The life of a photographer who likes to shoot just about anything.

Posts tagged “Independence Day

Happy 4th of July

american flag, independence day, 4th of july

Independence Day 2015


The Fourth of July

Child, Girl, Female, American Flag, Flag, American, Patriot, Patriotism, July 4th

Every year for the 4th of July, I see fireworks. Sometimes it’s live and sometimes it’s on TV. And I like to play John Philip Sousa’s music in my backyard. I know it’s corny, but I am an American and I want to celebrate. And I want to do so with other Americans.

On another matter, many Americans hyphenate themselves – African/Italian/Irish/Hispanic/etc.-American. I don’t. I am of European descent, but I am no more European than I am African or Asian. It’s stated that America is the land of immigrants. Obviously that’s true, but the entire Western Hemisphere is the result of European, African slave and Asian immigration. Before Columbus made that fateful voyage there was no Peru, Canada, Cuba, Argentina…well, you get the picture. America has used immigration to it’s advantage – attracting some of the best and brightest (along with some not so great). In Cuba, Brazil and other nations that also had black slaves, their descendants don’t hyphenate their nationality. They refer to themselves as Cuban, Brazilian, etc. It was a black Canadian who pointed this fact out to me. She was proud to be Canadian, didn’t hyphenate her nationality, and pointed out to me that this was the only country where people didn’t want to say they were from. How many generations of descendants need to be born before you can say that you’re an American? Italians are the descendants of the Romans but they don’t refer to themselves as Italian-Romans. When will we stop hyphenating ourselves and simply say that we’re American? I wonder.


An American on the 4th of July

Child, Girl, Female, American Flag, Flag, American, Patriot, Patriotism, July 4th

Every year for the 4th of July, I see fireworks. Sometimes it’s live and sometimes it’s on TV. And I like to play John Philip Sousa’s music in my backyard. I know it’s corny, but I am an American and I want to celebrate. And I want to do so with other Americans.

On another matter, many Americans hyphenate themselves – African/Italian/Irish/Hispanic/etc.-American. I don’t. I am of European descent, but I am no more European than I am African or Asian. It’s stated that America is the land of immigrants. Obviously that’s true, but the entire Western Hemisphere is the result of European, African slave and Asian immigration. Before Columbus made that fateful voyage there was no Peru, Canada, Cuba, Argentina…well, you get the picture. America has used immigration to it’s advantage – attracting some of the best and brightest (along with some not so great). In Cuba, Brazil and other nations that also had black slaves, their descendants don’t hyphenate their nationality. They refer to themselves as Cuban, Brazilian, etc. It was a black Canadian who pointed this fact out to me. She was proud to be Canadian, didn’t hyphenate her nationality, and pointed out to me that this was the only country where people didn’t want to say they were from. How many generations of descendants need to be born before you can say that you’re an American? Italians are the descendants of the Romans but they don’t refer to themselves as Italian-Romans. When will we stop hyphenating ourselves and simply say that we’re American? I wonder.

At this moment I want to wish all Americans “Happy Independence Day”! Buy a flag and fly it. Tens of thousands of white, black, asian, hispanic – you know, Americans – fought and died for your independence. Fly the flag in their memory.


On Being An American on the 4th of July

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Britain, said it best in his memoir:

“A friend of mine whose parents were immigrants, Jews from Europe who came to America in search of safety, told me this story. His parents lived and worked in New York. They were not well off. His father died when he was young. His mother lived on, and in time my friend succeeded and became wealthy. He often used to offer his mother the chance to travel outside America. She never did. When eventually she died, they went back to recover the safety box where she kept her jewelry. They found there was another box. There was no key. So they had to drill it open. They wondered what precious jewel must be in it. They lifted the lid. There was wrapping and more wrapping and finally an envelope. Intrigued, they opened it. In the envelope were her U.S. citizenship papers. Nothing more. That was the jewel, more precious to her than any other possession. That was what she treasured most.”

Happy 4th of July.


My American Project

I’m seeking individuals who will allow me to take their portrait for my “American Project.” I’m looking for people who call and think of themselves as “American”. Not Italian-Irish-Hispanic-African-Japanese-etc.-American, but just “American”. I realize that this all sounds kind of silly but let me explain.

Before Columbus made his fateful voyage in 1492, there was no United States. And there was no Canada or Peru or Columbia or Mexico or Cuba and on and on. The United States is referred to as the land of immigrants, but the entire Western Hemisphere is the result of immigration. Europeans, African slaves, Asians – all traveled to and settled in North and South America. The indigenous tribal nations of the Americas were conquered by the immigrants and new nations arose. And in these nations, new citizens called themselves by their nation-names – Cubans, Mexicans, Canadians, Colombians, etc. Just one name. Not two. Descendants of African slaves also live in Haiti, Cuba, Brazil and they call themselves Haitians, Cubans, Brazilians. Not African-Haitians, African-Cubans, African-Brazilians. Descendants of Italians in Argentina call themselves Argentinian. Descendants of the Spanish in Columbia call themselves Columbian and on and on. Only in American do we hyphenate our personal history. “Fill-in-the-blank”-American. Why? Surprisingly it was a Canadian who pointed this out to me. She said, “why are people in this country afraid to say that they’re from here? Why do they always say they’re from someplace else?” I’m not sure that we’re afraid to say we’re an American, but we don’t identify with it. We identify with our heritage. And it doesn’t matter if you’re 5th generation American – I still hear, “I’m Italian.” In the past the Italians were Romans but that changed. At what point aren’t you just an “American?” With our different complexions and facial features our ancestral heritage is obvious. But maybe if we only referred to ourselves as Americans, that might bring us together. So that when we hear about an injustice to another American, we won’t say, “I’m not an African, Japanese, Hispanic-American so I don’t care.” We’ll say, “It’s an American calling for help and I’m ready.”

So if you think of yourself as an American – it’s the only word out of your mouth – and are willing to let me take your portrait, contact via email – rich@rjgreenphoto.com – I’ll come to you, and however you would like to display your Americaness – with a flag or something, it’s your choice – I’ll be there. And in time I will be posting your photo to a website “Made in America” where, besides your photo, there will be other images of uniquely American icons.

(If someone wants to participate and they’re too far for me to travel, submissions are welcome. The same rules apply for American icons. I haven’t been to Mt. Rushmore, and won’t be going anytime soon, but if you have a photo to share, please do so. IMPORTANT – The Copyright of all submissions must be owned by the providers of the photographs. You cannot submit photos taken by someone else without their permission. Please download a consent form here – America Project – and mail with your submission. Full credit will be given and originals will not be returned without an S.A.S.E. Thank you.)