It Ain’t Over Till It’s Overbeek

FOR WILL VAN OVERBEEK, traveling from his home in Austin to Harlingen to shoot the Marine Military Academy (see “ A Few Bad Boys ,”) wasn’t anything new: Ten years ago he did the same thing (for a proposed photo essay that never got published). In fact, photographing cadets has been the hallmark of the 42-year-old’s career. In January 1981 his photo essay on the Aggie corps of cadets (“ Being an Aggie Is No Joke ”) appeared in Texas Monthly, and a year later it was expanded into a book titled, simply, Aggies. And in 1985 he shot an acclaimed series of photos at the Marine boot camp in San Diego. So it was natural for TM to send van Overbeek back to Harlingen for a shoot that, in his mind, was much more successful than his last. Back then, on the day he visited, “they weren’t really doing anything,” he says. “They marched to breakfast and marched to lunch, and that was all they did that day.” This time, he explains, “I still knew the grounds and the physical layout and what the setup was with the kids and the drill instructors. It was a wonderful experience because I knew what I wanted to try to get and everything just clicked.” Especially the shutter of his camera.

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