While Desmond Tutu delivered a lecture at Glenn Memorial Church at Emory University, I was in a small room in the basement setting up lights and a backdrop for the few moments I would spend with him after his talk.

He greeted me warmly and sat down while he waited for me to take his photograph. He used the opportunity to collect his thoughts and I used that moment to click the shutter.

There is an aura that surrounds some people, a simple feeling that comes from a place of complete focus and peace. I have felt it a few times with people I have photographed and the experience lasts a lifetime.

There isn’t anything I can add to the rich legacy of Desmond Tutu that hasn’t been said better, but for me, that moment years ago was transformative and in a small way, this photograph is my tribute to a career that changed the world.

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Billy Howard

Billy Howard

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

4 Comments
  1. As always Billy, you capture things that we can’t see and make them palpable. What a beautiful man, and what an accurate reflection of him.

  2. Chris Wohlwend

    Like all great portraits, Billy — revealing of the subject.

  3. Cliff Green

    Billy, several years ago, Linda and I were looking for a quick Saturday lunch when one of us remembered that there is a Chick-fil-A in that drab, lifeless place called the North DeKalb Mall.
    We drove around back, went in and got our sandwiches, then sat down at one of the tables to eat. During the meal, I realized that Archbishop Tutu was having lunch at the table directly in front of us. We tried not to impose, but, being Anglicans, we exchanged words after eating, and the archbishop was as warm as you remember.
    I’ve often recalled this encounter. There was no entourage, no groupies, no hangers-on, just an humble Nobel Peace Prize winner eating a little something in a dying shopping mall on a chilly afternoon.

  4. Best ever. Just best ever! (You are cool.) :)

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