Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fingerless Picker

Ray Pack is an amazing person. He lost his fingers when he was 11-months old from an accident that burned his hands so bad his hands are just nubs. But that never stopped him from doing anything, including learning how to play guitar. The 69-year-old Pack, who is self-taught has been playing the guitar since he was 10. He has a style all his own but it seems to work. He has played with a number of famous classic country musicians and has even played at the Grand Ole Opry.
It was really cool to sit down and talk with him while I was shooting his portrait. The man was just full of really great stories about his past and even played a couple of songs. Some of the stories about him touring were really humorous, especially hearing about playing a gig in a mining town in Arizona on a stage that had chicken wire up to prevent flying beer bottles from hitting the band... reminded of a scene from the Blues Brothers movie.
It had been a while since I'd shot a portrait of anyone, and even longer since I shot someone other than an athlete (not that I'm complaining). So shooting Ray's photo was kind of fun. He was real easy to work with. At first I wasn't sure how he was going to be about me shooting a detail shot of just his hands, I didn't want to make him look like a freak, but I felt it was important to show what he had to work with. I started shooting the full shots and showed him a couple when he asked if I could see his hands well enough for the photo. When I told him I wanted to do the detail shot he was really open to it. I only needed about 5 frames to get the shot I was looking for (top). Here's a link to the story we wrote about him for the paper: A style all his own

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