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John Gessner Has a Lucky Chance Encounter at North Carolina’s Moogfest

June 15, 2017

By John Gessner

© John Gessner

A lucky portrait of artist Michael Stipe.

© John Gessner

© John Gessner

© John Gessner

© John Gessner

© John Gessner

© John Gessner

© John Gessner

Last month I covered a story about Moogfest in Durham, North Carolina, for a Carolina business magazine. Having missed the press conference, I lost my opportunity to photograph artist Michael Stipe, who was presenting a multi-media art installation at the festival.

During my time at Moogfest, the interview schedule had changed. Towards the end of the day, I found myself headed to a hotel to capture a last-minute portrait of the festival’s promoters.

I arrived at the Durham Hotel 15 minutes early and connected with the writer that I was collaborating with on the assignment. Together, we sat down at the hotel’s restaurant and waited until the subjects arrived.

As soon as I sat down I heard a voice say: “Is that a film camera?” Indeed, I had been shooting with my Fujifilm 645.

When I turned around to respond, I realized that the question had come from none other than Michael Stipe! We had a good rapport and I wound up shooting two film exposures and two digital portraits of him.

All-in-all, it ended up being a serendipitous and perfect day! For me, this experience really drove home an important lesson: Don’t have tunnel vision on an assignment. Always expect the unexpected and, I guess in this case, it doesn’t hurt to be wearing a film camera around your neck.

View more of Gessner’s work on his PhotoServe Profile.


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