Wayne Hinshaw photo exhibit opens tonight
By Katie Scarvey
As a newspaper photographer for almost four decades, Wayne Hinshaw has shown his camera many special moments over the years, with the ultimate goal of sharing them with the community.
He’s never wanted his photographs to be just his, purely personal artistic expression.
He’s wanted them to be ours.
“I always shot pictures to be used, not for exhibits,” he says.
Some of his favorite “held” moments are now on display in an exhibit at the Center for Faith and the Arts. Many of the photographs were taken for The Salisbury Post.
Hinshaw covered it all ó the Ku Klux Klan, baptisms, an Outlaw Biker’s funeral, the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo.
Oh, and lots and lots of sporting events, although he’s chosen only a few of those images because, as he explains, unless they happen to be of someone famous, they tend to be of less interest years after they were taken than other kinds of photographs.
Examining the photographs ó including some of buildings and people that no longer survive ó it’s clear that Hinshaw is a documentarian.
“This is me, and this is my show, but I’m recording local history,” he says.
He’s very aware of that role and worries that it has been diminished at many newspapers, with reporters now often taking the photographs that accompany their stories.
Hinshaw’s extensive knowledge of local history has been acquired moment by personal moment, as he respectfully insinuated his eye and his camera lens into situations both momentous and ordinary. The result is a record of life in Rowan County.
He captured Etta Heilig Cress at 88, her fingers stitching a quilt. The stitch was one among many for her, but Hinshaw captured this one, and in so doing, a perfect portrait.
You get a sense that Hinshaw enjoys capturing raw human emotion ó as he has in the photo of a a young physical therapist who is dancing with a nursing home resident. The eyes of both women are closed, and each is smiling, completely caught up in the experience.
It’s a tender, intimate, lovely moment.
Some of the photos in this show aren’t strictly journalistic but are beautiful illustrations ó like a luminous jar of peaches that graced a food page.
Hinshaw began taking pictures as a student at Randleman High School. Back then, it was simply a way for him to stay close to the sports that he loved.
A gifted high school athlete, he sustained a knee injury that took him out of the games he loved. He realized that by taking pictures he could be more than a spectator.
He soon learned, he says, that his box camera wasn’t going to take the kind of sports pictures he wanted to take, so he bought a 35 millimeter camera and began to teach himself how to use it.
When the local weekly paper used his photos of a truck that overturned ó he was driving behind the pickup truck, which was full of football players ó he was hooked on newspapers, he says.
He continued taking pictures at Catawba College, where he majored in political science. A young public relations director named Dave Setzer was a mentor for him, and his photos appeared in the college yearbook and the school newspaper.
Although he took a job in cost accounting after he graduated, it wasn’t something for which he had a passion. He then worked for several years at a portrait studio in Virginia. In his last year, he photographed 33,000 children for school yearbooks, he says.
That sort of work, however, was not creatively satisfying, so in 1971, he took a job as a staff photographer at the Salisbury Post, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Hinshaw stayed at the Post for 37 years and recently retired as photography chief.
He received numerous awards from the North Carolina Press Association and the North Carolina Press Photographers Association. In 1976, he was named Photographer of the Year by the Carolinas Press Photographers Association for North and South Carolina.
Hinshaw is married to his high school girlfriend, Sammie. They have two children and one grandchild.
An opening reception for his show is from 5-7 p.m. this evening at Center for Faith and the Arts, 207 W. Harrison St.
The exhibit continues through August 31. Center hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
For more information, call 704-647-0999.
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