HempIf the clock is right, it’s 11:17. Paul Hemphill, chronicler of the unsung trucker and the well sung country star ponders a photographer, Louie Favorite, whose face is partly covered by a Leica.

The image he captures resonates of a man at ease, comfortable with and surrounded by his life. The photograph of Jimmy Carter above his desk, an unpretentious bookshelf filled with books of literature and art and a comfortable sofa to ponder it all.

Awards hang in the corner, an after thought. A love of the game lines the top of the shelves, a reminder of the start of this writer’s life as a sports writer. Favorite photos, notes and mementos glow in the soft light of a lamp and a drawing of the Bard stands watch, a reminder of the history of his craft.

In a sixtieth of a second Louie captured a slice of life and time from a writer that will be missed.

“I wish I had read all his books. There’s still time for that and I’ll be reading his Hank Williams book as soon as I can find a copy. We really didn’t talk much, he had a quiet, but friendly demeanor. He was most cooperative with whatever my needs for the photograph might have been. He was a very nice and unassuming gentleman.” Louie said.

“He was quiet but in a friendly way, he made me feel welcome without using a lot of excessive words.” Louie’s impression of the moment was another way of saying that Paul Hemphill was a man with grace. We know ourselves better because of his writing and because he was among us.

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Billy Howard

Billy Howard

Billy Howard is a commercial and documentary photographer with an emphasis on education and global health.

6 Comments
  1. Myra Blackmon

    Billy, you have captured Paul in his lair. Perfect.

  2. Myra Blackmon

    That’s true Billy, a picture vs a thousand words and all that. However, your words greatly enhanced the value of the photo, brought more depth to an already great shot.

  3. Back in my MDJ days, I was fortunate enough to take a “travel writers” trip to western Mexico. Paul Hemphill was one of the other writers on the journey, and it was delightful to spend time with someone I had admired for so long. This was shortly after Paul’s book “Long Gone” came out, and Paul noticed another passenger reading the book. He stopped, introduced himself, and offered to sign the book. He came back to the group chuckling because his inscription had read, “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.” What a great sense of humor and a talented writer. He will be missed.

  4. Chris Wohlwend

    Graceful capture of a man of grace by Louie, and a graceful capture of the capture by Billy.

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