"The second time I got shot," says Nicholas, "I was in Iraq. We were riding in a convoy and I had my arm out the window and this random bullet just hit me in the arm. I said Hey! I just got shot! someone behind me said Are you dead? I said No and they said Well, wrap that shit up. So I wrapped a bandage around my arm and about a half mile up the road we hit an IED and our vehicle rolled over. I hit the roof on the inside. My heart stopped and they brought me back with the paddles, it's just like in the movies. I remember I was completely numb and they paddled me and it was like going from being asleep to falling off the bed into a tub of ice water. I was in the hospital for 11 months after that. I got a tattoo of a zombie because I'd been dead and I came back. I have a tattoo for every bad thing that happened to me in the army. I have 18 tattoos."
I've been out working on War Paint a lot lately, my deadline is coming up really quickly. I was so lucky to have met Nicholas who brought so much of the war back home with him but has the most heartbreakingly wonderful outlook on life. I thanked him for his service and he said "No, thank you for making a place for me come home to."
It's hard to describe, really, how emotionally overwhelming this project has been from time to time. I'm so glad to have had an opportunity to meet all these people.
Feel free to share this with friends and relatives who were in the military. I'm still doing photos until the end of July, mostly on the East Coast now, but you never know. Details here.