The other night I bumped into blues singer Thornetta Davis in Ann Arbor. When I walked into the room, she was on stage performing but when she saw me, she gave me a quick shout out. I got all excited. You know I get excited a lot….
I fell in love with Thornetta about a good 5 years or so ago after seeing her perform somewhere in Detroit. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest blues fan but something about Thornetta’s music is magnetic.
Rewind back to August 2008 – I’m at the Detroit African World Festival with Olivia; we are just walking around taking photos and people watching. Somewhere along the way, I learned that there was going to be a public wedding on the main stage. Soon thereafter Olivia and I made our way there to see what it was all about.
Once we were in the staging area, I discovered that Thornetta was actually getting married to her long time partner James Anderson. This was totally exciting.
Before the ceremony kicked off, there were African drummers drumming, African dancers dancing, Kem singing, Khary Kimani Turner of Black Bottom Collective rapping. It was an amazing showing.
After some of the excitement died down, the wedding ceremony began with a colorful & lively precession of flag bearers and brides maids. Then….. Out comes the lady Thornetta Davis and the audience of hundreds of people literally went wild. It sounded like amplified thunder.
And while all of this was going on, I was armed and shooting like I was hired. I mean, I really slipped into the zone throughout the wedding. It was crazy. I guess I was just moved by the aura of abundant love in the air.
I even stayed after the ceremony to get photos during the private reception.
A few days after all of this, I put a few photos on Flickr & forwarded a link to some mutual friends of Thornetta’s and mine in hopes to connect with Thornetta herself. Not even a day later, I got a call from Thornetta thanking me for the photos.
She told me that the photos that she got from me were better than the ones she got from her hired photographer. I then offered to send her all of the photos as a wedding gift.
I have witnessed how people are affected by Thornetta so this was truly my pleasure.
Interestingly enough, a few months after putting the photos on Flickr, I was contacted by Reader’s Digest Canada who wanted to use the photo above for a story on the usage of brooms throughout the world. This would be my 1st stock photo transaction.
Now back to the other day… So after Thornetta’s set, including James, we got a quick chance to catch up. They again thanked me for the photos and James mentioned that I was the only photographer there that was able to get a photo of them jumping the broom. In my mind, I thought wow, so this really was a money shot in more ways than one.
Until yesterday, the story of their wedding was a distant fond memory but after looking at the photos again last night, I was transported back to those moments and I heard the music, saw the dancing & felt the drum beats. It was a perfect day.
- True Story, Thornetta & James had less than one month to pull the wedding together & nothing was confirmed (cake, dress etc) when this opportunity was made available to them.