In preparation for any new work, Zenos collects and reviews all available documentation on his new subject. Research for this project included a careful study of photos and film of the Air Force Honor Guard as well as in–person interviews. He took hundreds of photos of the Honor Guard himself from all possible views. He took close ups of their uniforms—their shoes, pants and sleeves, and their positions while in motion and at rest. He took shots to see how bearing the weight of flags, battle streamers and ceremonial weapons affected their stance, balance and motion as well as the creases in their uniforms. In the case of the female Honor Guard, he recorded her hairstyle.
Several visits to Bolling Air Force Base were made possible by the Air Force Memorial Foundation for the purpose of interviewing members of the Honor Guard and watching and photographing them in action.
We were overwhelmed by the amount of explicit detail present in every aspect of Honor Guard culture. We were also impressed with the commitment of these young men and women to the Honor Guard, their devotion to their work, and their skill at presentation and choreography. They patiently explained anything we wanted to know and showed us the many nuances of Honor Guard dress and practices. They showed us, for example, how one must judge the distance between ones face and the flagpole—by counting finger widths from the nose—and how some airmen tape down their ties to guard against the vagaries of the wind. Some keep important directions and other information inside their hats.