When a portrait reaps unexpected encouragement…

Tuesday night Brother Art (Baritone Extraordinaire) says to me, “My friends and family say to me that they see all these pictures on 100meninblack.org, but they have not seen any pictures of me.” I was so touched that a) people were looking at the photos and b) Brother Art wanted to have a portrait of him. I told him, “Well we are about to fix that.” right before taking the picture below that I posted to Instagram.

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Brother Art, Baritone Extaordinaire @100meninblack

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Now the smile on his face when I showed him the picture was more than reward enough, but it did not end there. While not that many likes were gathered for this photo relative to others (all likes very much appreciated) 2 of these likes were photography heroes of mine. One in the person of the esteemed and accomplished Mr. Lonnie Graham who wrote “Beautiful portrait” and liked:

and the other in the person of the esteemed and accomplished Mr. Lou Jones who liked the photo also:

It may seem little to some, but this small acknowledgement, 2 words and a few mere double taps, meant the world to me.

Here is the full original:

and this a link to the shots from that afternoon.


RNF – Sight vs. Vision. Don’t worry when others do not see your vision…

They may see what you do , but they may not be able to see your vision. -ELW

I am not sure if other photographers of various classification are struck by this, but I tend to get distracted while attempting to make a vision in to a reality. I will see a situation that looks simple enough to the naked eye, but I begin to see a vision of what could be with some adjustments. Case in point this past Saturday I enjoyed being a part of the 100 Men In Black Annual Concert which was held at the Carolina Theater, Durham, NC. I especially enjoyed sharing the lead on the closing song, an arrangement of ‘My Tribute’ originally by Andre Crouch. Photographers must get used to looking a little off, but at one point during the intermission I went a little past off to some. With many crowded together behind me talking I stopped as all fell silent in my head and I stared off to an isolated corner of backstage where I noticed an interesting arrangement of things and color. All it needed was a change of perspective to make it interesting. I took a quick portrait orientation test shot and then placed my trusty NX300/30mm f2.0, which was on my person the whole night, on the floor. I heard ever more distant banter behind me like, “What’s wrong? Are you going to to step on it?”, and for a brief moment all went silent as I aligned my camera on the floor stooped down and took this one shot above.

I then stood up, and turned around as the background banter returned. I gave no explanation, because vision is not always easy to explain. But I knew I had captured what I was pursuing. To me the picture symbolizes peace, utter silence and isolation, but just behind me was a hornet’s nest of excited intermission chatter and activity. Beyond the curtain there was a theater full of people. The juxtaposition of these extremes in such close proximity is why I hold this one photo more dear than any other that evening. It is also why I love photography. It is very perspective driven. In the midst of chaos came a picture of solitude and peace. It is about what you choose to see. Do you choose to see chaos or peace in a given situation?

Below I add some other photos from that day’s earlier sound check and some taken around the same time as the intermission one above. -ELW

@100MenInBlack Rehearsal “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” First Run Through

Published on Jun 4, 2013
100 Men In Black Rehearsal “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” First Run Through.

Led by Big Anthony. I jumped back to the bass section after hanging out in the baritone section for awhile. Seated in front of me is award winning author and illustrator Ashley Bryan and a representative of the Durham Library visiting as we rehearse for a fundraiser at the Hayti Heritage House also featuring Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, Dean of Duke Chapel. 100 Men In Black Director Marlon West.