Last assignment. Last Blacksmith.
Last assignment. Last Blacksmith.

Well. I haven’t done this for a while. A collection.

Sometimes, it’s good to post similar pictures as a collection. In the photojournalism world these are called environmental portraits. I’m pretty sure that you can guess why. But, just in case… this sub-genre of images shows the subjects in their environments. At the point in my career when these pictures were made, I’m not even sure where I learned this style. It was a few years later, that I had it drilled into my head. It took years for me to undo that. And, just let the pictures happen in front of me.


Let’s do this backwards so I can talk about each picture. All were taken with Nikon bodies. Either F2s, or FMs. The lens was the same. A 24mm F2.8. The film was Kodak Tri-X. ISOs varied depending on the basic ambient light. In a couple of pictures I used a little bounce flash to help out the available light.


The pictures.

“The Last Blacksmith” was made during my last assignment for the Winston-Salem Newspapers. Somebody mentioned that I never said their names. The Journal. And, The Sentinel. I drove way out in the country to find this guy. He literally was the last old-fashioned blacksmith working in North Carolina. At the time. I imagine that today, with all the so-called craft products being made, there might be a craft blacksmith out there somewhere.

“One Hundred Years Old” was made in Virginia. A reporter found out, or was told, that this gentleman was having his 100th Birthday. So, off I went to take his picture. It occurs to me now, that I made this picture in 1980. He was born in 1880. Think about that for a moment.

“Working the Land.” Her name is Jenny. I have no idea why her given name sticks in my head. I found her doing my usual wandering around thing while I was looking for evergreen art. She and I talked for a while. I just took pictures while we talked. One picture turned into a mini-picture story. Behind her is the chicken coop. This picture was probably taken in the winter of 1979.

“Making Cherry Pie” was a food page assignment in Winston-Salem. As I’ve said, I don’t make usual portraits. Or, food pictures. This darn picture actually won an award because, at the time, food pictures were highly propped and styled.  And, they weren’t everywhere like they are today. Oh, don’t get me started…


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