This Memorial Day I would like to introduce you to my friend and colleague Bruce Roscoe. Born in Burlington Vermont, Bruce studied photography in the Army in 1967 and served in Vietnam as a still photographer. He was assigned to the I Corp.

As a veteran, he has embarked on sharing the stories and history of fellow vets through the years. Bruce’s project is called Vision of Vets. (VOV) He has been working tirelessly for the past few years to bring his vision to fruition.

Bruce Roscoe

Portrait of founder Bruce Roscoe created by Studio 3 Images Mesa, AZ

Bruce is a portrait artist based in Prescott, AZ. He brings his skills as a portraitist and his vision of making certain the stories of our heroes don’t fade into oblivion to the project. He has started getting the stories into the schools to share the message that “Freedom isn’t free.”

Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne — Image © Vision of Vets

The genesis of the project came when he received a call from his best friend in Rhode Island telling him Agent Orange was taking it’s toll leaving only him six months to live. Bruce shared, “I flew to Rhode Island to capture his image for his family. On the plane back to Arizona I had a vision to start a second company. Since the vision came to me on the plane, I decided to call it Vision of Vets. On June 8, 2017, VOV received 501C3 Nonprofit status.”

Live Portrait

In order to expand and help tell the stories, Bruce is employing Live Portrait technology.

Korean War Veteran John McKinney Live Portrait

Live Portrait technology blends Augmented Reality (AR) with Image Recognition to create images that literally come to life through smart devices. What viewers see is a 3D, mapped digital video playing on top of the print which lives in the physical world. The videos you see on this page are what viewers see when scanning the portrait.

Vision of Vets is being recognized across the nation for the work being done for veterans. The mission is to capture and preserve stories of U.S. combat veterans in forms from which all ages can learn: Narrative, video and portrait photography that use augmented reality. These important accounts compile the history and social studies curricula for late elementary and middle school students in an upcoming publication titled “Portraits of Courage and Conviction.” For wars that no longer have living representatives, actors have been photographed and reenact the stories after extensive research has been completed.

Vision of Vets shared in schools

Visions of Vets’ Live Portraits are already being used in classrooms at Granville Elementary School in Prescott Valley, AZ. Teacher Lisa Pasalich uses the augmented reality embedded in the portraits to teach history in a fun and exciting way. The veterans’ images transform into two and one half-minute videos in which they tell their stories supplemented by historical photographs. In addition, a narrative edited from the hourlong interview is available in print form.

Jessie Keller Live Portrait

Pasalich believes digital and virtual learning tools are one way to engage her students. It offers them an appreciation for our nation and the brave men and women who served or are serving in the military.

During history lessons on World War II Pasalich is able to present the late Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne. In another video, Peter B. Marshall comes to life to describe his experience as a prisoner of war on Guam held by Japan. Fran Ellis talks about working on P-28 aircraft at the age of 17 as a real live “Rosie the Riveter.”

Unbreakable Bond Jesse Keller and her dog Chrach — Image © Vision of Vets

Vision of Vets has recorded experiences of veterans of the Korean War, the Vietnam War and a female K-9 handler. She and her dog served missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. VOV presents earlier wars and interviews re-enactors in historically accurate uniforms as they present their stories going as far back as the French and Indian War.

Pasalich said these accounts have sparked excitement in her students to learn more. When she brings the veteran into her classroom via Live Portrait, students are often overwhelmed. They have expressed their gratitude and respect in heartwarming ways.

You can help

Vision of Vets believes this is a timely, worthwhile and invaluable project that will enhance the lives of students at every level in every school for generations to come. It is important to locate, interview and preserve these veterans’ stories as they reach the end of their lives and before it is too late.

Michael Glover Live Portrait
Green Beret Mike Glover — Image © Vision of Vets

Vision of Vets can use your help in this endeavor.

As I talked to Bruce to obtain images for this post he said, “Yep, after the photoshoot and filming of our Green Beret the bank account is back down to $28. I’ve been here before adding more of my own money to keep the account from being closed. But, when I see the faces of the school children when they view stories coming to life I know we are producing something very special to preserve the memories of what the veterans and our country have gone through to remain free.”

Veterans who participate in creating the videos and sharing their stories receive a framed 20-inch print along with an assortment of loose prints. In addition, they receive printed copy of the video interviews and the Live View video.

Click to get more in-depth information and to donate.

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob