Artificial Light


Tuscaloosa, Alabama

This is a city of contradictions. I posed this photograph with Nicholas following a magazine assignment this evening at the downtown theater. Less than 50 yards from this dark alley, wealthy arts patrons sipped wine and munched on caviar, reveling in the glitzy glamor of another party supporting another cause on yet another rainy night in Tuscaloosa.

If you shoot enough charity events, they all start to blend together — artificial worlds fused with raffia and ribbons of gold lamé. It is strange sometimes, the juxtaposition of dark and light, and it is a line that photojournalists are constantly walking. We are trained to look beneath the surface, to watch for the flicker of sadness behind a smile, to wait for the “real” moment that follows the staged photo op.

Very seldom are things what they seem, and the truth is often the first casualty. We are paid to strip away the varnish and throw light into the corners where darkness lurks, paid to see what no one else wants to acknowledge. It is a lonely path, but it is a straight path. And that is the very best kind.

Music of the day: Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day

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