“The subject matter is so much more important than the photographer.”
~ Gordon Parks
A very long time ago I was a photography student at Western Kentucky University. I met a teacher named Dave Labelle.
This teacher taught me of compassion and composition. He taught me to tell stories about people.
He challenged every notion I held about anything at all. He taught me to show in pictures what I heard in my heart.
He endlessly irritated me with ruthlessly kind and honest critiques. He believed in me when I did not.
He taught me of passion and gentleness, to honor love in all the faces of humanity.
An image was nothing, no matter how tasty and flashy, until it touched this place of universal remembering, this place called heart.
I graduated. He moved. We lost touch. Fast forward…2o years later to a hotel lobby in Nashville. We met again.
photograph by Neil Cowley