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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have always enjoyed photographing people. Funny thing, a lot of folks still refer to me as the guy who walked through the Appalachians "taking" pictures of mountain people. Those images certainly proved to be an assert when I took on a more normal agenda.

Who was my favorite subject? Many have asked that question and it's a tough question to answer. I have picked two interesting images, but more for the story than the accomplishment.

Most everyone knows who Elie Wisel is. If you have never seen his image in the news you have missed one very well-known man. Elie survived the Holocaust and later received the Nobel Peace Price for his many accomplishments.

I had the opportunity to photograph Mr. Wisel at the Roanoke, VA airport. I was on assignment for Radford University and they were looking for a cover image. Normally, I prefer to have a one on one for such an image but this was the only chance I would have because he was scheduled to put on a presentation at the university that evening. This was my only chance to do the "impossible."

There was a very short press conference in a very small airport room and the press was packed in like sardines in a can. I wedged my way through the crowd and planted myself in a spot where I could view this man over the crowd. My six foot four frame and long arms stood well above most of the crowd. The only background I could see that might be useful was the American flag that stood in a corner behind the podium.

Amid the questions and answers; plus flashes going off like an active electrical storm, I made several exposures. I had to push myself along a wall a little to put that flag where I wanted it but my images turned out just fine. I made a few more exposures just to be on the safe side and that was it. I did have a second camera and my B&W followed the color. If I have said it a thousand times, I will say it again: Anticipation, and previsualization is the name of the game. Gut feeling Call it what you want, but I have always felt good about my best images. There is a time to hold back, and there is a time to make your exposure: the decisive moment. This image proved to be a winner.

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