Here is the caption for that picture: 'Rochester, NY, USA. A former US Marine corps sniper with his weapon.' Shane agrees that he is a former Marine and that he is standing with his weapon in Rochester. My firm recollection is that Shane described himself that day as a sniper. He may have misspoken; I may have misunderstood; or he may have used the word 'sniper' in a manner that was not meant to imply formal status as a Marine Corps Sniper (he spoke for a long time about sniping). In any event, if Shane was not actually a Sniper in the Marine Corps the caption should be changed to read 'Rochester, NY, USA. A former US Marine Corps member with his weapon.'
The fact that a former soldier is described as being "a former Marine sniper" or "a former Marine" is totally irrelevant to the picture and to the story. This is what the photographer recollected. Memory works like that. Maybe they talked about some sniping and he later formed the concept he was a sniper. Who cares that he wasn't? What's the difference?
If he had been a former schoolbus driver and the photographer had described as a former bus driver would had made any difference? Maybe for bus drivers being a bus driver or a schoolbus driver makes a difference. For the world it is factually irrelevant. The person is obviously not any more in service since many years .
He never said the picture was taken in Crescent but again, frankly, that doesn't matter. The picture is evidently posed. It's a portrait. In a photographic service you dont' have people shooting each other or breaking into houses. You have to somehow "depict" things. It's normal. It's normal documentary photography. The photographer creates a situation that describes a situation. You cannot be there while somebody is raped to make a reportage about raping.
I had been spending the majority of my time riding along with the Rochester police in the Crescent and otherwise interacting with the community there. I approached the work through a combination of reportage, portraiture, and even landscapes. I also realized that to tell more fully the story of gun violence in Rochester, as exemplified by what I was seeing in the Crescent, I wanted to make some portraits of gun aficionados. Like any journalist, I worked with my assistant to locate such people, and Shane was one of the people we located. I think his portrait, and even his reaction to it, add an interesting dimension to the story.
I was the subject of such a picture in my life once, there were an Italian TV crew and a two British photographers. The British photographer (Steve Day, a friend of mine, now sadly passed away, and a very good photographer, I suggest you visit his site) captioned my image (from behind) as a poacher arrested by the police (I was there as an anti-pouching volunteer instead). That's legitimate as we were reconstructing an arrest by the police of a poacher. The photographer is never there when the real poacher is really arrested. That doesn't mean that all this posed pictures aren't legitimate as reportage.
A reportage is a photographic service around a story, a theme, a situation. A portrait is a portrait is a portrait.