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Artist Stories

Behind the Lens: Photographers of the JAZZ ROOM

Are you as amazed at the photos of the JAZZ ROOM and the students in action as we are? As impressed with the way they often capture a moment, expressing the passion of the music?

From the unique lighting to the lightening-quick passing of facial expression, this task takes specific skill.  These incredible individuals often offer their talents as volunteers. Meet a few of the folks that help us document those memories.

DANIEL COSTON is a full time freelance photographer who says photography and music chose him.  Originally a freelance writer, Daniel expanded to videography and finally photography as other ways to “write” about what he was experiencing.  What truly drew him into photography was the music.  He combined the two originally for fun until it became his true calling and business.  Along the way, Daniel has worked with Johnny Cash, the early Avid Brothers, Beach Boys, Monkeys, and so many more.  When Lonnie and Ocie Davis first came to Charlotte, the Charlotte Post hired Daniel to take some photos for an article about their new organization JazzArts Charlotte.  Daniel has been popping into the JAZZ ROOM ever since.

TYRUS ORTEGA GAINES has had a career of freelance photo journalism and visual editing for a long list of journals, from Washingtonian and USA Today to South Park Magazine and the Observer.  He began working with JazzArts Charlotte many years ago, connecting to us from a mutual friend Phillip Hoffman, who took JAZZ ROOM video in our first few years.  As a photo journalist, he seeks to tell a story in his images.  “I have sat for 20 minutes at a time, trying to get that shot that no one else will get.”

ANDY MAJORS is a high school teacher in Rock Hill, teaching Media Tech.  He’s been playing with music and with photography since his own high school days, and has been moonlighting with both for years.  When oldest son Holland began in the JazzArts Youth Ensemble in Fall 2015, he offered up his skills.  “I was going to take pictures of my kids (Holland and Lois) anyway.  So it is a natural way for me to get those good shots of my own kids, continue to enjoy honing my skills, and give back a little.”

DEVIN PATEL is a Cyber Security Engineer for Wells Fargo by day, focusing on phishing and fraud. His father, a jazz fan and JazzArts Charlotte board member, took and developed photos as a hobby back when film was at its heyday, and Devin and his sister both grew up seeing those photos on the wall around the house. After tagging along to various JAZZ ROOM events, Devin found he had the spare time to combine his interests, flex his creative muscle, and give back to the organization. Devin focuses on creating a collection of images that both convey the emotion and action of the moment, and that are timeless. “I want someone to be able to look back at the photo in ten years’ time and still feel the impact.”

CARTER WADE manages a photo studio for Cato Corporation, a women’s fashion company. He spends his days shooting advertising and ecommerce photos. Carter says his parents were photographers, so he grew up in and out of the dark room in their home. In early 2000s, he also ran a custom frame shop, for his own art work and some of the local art galleries. Carter contacted Lonnie several years ago sharing his interest to do intimate portraits of the featured musicians. Since then, he has moonlighted in the JAZZ ROOM and particularly enjoys when he can make that personal connection with the artist and bring that to film.

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