Here is an short story from my friend Koty. He interviewed me over coffee at Starbucks for a college assignment. I thought it was very interesting and wanted to share to everyone. Drop Koty a line and tell him what you think....
Robert Trawick has taken a lot of photographs. He has photographed flowers, people, weddings and babies. He has also photographed yachts, Pope John Paul II, orphanages in Bosnia and the crash of a top-secret F-117 in the New Mexico desert.
Robert has led an exciting life since the day he was born. He’s an award winning, well-traveled photographer leading a double-life as a father and husband while working, managing his own business, spreading his love of all things photographic and taking his daughter to school in the morning.
Born in Seville, Spain, to a strict military father and a loving Spanish mother, Robert, 43, has always loved photography.
He received his first camera, an old, even at that time, 1958 Argus C3, from his aunt when he was 13.
“My aunt found my uncle’s old camera in the back of her closet, and she gave it to me,” Robert said after setting his camera bag, with his current camera, a Nikon D200, inside, on the table.
Five years after receiving the camera from his aunt, Robert found himself a rebellious teenager living in Laurinburg, N.C., desperate for an escape.
“I realized that the only way I could get out of that small town was to join the military,” he said, taking a sip of his Starbuck’s coffee.
When he originally joined, his plan was to get an education, travel the world a bit and save up some money, but he found that he enjoyed his time in the military. He ended up spending 20 years in the military, considerably more than the four he originally intended. He said there’s even a chance he’d still be there if he hadn’t gotten cancer.
Robert was discharged from the Air Force on Sept. 1, 2001, during his 20th year of service after he developed kidney cancer.
“I felt like a throwaway,” he said, downtrodden. “I’m very happy with where I am now, though. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
During Robert’s military career, he took photographs in over 30 countries, used leading-edge camera technology and even won coveted awards.
Robert’s most widely publicized photographs are of USAF Capt. Scott F. O’Grady. O’Grady was shot down by a surface-to-air missile while flying in Bosnia in 1995.
Soon after O’Grady was found, an F-16 “missing man” formation was flown at his welcome home party. Robert’s photo is of O’Grady’s face, with tears flowing down his cheeks, as he saw the five-plane formation flown with four planes.
Robert’s photograph was widely published, primarily in military magazines.
Another event Robert recollected photographing was the crash of a F-117 Nighthawk while on a landing approach to Holloman Air Force Base.
Robert laughed as he recollected the story. While losing the $122 million plane was somewhat of a disaster, the pilot survived.
“The pilot ejected, got caught in some telephone wires, cut his parachute, slid down the pole, walked to the nearest house and called the base to tell them he crashed the plane,” Robert recalled.
Robert’s responsibility that night was to photograph the damage and pieces of the plane.
“It was an incredible sight, how the huge plane broke into pieces no larger than this chair,” he said gesturing to the empty chair to his right.
While these photos are noteworthy, they are not his favorite or most memorable.
During the Bosnian War, Robert was in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the Red Cross. While there, he visited an orphanage for children whose parents had been ethnically cleansed. Robert brought candy for the children, but as he brought the candy out, his camera saw the kids begin to fight.
A nun at the orphanage later explained that the children had not seen candy in a year.
“The children were fighting over the candy. It was a life changing experience. I was in awe of things I take for granted,” he said with a kind smile.
Robert’s photographs were published in Time, USA Today, Stars and Stripes and many smaller newspapers.
Robert is not only a photographer. He has priorities that hold more importance over his hobby and business of photography. Robert’s family is always the top priority, but sometimes it can be difficult balancing his job, his own business and his family life.
“Robert is very much a family guy. He takes good care of his daughter,” said Brian Denton, his long-time friend.
Brian said that Robert is very personable, but the funniest thing about him is that he knows nothing about sports, but he’s one of the photographers for the Oklahoma City Yard Dogz.
“He is completely oblivious,” Brian said.
The one thing Robert does know extremely well, however, cameras, he loves to share with the world, former co-worker Nick Cosentino said.
Robert is well known at his job, Baker Photo & Video, as being the most knowledgeable, patient and friendly salesperson there who loves to share his expertise with anyone willing to listen.
“He loves to see everyone succeed,” Brian said.
Robert will continue to take his daughter to school in the mornings. He will continue to make it to work on time. He will also continue to make the most out of every moment he spends awake. He is not just a photographer, but a man who tries every day to make the most out of his life.
Have a great day!