This photo has a story. Really, a couple of stories.
I met Jimmy Lee on Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg. To be more exact, I ran down the street chasing him. And when I drew near to him, I slowed down to a stroll, making my way as casual walker rather than frantic stalker. I had spotted Jimmy Lee as I was leaving the coffee shop, and what caught my attention was the fancy rollator walker he used to make his way up the incline of Caroline Street. As a former physical therapist, I have a deep admiration for those who move forward in this world with some kind of disability.
As I sidled up to Jimmy, I commented on his walker.
“My mother broke her hip recently and I sure hope she might be able to walk with a walker like that. Do you like yours?”
Jimmy grinned from ear to ear and immediately extended one free arm to draw me in close for a hug.
We talked for a few minutes, sharing introductions. I asked if I might take his picture and he graciously agreed – for the price of another hug.
This was actually the third photo I took in the project. Jimmy was standing in front of a huge magnolia tree. Right away, I knew that tree was going to give me problems. It was dark green – perfect. The light was soft shade – check. But the light coming between the leaves was bright, and I suspected those bright spots would draw attention away from the subject of the photo.
I was right. When I looked at the image at home, those bright blown out spots were distracting. Also, since I was beginning the project I hadn’t really settled on the camera settings. I wanted the background to be soft and blurry, shallow depth-of-field, so I had the aperture set to f 2.8, but the focus came out a bit softer than I would have liked. His eyes were sharp, but his nose a little blurry. (This image was taken before I bought my new 85mm, f 1.8 lens – which really makes photos that are incredibly sharp at any aperture.)
I set this photo aside. In fact, I thought I’d deleted it. But this morning as I was preparing to process a few non-portrait images, I stopped to look at Jimmy Lee again. In the light of a new day, I decided his steadfast expression, his determination to walk and keep moving, and his loving kindness deserved to be documented. I filled in those bright spots and sharpened the photo a bit.
This is Jimmy Lee who belongs in this series.