Jim Burns, the day he dropped out of medical school
and enlisted in the Army, Lexington, Kentucky, 1968

My best friend in college was Jim Burns. We'd known each other as small boys, then he lived overseas with his family for fifteen years. Reunited in college, we shared a mutual desire not to be trapped in school by the Vietnam war draft.

On weekends, then on longer breaks, Jim and I went on wilderness camping trips. For me they were fresh photographic opportunities. The freedom of these trips contrasted with the claustrophobia of college, especially for the strongly independent Jim, who was in medical school.

One day Jim told me he was dropping out of med school to enlist in the army - to get both school and the draft off his back. I gave him a ride to the induction center.

Just before we left I asked him to stand for a portrait, He's in his backyard. In front of him is a remnant of the pyramid of snow put there months before by the two of us so we would have the last snow in Lexington, Kentucky.


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