Among the photographers who worked out of the photo lab at Cam Rahn Bay, Ken Van Hoesen is the most talented lens man. His photographs sparkle from keen study and excellent technical control. Hoping to create images equal to his, I watch Van Hoesen work. I observe his penchant for seeing his subject from an unusual prospective. He seems to love the very act of taking pictures, and throws himself body and spirit into the process.
This shot of him melding with the rocks of Cam Rahn Beach I believe captures him living the moment. The clothes speak too, considering the time. With military regulations keeping us neat, trim and in uniform, we use our off-duty time to express who we really are. Van Hoesen was a creative sort and fashioned those bell bottoms himself.
Van Hoesen gets out of the Navy in Vietnam. Right before our eyes he becomes a free man, and he chooses to take on the world. We help him plan a fantastic photographic odyssey across the globe that he embarked on directly from Cam Rahn. His pending adventure becomes our great project. We study maps and send away for books. Passage on the Trans-Siberian Railway is a crucial part of his trip home. We send him off in a backpack with promises to write and send photographs. Philip the Poet shakes his hand and quotes Albert Camus, pointing out that he "carries on his back, all he needs to be free.”
The world promptly swallows the young wayfarer, and we never hear from him again.
Ken Van HeusenBill GannPhotographyOklahoma