In some way if at any point in the future forward you see this image up on the movie screen in the front of your mind remember that I see this as one of my most fascinating photographic experiences ever. I took this shot from across the room at a local Bistro in the middle of the day in June of 2006 without the awareness of the subject who I recognized from 8 years of random street side conversations up in the Jar. Hugh L. McColl Jr. also had no idea that I had just looked across at him posing without a pose in that light and thought to myself that he sort of looks like a classic Norman Rockwell painting. I think the WonderBoy was close by at the bar with me and I came up with the idea for a manual exposure reeled in with the aid of this little digital machine(Cannon A-620Powersot) that was in my messenger bag at the time. I swiveled in my stool because this scene was basically over my left shoulder, I do not remember standing up but I do remember pulling the telephoto back and there it was, one exposure giving consideration to my breathing and the stillness in which I tried to hold the camera.
A few weeks later I made the first print of the image at 12" x 12", toned with digital Sepia in the electronic dark room. I masking taped it up on a wall in the house and lived around it for a few weeks before I decided to make another print of it slightly bigger at 12" x 14", mount it on a non acidic white board with 2" border and present it to the subject in a manner that would not appear as if I were stalking one of the main players responsible for the present economic vitality of the Charlotte region. The day I brought this mounted image up to the Jar I sat in front of the Corporate Center and wrote a little explanation on a card that pictures Mahatma Gandhi wearing a sheet around his waist writing on a tablet, above him were his own words, "An eye for an eye will make the whole world go blind." As it happens a week before I purposely picked out this card the Israeli Army had just leveled Beirut in an effort to destroy any life that gets in the way of their plan to rid the world of Hezbollah. Just then my friend Aundrea walked up said, "Hello" and asked me about the picture on the board. I told her what it was and why it was here and she said that she personally knew Mr. McColl's CFO(for you SS mountain bikers out there CFO means Chief Financial Officer) who could surely get it to him. She made the call and Kathy came down to the street smiling saying something like she had never seen such a picture of her boss. I thanked the both of them for answering my telepathic call and rode away.
A few weeks later I received a personal thank you letter from Mr. McColl in where he describes what he sees in this photograph. On his cursory examination he sees through the light to a picture of what retirement means to him: healthy lunch by one's self, glass of red wine, sudoku to stimulate the mind. As an added note he mentioned that he appeared older to himself than what he had imagined. Incidentally he remarked that he liked the card and perhaps we should send it to both the Israelis and Hezbollah, he got it. The nicest thing to me about the letter was that he mentioned that he planned to give the big picture to his wife for her 68th Birthday.