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Spectacular letter from one of the veteran's family members of one of the veterans I photographed. Letters like this remind me how much I enjoy doing this project:

Dear Tom,

My name is Amy K. and my grandfather resides at Belmont Village in Sunnyvale. I wanted to take a moment to send you a note of gratitude for taking such a beautiful photo of my grandfather and all the residents. It truly means the world to me to have someone honor my grandfather with such a dignified photo recognizing some of his accomplishments in his life. I choked up the moment I realized he had been included.

The last year of my grandfather's life have been filled with tragedy and loss. He lost my grandmother in October, 2014 and right before that he lost his ability to speak due to a stroke. Most recently he has lost his ability to walk independently. Due to his needs so much of his dignity has been taken from him.

Whenever he has been in the hospital or he is with caregivers and I am by his side I try to share a little about my grandfather - that he was a graduate from MIT, he was an aeronautical engineer, and he put some of the earliest satellites into space to spy on the Russians. Though he can't share these details himself, he always smiles when I tell others.

Without taking too much of your time, I could go on and on. I just wanted to send a heartfelt thank you for taking the time to capture pictures of my grandfather and so many beautiful men and women. Our elderly are lost and forgotten so often, but you truly captured their grace and beauty in your photos.

I am filled with heartache and sadness most of the time when I visualize or think about my grandfather's situation and his life right now. But since seeing your photograph of him, now when I see him in my mind, I see the man I want to remember for the years to come.

Thank you so very much for giving me this gift.

With gratitude,
Amy K.

My book with the Stanley Cup!!! No joke! The CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks recently received my book. 
In an unprecedented merger, two celebrated icons came together in Chicago this week to acknowledge and recognize two distinct groups of champions – the Chicago Blackhawks and the Veterans who love them. The Stanley Cup stands proudly behind our veterans, represented by Thomas Sanders’ award-winning book, in deference to their sacrifices and in support of Belmont Village Senior Living ongoing efforts to learn their stories and honor their service.
I have been given a second opportunity to travel the country and photograph our remaining WWII veterans at 22 cities around the country in 2015 and  2016. Belmont Village Senior Living has commissioned me to travel to their communities off and on since 2008 to photograph veterans living in their communities. In 2010, I got a book published with Welcome Books, a subsidiary of Random House on WWII veterans called THE GOOD WAR: THE FACES AND VOICES OF WWII. Originally, I photographed the veteran at a lower angle and against the sky as it was a challenge to get some of the veterans to stand for a long time or I wanted to show little of their wheelchair or walker. Photographing them at a lower angle with a tight cropping focused on the objects they held from the war and the deep lines of their faces and hands. I have always thought of their wrinkles as map lines  from the experiences they had in life. It is tragedy when people erase their lines with plastic surgery hiding the moments created from their past.

On this second round of photographing the veterans, I have incorporated the veteran's images from the war to add more "depth" into helping reveal the veteran's past to the viewer. I love blending art and history together to hopefully change the perspective of the viewer. We need to honor and remember the experiences of our past generations and the sacrifices they made for us. Maybe that old man that was driving 15 MPH in the 30 MPH zone that you honked at last week fought in the Battle of the Bulge or was a Holocaust survivor.

Here are several new photographs of veteran's from Chicago, Atlanta, and northern California. At each location, the veteran's portrait is accompanied with a short story or quote from their experiences. The veteran's families, friends, doctors, and the general public get a glimpse as to who these men and women were 70 years ago.

I have two show openings this week:

Belmont Village San Jose
500 S. Winchester Blvd.
Exhibit Opening
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Belmont Village Sunnyvale
1039 East El Camino Real
Exhibit opening and reception
Thursday, July 2, 2015
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

There will be four show openings in the Chicago area the week of July 19th 















I have started traveling to 20 locations around the country through Belmont Village to photograph our remaining WWII veterans. I started this project when I was 21 years-old at Cal Poly SLO and the series took on a life of its own being published as a book with Random House/Rizzoli and has exhibited at 20 permanent locations around the country. I have been photographing veterans now for almost ten years! The series is about preserving and honoring our WWII heritage. My grandfather Willis Sanders stormed the beaches of Normandy on day three of the invasion and his brother Robert Sanders (who my dad was named after), died in the Battle of Bulge. The back cover of my book is made up of a grid of about 20 veterans. All of them have passed away. In the next 5 years, there will be very few WWII veterans. It is important we honor them. Here are some of my new portraits!





















Seems like it is good timing with the anniversary of VE Day to announce I will be traveling to 20 locations around the country through a corporate sponsor to photograph our remaining WWII veterans. I started this project when I was 21 years-old at Cal Poly SLO and the series took on a life of its own being published as a book with Random House/Rizzoli and has exhibited at 20 permanent locations around the country. I have been photographing veterans now for almost ten years! The series is about preserving and honoring our WWII heritage. My grandfather Willis Sanders stormed the beaches of Normandy on day three of the invasion and his brother Robert Sanders (who my dad was named after), died in the Battle of Bulge. The back cover of my book is made up of a grid of about 20 veterans. All of them have passed away. In the next 5 years, there will be very few WWII veterans. It is important we honor them. 

Here are a few of my latest wine grower photos I photographed for Bedrock Winery in the wine country. Pictured here is Chuy Ordaz, he has been growing grapes for 42 years. 

Below is Lee Hudson, a revolutionary wine grower in Napa, CA. 




Wine Photographer, Wine Photographer, Wine Country photographer, wine advertising photographer



New advertising wine work
I photographed wine grower Pat Wirz yesterday for Bedrock Wine Co.  I asked Pat to pose with the aged piece of wood from the vineyard and when he did it, I told him he looked like the wizard of the wine growers. Pat laughed and said a lot of people tell him he looks like Sam Elliot. This is the first grower from the series.