This is one of the few photos I have of me actually working. I can't recall who snapped this shot or even what the assignment was at that time. Nonetheless, in the photo, I can be seen with my camera poised and ready to capture the perfect moment, while simultaneously surveying my surroundings in search of my next potential masterpiece.
Art Daniels, known affectionately as "Daddy Art," was a renowned oysterman and crabber in his island community. He was particularly celebrated for his impressive track record in the annual Skipjack races, having won nine races and placed in numerous others. Daddy Art was a beloved figure and icon in Deal Island, and his legacy will endure for generations to come.
As a news photographer, I had the honor of accompanying Daddy Art on his boat during the races. I always felt humbled by his presence and his exceptional skills as a sailor. Despite his boat being in need of repairs and a fresh coat of paint, it was a remarkable testament to Daddy Art's resourcefulness, as he salvaged pieces of wood he found floating in the water to patch it up.
Daddy Art and I became close friends over time. He fondly referred to me as his "Georgia Peach" and would always reserve a spot for me on his boat during racing season.
I captured numerous photographs of Daddy Art throughout our friendship, but the one that stands out to me is the one of him holding a photo of his younger self. I gave him a copy of this photo and he signed my copy, which I proudly framed and still display to this day.
Daddy Art led a fulfilling life, and I am confident that he is now sailing happily in heaven. I imagine he has requested and received an exact replica of his beloved old boat, which he took great pride in. When it's my turn to join him in the afterlife, I hope Daddy Art still has a place saved for his "Georgia Peach" on his boat.
Daddy Art beckons me aboard as he readies for the race.
I imagine I am am the only photojournalist who every took a photo of Daddy Art relaxing inside his home with his beloved cat, Baby.
Daddy Art left this earth on June of 2017, at the age of ninety-five. His funeral was attended by his large family, friends, and his adoring fans, of which he had many.
Aurence and I have not eaten meat in 40 years but we occasionally treat ourselves to a grilled cheese from the Varsity (we may nibble on cheese at parties but you seldom see it in our frig). We also swore off fried foods but can't pass up their delicious fries. Aurence had my best friend and I pose while leaving with our leftovers. We swore off sugar, too - that is unsweetened tea. They do make good tea.
As I was organizing photos today, I stumbled upon a few old ones and a wave of nostalgia washed over me. I found myself missing the days of film, of tight deadlines, and of working for newspapers. Unfortunately, the newspaper business is dying and photographers have become a dime a dozen. Nowadays, anyone with a smartphone can take a photo that can be used for a story. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook break news before an editor can even get someone on the scene.
But what I miss most is the process of taking photos. I miss the rush of capturing an image and racing back to the darkroom to develop and print the photos to my satisfaction. Whether I had ample time or was up against the clock, every moment felt meaningful. Photographers were respected and held a certain level of prestige, and the power of the free press often opened doors for us, even if we weren't exactly welcome.
I recall a sports assignment, one of my early ones, that stands out in my memory. It involved a two-hour round-trip drive, and I barely made it back to the office with 10 minutes to spare before the deadline. As I hurriedly developed the film, I searched for the perfect shot on my still-wet film-strip. Once we'd finished developing the film, we had to dry the photo - at least when time was of the essence. That evening, the sports editor approached me and snatched the wet photo from my hand before dashing away. I learned early that you never want to anger a sport's editor.
I also miss the grainy look that came from pushing the limits of film speed. In the black and white days, the grain was not a big concern because it blended with the newspaper's own grain. We often pushed our films to their limits to avoid using a flash.
Manual cameras were my favorite tool, giving me complete control over every aspect of the process. I would carefully consider every detail before clicking the shutter. In contrast, today's cameras seem lacking. While I had several Nikons and a dozen lenses that served me well during my last four years before retirement, I never felt quite as satisfied as when I could create a photo from start to finish.
Finally, I believe that black and white photos possess a certain soul that color photos lack. There's something magical about them that draws you in, revealing the true essence of a scene. In comparison, color photos seem like mere eye-candy.
Allow me to share a few grainy photos from old assignments, as I bid farewell to this trip down memory lane.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, we've been kept busy with our work as artists. Even in these challenging times, we make sure to stay active while taking precautions.
It's been almost a year since my last post, and I had thought that the pandemic would have given me more time to be on the computer. However, that hasn't been the case.
Many of the items on our website have been sold, but I haven't had the chance to mark them as such. As a result, our inbox has become overwhelmed with emails.
I apologize for the delay in responding, but in the next few weeks, I'll be working through them one by one. If you've been waiting for a reply, please feel free to reach out again in case I get backlogged.
Gotta love this stuff.
We have spent a lot of time enjoying the great outdoors. Target shooting is always fun. No, we don't hunt. Einstein said, "Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." You gotta love Einstein. Right?
Cameras Ahoy! Aurence cut off my feet. A no-no in photography.
And of course, watching the seasons change from our back deck is always a treat. So no pandemic blues here.
It's that time of year when novice photographers take to the outdoors to capture nature. Please be respectful of wildlife's space. Never go near their homes. The below photo of a baby osprey was taken with a very long lens. I was spied, for sure, but I did not encroach into their space. Many states have laws againts disturbing the homes of certain species.
I have a deep passion for capturing candid moments of strangers. Whether I'm on assignment or traveling for leisure, I always keep my eyes peeled for interesting faces. While approaching strangers can be intimidating, I've found that the vast majority of people are more than willing to be subjects for my photography.
One of my all-time favorite photographs was taken in West Virginia, where I came across a man sitting on a curb. I couldn't resist the chance to hear his stories, and he was kind enough to share his experiences working for the railroad. It was a truly fascinating encounter, and it's moments like these that make photography so fulfilling.
Throughout my career, I've had the pleasure of meeting individuals from all walks of life and hearing their unique stories. Even in retirement, I look forward to my next encounter with a stranger and the opportunity to learn about their life experiences. For me, capturing the essence of a person through photography is truly a magical experience.
Don't touch that photo! Copyrighted, you know?