Cirina Catania Documents Artist of War WWII Veteran

May 6, 2015

By Barbara Goldman

© Cirina Catania

92-year-old World War II marine veteran and artist Chuck Caldwell.

Award-winning Southern California portrait, travel, multimedia photographer and documentary filmmaker Cirina Catania never leaves home without her capture/workflow tools. While visiting family in Pennsylvania, she had her Blackmagic Pocket camera, Sony A7r, a Rode Video Go-mic, 2 lavs, an iRig Pre, Zoom H5N, batteries, a small Lumos light, extra SD Cards, Thunderbolt 2 dock, 4TB OWC ThunderBay 4 mini and 1TB OWC Envoy Pro EX. She also had her MacBook Pro and a small tripod. It all came in very handy. A Gettysburg historian contacted Catania about a well-known local artist, Chuck Caldwell, who also happens to be a World War II marine veteran who fought at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. Catania is known for documenting veterans and their plights when they return home after war. PhotoServe has published her work with the Kionte Story, an Afghanistan vet amputee training for the International Paralympics and her documentary film for Furnishing Hope for Wounded Warriors.

In this latest project, Catania wanted to capture the personal warmth of the 92-year-old WWII veteran. She used the BMPC as A-Cam and SonyA7r as B-cam for 2nd angle and B-Roll, with SDCards for media recording. With a combination of available light, room lamps and a Lumos Trip , she got the illumination tocapture a face etched with years of experience and stories. Like many veterans whose tales she has documented, Chuck Caldwell has a simple motto “keep your mouth shut.” This would be the first time he would give a video interview to talk about his wartime experiences and to share his military artwork to a larger audience other than visitors to his Gettysburg studio. There are sculptures, paintings and sketches all chronicling his wartime memories, including a sketch of his unit and time at Tarawa.

.© Cirina Catania/ Charles Caldwell at work in his studio.

He remembered an evening when an anti-aircraft missile was hit and a piece landed on the pillow he had been resting on just minutes before. He also described the deadly battle on the beach at Tarawa. The Battle of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands was the first American offensive in the central Pacific region where the United States faced serious Japanese opposition to an amphibious landing. Nearly 6,400 Japanese, Koreans, and Americans died in the fighting, mostly on and around the small island of Betio. This was one of the deadliest battles in the South Pacific theater, as all these lives were lost in the space of 76 hours. Caldwell is the recipient of a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his actions in Guadalcanal and Tarawa.

Catania does many pro-bono military documentary projects and corporate films. She is finishing production on Chuck Caldwell and his art and will release the film soon. PhotoServe is proud to promote her film updates of military veterans. She continues to contribute a body of work that we and future generations can see, learn and understand what war is about from our fathers, brothers, sons, mothers and daughters. See more of Cirina Catanai’s work at these sites, and Also, see this blog on her Artist of War here.