Photographer shows the lives of 3rd ID Families
Wearing the gossamer wings of a Halloween butterfly, a little Spartan daughter sees off her daddy as he departs for Iraq in October. Photographer and artist Susan Weiss has spent the past year capturing images of the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Families as they deal with the deployment of their Soldiers.

Dorset is a quiet little town in rural southern Vermont, full of neat-as-a-pin, hundred-year-old white farmhouses, rich green pastures and barn-red barns. Townspeople from New York and New England come here ("here," for I am in Dorset as I write) to escape the city and enjoy the peace and quiet of . . . a quiet little town in rural southern Vermont.

Last night in Dorset, in the Long Trail School, at 7 p.m., for $10 a head, an auditorium full of Dorset people came to experience a slide show of images and commentary about Soldiers and their Families in faraway Georgia, entitled, "Ready, Set, Go!"

But this wasn't quite what you might expect of a slide show and commentary about Soldiers and Families. It wasn't about training and war so much as it was about the experience of the Family - specifically, the Families of the Marne Division's Spartan Brigade over the past year.

Photographer and artist Susan Weiss, who, with her husband John, spends winters at their place on the Ford Plantation in Richmond Hill, has spent the past year capturing images of these Families. What has become an intimate view of life awaiting a loved one's return home began as a straightforward project photographing the preparation for deployment of the brigade's Soldiers, and their ultimate departure.

Susan kept in touch with the Families. She began photographing their lives at home, contending with the separation, holding FRG meetings, organizing Walks to Iraq and Afghanistan, Skyping, having babies, and readying for mid-tour leaves.

That's where the project took a turn and evolved, as she says, into "a story of domestic survival and camaraderie . . ."

"It had to be done - no one is out there really following the Families," Susan said.

"Ready, Set, Go" is an immensely positive and insightful view provided by a friend of our Army who until a year ago, barely knew us.

That's what really got to me: Susan Weiss, who lived until a few years ago with John in California, and then came East to the affluent life of summers in Vermont and winters in coastal Georgia, decided Soldiers and Families were very special. She decided our story was worth knowing and sharing.

Last night, an auditorium full of folks paid good money to watch her show and listen to her thoughts. And to connect with our Army - their Army.

Susan may go to Iraq to record the return of the Spartans. She says that's part of the Family story. She should know: she's becoming part of our Family.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16