Why I Love Photography


TPF Noob!
Feb 1, 2006
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in the middle of north carolina
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Sometimes we get caught in the details of the craft and forget what it can be.

I give you a young black man in the early forties from a small southern mill town. The war was on so he went into the Navy. I'm not sure how voluntary it was and it doesn't matter. He could have been a cook or something like it, but instead he trained as a photographer.

While in the navy he met some smalltime politicos like Elenore Roosevelt. A bunch of Admirals who were big in the running of that war. Through the Navy he learned photography and through Photography he learned about himself. He learned that he was not only as good as anyone else, at least with a camera. And that photography had no idea the color or economic level of the man who held the camera. Also that having that camera made him better than a lot of the people around him. I doubt that he would agree with that last though. Okay, that might not be exactly what he learned, but he learned something.

When he came home, he didn't go to work in a mill some where or even hang out in the hood. He set up his own photo studio, for his own people. I guess the money was short but he hung on anyway.

His father was working as a gardener for a very wealthy family in what today would be a gated millionaire's community. He introduced his son to the big man. The millionaire liked the younger black man and gave him a chance. He caught that million dollar break we all wanted. Just shows that it did exist.

The young black photographer did weddings, portraits, and parties mostly in the white community for the rest of his career. He was far ahead of his peers in the assimilation into the broader community of man.

So the simple bit of formal training in photography gave one young black man a taste of equality in the military and an avenue to equality (of sorts) in his community that was heavily segregated at the time.

His name was Poole and he wasn't an art photographer, at least he isn't known as one. He was what today we would call a freelance photographer. He has donated the collection of his work to the local museum. I personally hope I live long enough to see the display which he is helping them assemble.

Because it will be an honest, unpretentious, show. A lifetime of hard, gut it out, photographic work. Probably all the real garbage was culled but still there will be some sense of how a real working photographer got it done in the fifties and sixties.

Yeah some days I love what the Big Picture Photography is. And they wonder why I love classical photography and cameras.... Go figure...


TPF Noob!
May 3, 2006
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That's great.

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