After seeing Full Metal Jacket in 1987 I decided that I would become a professional photographer.
I also walked over to the USMC recruiting station and began the process of enlisting in the Marine Corps. Over the next month I met with two recruiters several times. They guided me through the process and were all in all friendly.
When I told my girlfriend back home she cried. My mother was encouraging. However, I did not anticipate my father’s reaction. He is a Vietnam era veteran and when I told him my plan he… all I can say is that he was against it, passionately.
I returned to the recruiters. I had no choice but to tell them that I was pussying out. I hung my head and explained about my father. They understood immediately. One of them put his arm around me and said that everything would be okay for me, even if I never become a Marine.
However, inspired by Full Metal Jacket I did go on to became a professional photographer.
Recently I spent an hour in the Full Metal Jacket room of the Stanley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA. It was like being 19 years old again and staring into the disappointed faces of those two recruiters… and also into my own personal Kubrickian abyss.
(all images from the Full Metal Jacket room of the Stanley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA)