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The Mechanic

By bmccall
This photo was taken in November of 1968 at the 27th Surgical Hospital motor pool at Chu Lai, Vietnam. The mechanics try to keep all manner of vehicles running anyway they can working 24/7 in the heat and humidity.

Tags: Photo journalism Worker Ambulance Smoking man

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Comments


banehawi Plus
18 2.7k 4311 Canada
2 Sep 2021 1:48AM
Hi Bert.

Did you want this image critiqued, or did you intend it for the general audience?

Its a really nice image too.

Regards


W
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.2k 2527 United Kingdom
2 Sep 2021 9:52AM
Like your last upload, Thinking of home, this is a tiny but significant historical document and therefore it's not really a subject for critique. You cannot go back and retake it, and equally digital manipulation would compromise its authenticity.

Do you have contact with anyone who was involved? It would be nice to think that this image could 'go home'.
Regards,
Moira
bmccall 20 3 United States
2 Sep 2021 2:44PM
I don't really know how to answer the questions I'm presented but I enjoy reading the comments. Here's how it works for me; I'm a snapshotter. I don't set up a shot, I just look for shots. I have thousands and thousands of pictures (and all the negatives) I've taken over the last sixty years. I occasionally go through them and look for something interesting I may never have seen before. Take this shot of the mechanic for instance; If it wasn't for the cigarette hanging out of his mouth I would never have paid it any attention, and I can't say exactly why. Maybe it's because I've never had a job where I could work and smoke at the same time.

Thanks for your interest,
Bert
pamelajean Plus
16 1.7k 2257 United Kingdom
2 Sep 2021 3:41PM
This is a great slice of history, Bert, showing the perseverance to keep vehicles running despite all odds. The cigarette dates the image, too, typical of the 60's.

I have nothing to say in the way of critique, and perhaps this kind of historical photojournalism could do ok in the main Photo Gallery, as long as you can give a narrative, as you have here, so that people understand what it is about.

You obviously enjoy going through your old photos, and the main gallery could well be a good place to share them with others.

Pamela.
dudler Plus
18 1.9k 1937 England
3 Sep 2021 9:37PM
Hi, Bert -

As others have said, this is an interesting document, and carries a real feel of another time and place.

I disagree with my colleagues in that I think it is possible to critique the picture, in that we can say what would make it a better image, and suggest cropping, for instance. And if we treat it as an image, we could suggest ways to make it more striking.

However... I am not sure that would be helpful to you, and I am pretty sure that you don't need our suggestions. You are not likely to be taking similar pictures next week, I think.

So I suggest that you post your pictures in the main gallery, where it's likely that more people will look at them and comment, though probably not in depth on technical issues. But the more people who see them, the better. As historical documents, they will ring bells for other older Americans who served in Vietnam, and strike chords with all who have served in the armed forces.

Can I go a step further? Please, post a series of your images, and tell the stories around them. Consider writing and posting a blog on this site, explaining what you photographed, how, and why. History matters, and capturing memories matters: maybe if more people understood the past we'd make fewer errors in the present...

To avoid posting in the Critique Gallery, make sure there's no tick in the 'Critique wanted' box on the upload page. If you want to find out more about blogging, just ask. On your home page there's a link, and all you have to do is write something, and click the button...
bmccall 20 3 United States
5 Sep 2021 3:04AM
dudler,

Yes, you're entirely correct of course. My pictures are little more than snapshots that really belong in the main gallery. I'll head that way from now on. I have a hundred or so Vietnam pictures on Flickr that even my own kids find boring. Thanks for your, and the other folks, critiques.
dudler Plus
18 1.9k 1937 England
6 Sep 2021 11:55AM
Hi again, Bert -

'Snapshot' is a term with an honourable history, and it doesn't diminish the importance of these pictures at all. My point was that there are more important things to do with them than critique them: we need to see, empathise, and remember, otherwise we will go on doing the same things again and again.

I'd love to see a link to your Flickr images, and have followed you here so that I see more images as you post them. They remind me of the images of Afghanistan that a chap called Peter Manser posted a while back. Snapshots, yes. An insight into a wonderful country and its people, as well. Very sadly, it looks as if his portfolio no longer exists here, which is sad.

I hope to see and appreciate many more of your Vietnam pictures!

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