February 4, 2011

Three Times of Murray Whisnant

It was a memorable shoot with Mr. Murray Whisnant yesterday. He definitely deserves to be featured in my new exclusive "Personalities on Location" portrait project I have just started.

An architect, designer, inventor, furniture maker and artist, Mr. Whisnant was awarded the FAIA designation and the Kamphoefner Prize in the early 1990's. He was voted one of the top 50 architects in America by Town and Country Magazine. In the Triangle, his best-known building is the 1968 Van Hecke-Wettach Building, the UNC-Chapel Hill Law School. He still continues to delight his friends and family in Charlotte with his "outside the box" ideas.

So I was pretty excited, when he finally agreed to meet me in his Charlotte office to discuss a possible photo shoot. During our meeting, he showed me two new architectural projects he was working on and his self-designed furniture pieces in a showroom, which is a part of his office. I explained my approach to the on location portrait work and importance of environment helping to define my portrait subjects. He said, his house, that he designed himself, might be a good location. He also mentioned, he might have already a spot in his mind. So we set up our shoot for the next morning.

There was no sunlight when I arrived in his house at 10 a.m. The spot by the pool, he originally suggested, wasn’t really looking its best in winter, mostly because all the plants and greenery was dead. It was also very cold, which would have made pretty difficult for him to pose for an extended period of time and looking comfortable at the same time…… So we opted to finding a different location inside the house, where it was warm.

His studio on the ground floor was an extraordinary space, but unfortunately would have required major rearrangements for the shoot. So we moved to the main area upstairs, where I found two possible views. I choose the one with a stronger composition and a better layering. Then we discussed his placement in the frame and saw three options....and I came up with an idea: Why should we be limited to one pose only? Why not taking advantage of a camera mounted on a tripod ... and take multiple exposures, placing him in 3 different spots in the frame and combining them in one final composition later. I shared the idea with Whisnant and he seemed to like it.

I tried to visualize the final image in my mind all the time and to make sure the posing was appropriate and natural for the particular spot ... Anyway, we went through the whole process quite fast and by 12 p.m. I was out of his door...

What you see here is the first version of the portrait I finished today..... all comments are welcome!


  1. I have long thought Mr Whisnant a triple threat.

  2. ...and a great photograph. The three of him was a brilliant idea. Congratulations.

  3. Thank you for your nice comment, Mr. Wolf. Your architectural work is amazing!