A news photographer’s job while on an assignment consists of a lot of waiting. Waiting for an event to start. Waiting for the right light. Waiting for the right picture elements to enter your frame. Waiting for the right moment.
The waiting paid off for me with a strong picture as Bronis Perteit sang a medley of two hymns, “Because He Lives” and “Amazing Grace” during an open mic night at Uptown Bill’s Coffee House. Earlier in the evening, a community discussion took place to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the 1963 March on Washington. My first frame was taken at 5:51pm. I was there before then but hung back to get a feel for how the night’s event was going. Most of the early photos from the night were somewhat passive, showing participants gesturing while they contributed to the discussion.
The frame that I chose of Perteit singing was taken at 7:19pm. I knew that the spotlights in the ceiling, lighting the small stage, would create some dramatic lighting. Initially, there was a projector screen obscuring the banner in the background. I’m glad that the screen was taken down since the banner provided context.