PEOPLE | CULTURE | HAPPENINGS
A local nonprofit continues its mission of providing
meaningful memories for deployed service members
IMAGES and headlines of our troops no longer dart across our
television screens every night. It might seem that our service
members are back home, safe and sound.
But despite the media’s lack of attention, our armed forces
continue to serve overseas. United States military members
are still in harm’s way in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hot spots around the
This is not news to HeartsApart.org.
It’s another busy day at Studio ILM, the photography studio tucked
neatly away off Oleander Drive. A HeartsApart.org photographer centers
the lights on a service member and his family.
The soldier is headed overseas. When this portrait session is over, he
and his family will have free-of-charge keepsake photos.
HeartsApart.org cofounder Brett Martin started the organization to
counteract what he saw as unscrupulous photographers taking advan-tage
of service members.
“I learned that photographers were lingering around local military
bases offering ‘free’ photo shoots to soldiers and their families,” he says.
However, these shoots were not the godsend they initially seemed.
There was a catch.
“After the shoots, the photographers were charging families outra-geous
sums to actually get the photos,” he says.
Sometimes the costs amounted to upwards of $4,000.
“I found that heartbreaking, and it really made me mad,” Martin says.
“I wanted to shut it down. That was when I reached out to Brownie with
the idea for HeartsApart.”
Wilmington photographer Brownie Harris, whose career includes
capturing American icons such as John F. Kennedy Jr., Andy Warhol, and
Truman Capote, immediately jumped onboard.
“I knew instantly this was something I wanted to do,” Harris says.
“At that time, when people thought about military and war photography
they still thought about Vietnam, but there is so much more to it.
I wanted to show that.”
Harris possesses an acute understanding of the toll war and deploy-ments
take on a service member’s family.
WBM november 2018
BY L. M. DAWSON
As an act of service, eight years after its founding,
HeartsApart.org still provides free professional quality
photos of United States service members and their
families to help them stay close during deployments.
BROWNIE HARRIS ERIC ADELEYE