Memoirs of the Brushman…

Last year in a very horrific tragedy my college photography professor Tim Fuller was killed in a head on collision with a Semi truck on Indiana Highway 43 up near Lafayette Indiana.  It was a trying time for myself, and a lot of other students that worked and lived under his tutelage.   He inspired many people, including myself and if you’ve been a reader for a while you’ll recall I wrote about it here. Some time had passed since Tim’s accident when I received an email from a businessman named Lamar out of Atlanta Georgia who had not only known Tim Fuller, but was a fraternity brother and great friend of his.

(Nikon D3s, 100ISO, Nikon 85mmF1.4D, 1/160th@F2.  Single Nikon SB-900 Speedlight 3 feet above left of camera shot through a 32″ umbrella set to iTTL fired by a Pocket Wizard Flex TT5, triggered by a Flex TT1 on Camera.)

Lamar had found my contact information embedded in the comments section of Tim’s online Obituary. He had very fond, and very different memories of Tim “The Brushman” Fuller.  Tim recieved the nickname “Brushman” from Lamar back when Computer manipulation of images was relatively new.  At that time there was a computer program named “Brushman Pro”, which both him and Lamar were learning to use.  It was sort of funny to me because I always knew Tim as a Purist, always preferring film and shooting things in camera.  As far as I knew, he really didn’t like photoshop at all.  Never really thought about it until now I guess, to which I realize that Tim never really did ever have to look anything photoshop related up when we asked him questions…. On any of the versions even, for which when I met Tim we were working with Version 6.

(Nikon D3s, 160ISO, Nikon AFS50mmF1.4, 1/200th@F10.  Dynalight Uni400 shot through a Wescott 6’x4′ translucent panel to camera right set to 1/4th power fired by Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 for Nikon, Single Dynalight Uni400 to camera left inside of a Wescott 24″x36″ Softbox set to 1/2 power, fired by Pocket Wizard FlexTT5 unit.  Both units triggered by a Pocket Wizard FLex TT1 unit on Camera.)

These images are relatively unmanipulated, just as I feel as though Tim would have liked.  It doesn’t mean that I, or Lamar won’t go back and photoshop the living bejesus out of them (because we both will), but that’s beside the point.  When Lamar called me and told me that he was passing through Indianapolis and wanted to commission me for a few portraits, I was incredibly honored and humbled at the opportunity.

In a way Lamar and I both went to college with Tim Fuller, only in very contrasting experiences.  I went through with Tim as a Mentor, teacher, and inspiration.  Lamar went through with Tim as  brother, friend, and partner in crime.  We both regailed stories of Tim as we remembered him, while I shot Lamar’s portraits.  Some were serious, some were happy, some were sad, and others were just fun.  As there’s one thing that Lamar showed me, it was that there was a side of Tim that none of us as students knew.  The side that we all are, the side of the friends that we all have.

(Nikon D3s, 200ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2@140mm.  1/200th@F9.  Dynalight Uni400 set to 1/4 power to camera right shot through a Wescott 6’x4′ translucent panel fired by Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 for Nikon.  Dynalight Uni400 set to 1/4-.3 to camera left almost behind Lamar shot through a Wescott 24″x36″ Softbox fired by Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 Unit for Nikon.  Strobes fired by Pocket Wizard FlexTT1 on camera.)

There was a definite kid inside Lamar, and despite knowing Tim’s sense of humor it really showed me a side of Tim that I had never seen.  This was the kind of person that Tim was, as this was one of his closest friends.  Despite having not seen each other for some time, this was the person that Tim used to invent himself, and vice versa.  Trading Stories of selling photos of Sorority houses and golf courses for stories about how “Don’t worry; Dixie is ok…”  The hour that we spent in the studio I’m very positive was more than memorable for both of us as a new friendship has been forged in place of the one that we both lost.  We both knew that walking towards each other to shake hands that our friend Tim would have been shaking his head while placing it in his hands saying, “lord what have I done?”  In the end, neither of us would have traded the hour.  As I mentioned to Lamar, I am honored and humbled that he chose me to do this.  I only hope that our paths cross again in the future, as we may continue to fondly regale the story of “The Brushman.”  More Soon.