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‘Flags across America’ - pictures worth a thousand words

Photography exhibit features Madigan surgeon

A photo included in the “Flags Across America” exhibit depicts Col. Edward D. Arrington’s flag themed Contained Housing Unit in Mosul, Iraq. /Courtesy Co. Edward D. Arrington

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Karen Robbins and Dale Baskin are finally getting the word out.

About 25,000 words out, actually.

Robbins and Baskin are behind "Flags Across America", a photography exhibit taking place at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The exhibit, available for viewing in Harborview's cafeteria throughout the month of October, features 25 photographs of the American flag. Creative collages and folk art depicting the flag are also on display.

Robbins and Baskin were interviewed by The Ranger this August regarding their desire to publish a book of flag photographs. While a book is still forthcoming, the exhibit at Harborview marks the first time "Flags Across America" has been available for the general public to see.   

"It's a beautiful collection of photographs and art," said Robbins. "We're very, very proud of what we are showing."

Many of the photographers and artists featured in "Flags Across America" live in the Pacific Northwest. Some are even rooted in the Army. Col. Edward D. Arrington is an orthopedic surgeon currently serving in Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. An amateur photographer, Arrington had heard Robbins and Baskin were on the lookout for photographs of the flag. Remembering a flag he had pinned over his bed at a Contained Housing Unit (CHU) in Mosul, Iraq, Arrington got out his camera. He snapped a picture of the flag and sent it to Robbins.

"She was very excited to have a flag picture from Iraq," Arrington said in a recent email. "She included (the picture) in her exhibit."

Arrington hopes people will take the opportunity to visit Harborview while "Flags Across America" is on display. While in Iraq, Robbins has sent him some of the other pictures that are featured in the exhibit. Pictures, he said, that are outstanding and even awe-inspiring.

"A picture is worth a thousand words," said Arrington. "I believe that the "Flags Across America" exhibit is an example of love of country and patriotism."

According to Arrington, the only negative of "Flags Across America" is that the exhibit is taking place while he is in Iraq.

"I wish I was at home so I could go see the exhibit," said Arrington.

Since "Flags Across America" is located in the cafeteria of Harborview, the exhibit is open 24-hours a day. Many of the photographs and art pieces will be on sale, including a photo of the flag hanging over Arrington's bed in Iraq.

Robbins thinks people will spend a long time viewing and reflecting on Arrington's photo, as well as others in the exhibit.

"Most people see the American flag on some flagpole or flying on a car," said Robbins. "But this is an opportunity for people to see the American flag depicted in a different way."

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