Wyatt McSpadden Shows Us How It's Done. A gallery exhibit of photographs from Mississippi.

My friend Wyatt is having a show at the Gallery@Lewis-Carnegie at 1312-B E. Cesar Chavez in Austin, Texas. The images are from a ten day shooting trip he did with a writer named, John Morthland, through Mississippi way back in the 1990's. They were working for a magazine on a story about musicians in Mississippi.

All of the images in the show are black and white. The prints were done digitally by a master printer at Agave Gallery from black and white negatives that started life in medium format cameras from the time period.

The show opened on my birthday. Belinda and I went by the gallery to find Aaron Franklin of Franklin's BBQ slicing gorgeous hunks of brisket for Wyatt's guests (this being the BBQ equivalent of having Willie Nelson playing at your opening.....). The royalty of the Austin photo community all showed up. The energy in the courtyard was amazing. But the work was even better.  Many of the prints were of older, African-American musicians and all 40 of the prints were square; from square format film.

How good is this show? Well, I consider myself to be two things: First, a really good critic of photography, and second, a really tight-fisted person when it comes to spending money on anything but cameras, good wine and lenses. I walked into the gallery, took a spin around the show and immediately pulled cash out of my wallet to buy a print that just hit me right between the eyes. Perfect content, perfect execution and perfect printing.  Cash money to buy work from another photographer (which is one thing we might consider doing more often). My logic? Buy work you love from people who are better artists than you and learn by osmosis...

The show is really, really good but it's only running through the 10th of November. If you are one of my Austin photography friends you need to get your butt over to the gallery and check out the beautifully done prints. Just seeing the prints is a master class in understanding what is possible in the  printing arena. Seeing what's in the prints is even better.

For all my VSL readers outside Austin I went by today and shot an interview with Wyatt. He talks about the show, the experience of shooting it and, for all the gear appreciators, he even delves into technique. I'm booked to shoot a conference on Sunday evening, Monday and Tues. but I'll try to have the video edited and up by the end of the week. I loved the video footage (from a gear nerd perspective) and the audio from my AT 835 shotgun microphone was really good. Can't wait to cut it together.

Go see this show. So refreshing to have a photographer make a statement with actual, physical work; shared with all comers, instead of just a stream of pontifications on a blog...


  1. Kirk,
    Simply seeing the photograph behind Mr. McSpadden in your photograph makes me want to take a day off and drive to Austin for the show. I will be able to only make the Elliott Erwitt exhibit at the Ransom Center over the Thanksgiving break, though. Hopefully next year I will have a more reasons to travel to Austin--my daughter received her acceptance to the University of Texas at Austin this week. Looks like I will make more than the twice a year trip to spend holidays in Travis County! Looking forward to the video. As always, thank you for sharing!

  2. How do you plan to frame the print and do you have a place picked out to hang it?

  3. There's something wonderful about seeing photos 'in the flesh'.

    True of art in general.

    At the moment we've got the new artes mundi prize on in my home town. Lots of video work I'm usually less fussed on, but one piece really grabbed me. Be fascinated to see if it wins.

    Buying pieces which move you, if you can afford it, is an amazing way to support an artist.

    We all should do it more.


  4. McSpadden does such nice work. Looking forward to the video.

  5. Wyatt McSpaddens work can be seen at his website http://www.wyattmcspadden.com/ . He presents in various galleries portraits, some architecture, and BBQ. Some really great pictures.


  6. Is the picture of the picture the print you purchased? If not, how about showing us what "hit you right between the eyes".


  7. It appears that McSpadden photos were not framed. What method did he use to hang the photos?

  8. About twenty years ago I managed the now defunct Austin Photo Lab. Wyatt was one of many local pros who used our services. It was my opinion at the time that he was one of if not the best I had ever seen.

  9. Rob, All but four really big prints were indeed framed. So 36 out of 40. Nice black frames with a nice mat treatment.

    Pat, the image Wyatt is standing in front of is not the one I purchased. I'll show it on the site when I take possession. In the meantime I'll try to get it into the video.

  10. Typing Talker, The print is already framed.

  11. Didn't want to wait for the video, so I checked out Wyatt's website. Got to agree with you-- the guy is good. Too bad I won't be able to see the prints in person; I'm sure they are lovely.


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