Photographic Memory 3


As a photographer in the ‘modern world’, one must take care when using photographic ‘jargon’. ( See 3/23/10 post about “Shooting Kids”)

     Several years ago, in my ‘assisting’ days, I was content and comfortable being ‘the crew’. I learned a LOT, and, I was pretty good at it. I took great pride in being able to see the little things that sometimes slipped through when the photographer was more concerned with the BIG picture. That was my job. To find a way to ‘move that limb up there,…that one… 30 feet up, just an inch, so that the light is in the right place”… to lean precariously out of a barn loft window (hooking my belt to a convenient nail and hoping…) to catch the last two minutes of sun with a reflector, and throw that ‘kiss of light’ back in on the subject. Or, how to wait until everything else was exactly the way the photographer had envisioned it, and THEN asking, discreetly, “Are you seeing that white ‘thing’ over there?”….”Do you want to?”…okay…. and taking off to clear the scene. (At that time, there was no “rubber stamp” for film….and, I could run faster..!)

     AND, maybe most importantly, I knew when to keep my artistic opinions to myself, my eyes on the final result, and my mouth shut.

Boy, that was a major digression.

This story is about assisting Jacques Lowe. 

      Jacques had been flown in from Japan to Nashville to photograph “1” (one) HCA executive. His first words to me were, “Isn’t there a photographer in Nashville?” I didn’t bother going into the whole “… a prophet is not without honor…” thing.  But, if you’re from Nashville, you get the drift….

     Anyway, while waiting for the subject I had the pleasure of getting to know Mr Lowe, a little. It seems he was one of the Kennedy’s (as in John, Jackie, Caroline and the infant John Jr.) personal photographers. His work is stunningly touching and poignant in the context of history. And, his portraits of many jazz greats are no less compelling.


A few days later, I was telling one of my friends that I had just assisted

“The man who shot John F. Kennedy.”

       Not until after the words had “…marched out in muddy boots…” (Carl Sandburg), did I realize that THIS was the perfect occasion for NOT using the common photographic phraseology….!!

     I immediately felt the heel of my hand strike my forehead, and, had Homer Simpson been around, I’m sure I would have heard a loud “DOH!”

     I still cherish the thought that I worked with this great photographer, even if it was only on one occasion, AND I have never used that phrase since!!!

     Jacques Lowe ‘passed’ in May of 2001. In September of that year the World Trade Center went down and a safe in the basement containing 40,000 of his negatives was later found empty, with a hole where the lock had been.


I hope they are with Jacques.




~ by rkpowers on March 25, 2010.

One Response to “Photographic Memory 3”

  1. Great memories, Randy.


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