Thursday, November 11, 2010


It was preshow at the Rendezvous. I had scoured the place and photographed every inanimate object I could find, attempting to animate them. Cannon and I were out front, enjoying the cool air, wagering on absurdity when Willie walked by. I noticed the camera around his neck and said, Hey.

I think I startled him.

He seemed to be in a hurry but stopped and looked as if to say, Okay.

I see you have a camera. What is it? And, hey, look at mine. Well it's not mine, it's really my sister's but I'm getting to know it before I get one.

That is how I met Willie, and it is funny now to think about it. Consider how happenstance it seemed and how instantaneous it was 'cause from that moment forward Willie became my teacher, my mentor.

Willie Wilkinson is a sociologist. He is an anthropologist. He is an archaeologist, a philosopher. He is a reporter with well over 10,000 hours of study. He is a master photographer. He is a quite powerful videographer. His archived work is envied by the Smithsonian.

And I'm one damn lucky girl.

Because one of the most awesome things about Willie, which contributes to him being all those things above, is his generosity of spirit. He is a host of the South, a historian of Hill Country Blues and a grand purveyor of people.

And me? I didn't know what the hell I was doing. The lighting was dark and spots of light swam around the room, movement was fast, there was such music and celebration, distractions EVERYWHERE, all I could do was pray, meditate and shoot. Shoot as much as I possibly could since there was so much to shoot.

But Willie slowed me down. He told me what to focus on. He introduced me to Angie's camera. He told me where to put my hands on the camera. He said, Get on up there. Shoot the crowd. Get Duwayne. Get Little Joe. Get this. Get that. The whole time he was taking care of me he was also manning at least three cameras himself with tripods set in different areas of the room. The Italians were there. The Dutch. All with cameras but Willie took time teaching me.

And he became my friend.

And I'm living in gratitude.

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