2006.06.18: June 18, 2006: Headlines: Staff: COS - Ethiopia: Photography: The Orlando Sentinel : in the 1960's Carl Purcell landed a job with the Peace Corps to document the work of volunteers - his first assignment was Ethiopia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ethiopia: Peace Corps Ethiopia : The Peace Corps in Ethiopia: 2006.06.18: June 18, 2006: Headlines: Staff: COS - Ethiopia: Photography: The Orlando Sentinel : in the 1960's Carl Purcell landed a job with the Peace Corps to document the work of volunteers - his first assignment was Ethiopia

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in the 1960's Carl Purcell landed a job with the Peace Corps to document the work of volunteers - his first assignment was Ethiopia

in the 1960's Carl Purcell landed a job with the Peace Corps to document the work of volunteers - his first assignment was Ethiopia

'The day after I was hired, I started on a round-the-world trip,' he says. First stop: Ethiopia. 'A Peace Corps worker had just been eaten by a crocodile in the Nile,' he remembers. 'I was granted an audience with Haile Selassie and was shocked to see that he had two full-grown lions posted outside his throne room.'

in the 1960's Carl Purcell landed a job with the Peace Corps to document the work of volunteers - his first assignment was Ethiopia

Clermont resident finds world travel a snap

The Orlando Sentinel

Ramsey Campbell

June 18, 2006

Carl Purcell is a travel photographer whose art has graced publications ranging from National Geographic and U.S. News and World Report to travel sections in The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

But this 77-year-old retiree's most famous image -- a billowing American flag merged with the Statue of Liberty -- appears on a 39-cent stamp.

'I got congratulations from colleagues after they heard the photo was being used for the stamp,' he says. Unfortunately for Purcell, the 8-year-old image credited to him and his former wife, Ann, was one of a handful of royalty-free photos available from an Internet archive.

'The only payment I got for it was a check for $150,' he says ruefully.

Still, an online archive at corbis.com is home to 12,800 of his more than 300,000 photos and is a primary source of income for him. One popular photo alone -- of palms blowing in a typhoon in the South Pacific -- has netted more than $25,000, Purcell says.

'It's like having a toll booth on the information superhighway,' he says.

A native of Indiana with a degree in art history from Indiana University, Purcell got his start while writing features for a local newspaper.

One day he also had to take his own photos: 'I found I enjoyed that very much.'

After graduating from IU, he got a job as director of photography for the National Education Association and traveled across the United States, documenting the disparity between rich and poor schools.

Inspired by President Kennedy's inaugural speech, he landed a job with the Peace Corps to document the work of volunteers.

'The day after I was hired, I started on a round-the-world trip,' he says.

First stop: Ethiopia.

'A Peace Corps worker had just been eaten by a crocodile in the Nile,' he remembers.

'I was granted an audience with Haile Selassie and was shocked to see that he had two full-grown lions posted outside his throne room.'

After a couple of years with the Peace Corps, Purcell joined the Agency for International Development to do much the same thing. He traveled through Asia, Africa and South America, visiting areas devastated by earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters.

After 17 years of government service, he decided to roam the world as a freelance photographer and travel writer.

Together with his wife, they explored exotic sites around the world, clocking more than 4 million miles of travel while visiting 99 countries.

Along the way, Carl and Ann Purcell wrote four respected travel books, and their work appeared in virtually every major travel publication.

They moved to Clermont three years ago from Virginia, where they were based when not on the move. After they divorced recently, she moved back to Virginia to be closer to their six grandchildren.

Latin America beckons Purcell says he's happy in Central Florida but is nevertheless thinking about moving to a more-exotic locale such as Panama.

'I've seen some of the worst and some of the best in the world,' says Purcell, who has been hang gliding in Switzerland, slept in an underwater hotel, chased a wayward elephant on the Serengeti and survived a mortar attack in Bangladesh.

It's a lifestyle he can't hang up even as he pushes 80.

Retired Disney publicist Charles Ridgeway counts Purcell as a friend. Both are involved in the Society for American Travel Writers and have been to conventions and events together in Egypt, Hungary and Brazil.

'He's dedicated to his craft and is a very knowledgeable traveling companion,' Ridgeway says.

Purcell says his favorite places in the world are: the Florida Keys, Ireland, the Swiss Alps, Panama and Paris.

The worst travel destination? Mauritania, according to Purcell. He vividly remembers a giant cockroach that crawled up a pants leg one night in that poverty-stricken West African country, 'But even Mauritania was interesting,' says Purcell, adding he never visited a country in which he couldn't find something to like.

A historian immortalized For a man who has chronicled different people and ways of life around the world, an image of Purcell himself has made its way into American history.

Purcell found out about it accidentally, while touring the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.

Entering one of the display rooms, he was taken aback by a life-sized sculpture of himself as a photographer taking pictures of Martin Luther King's March on Washington, D.C., in 1963. He had no idea that another photographer had snapped his picture.

That anonymous photo was used to make the life-sized sculpture of Purcell and his trusty Nikon FI camera for the museum.

Purcell says he recognized himself because of the camera, a one-of-a-kind watch he wore, and the way his ears stuck out.

'It blew me away,' he says.

Ramsey Campbell can be reached at rcampbell'orlandosentinel.com or 352-742-5923.





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Story Source: The Orlando Sentinel

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Staff; COS - Ethiopia; Photography

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