie poster moment feel free to visit her webpage Antares Martin Design . She or someone in house can help you create a piece of art that encapsulates a joyful moment.