This image was totally impromptu. I spotted Carter sitting on his front porch during a day trip along the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I took the direct approach and walked right up to his place and asked if he would permit me to make a photograph of him. He must have thought I was nuts, but he allowed me to make several exposures, all of which were equally as nice as the one shown above. It has been one of my favorites over the years. And yes, this time I had him sign a release just to be on the safe side.
Many of my earlier photographs of the mountain people were made by word of mouth. Their verbal permission was good. If they said yes, they meant it. If they said NO, they also meant it. I once asked a mountain man if he would sign a release and he looked at me and said NO. I later discovered that he could not read or write. His word was as good as his "mark." The worst thing I could have done was embarrass a mountain man.
This image of Carter was one of several that were published last year in a special portfolio issue of BLACK AND WHITE MAGAZINE.
In 1982 this same image appeared in a ten-page feature story in Eastman Kodak's STUDIO LIGHT magazine, and that included a front and back cover wrap-around. All of the images which appeared in this story were purchased by Eastman Kodak. The title of the feature was: The Fine Art of Fine Art Photography.
Also included in this same issue were two well-written features about photographers James Van Der Zee and Gordon Parks.
To view a larger image, left click on the study above.