|Don's awareness of body language is sometimes very clear-cut like here in this photograph of teacher and students. Often the body language is more subtle in Don's photographs. Body language is always important in Don's photographs.|
The chance to learn from Don Rutledge was one of the best opportunities in my life. While I wanted Don to look at my work, it was Don taking time to walk me through his contact sheets that helped me the most.
Don’s storytelling with his camera helped missionaries realize God's calling for them. Those impacted by his work is vast. Just as vast as his stories are those he mentored.
|Harley Shields is a Southern Baptist Home Missionary whose work place is Selawik, Alaska. Don photographed him in 1978.|
He always looked for something positive to talk about with them. I learned that when Don would look through my contact sheets if he passed over a sheet then he couldn’t find something to say something positive. He was often very quiet while looking at my work early on. He would then reach for his contact sheets to talk—rather than say my work stunk.
|In 1967 Don Rutledge went inside the Arctic Circle and captured this Eskimo child playing.|
|"Don discovered these two youngsters who proudly displayed the results of their morning hunt. In that section of Cincinnati, rats were not particularly difficult quarry to locate," said Walker Knight.|
Don understood how important the relationship of people to each other in the photo is the real power of the storytelling image.
|In the Philippines families cluster together for meal.|
Don helped me to realize how I could fulfill my call to ministry with the camera. Don was a pastor who realized the camera was a pulpit and the congregation wasn’t limited by the walls of a church.
Some of my friends who were also mentored by Don have commented to me that they can see Don’s influence in my work. While this always brings a tear and lump in my throat it has been photographers who thank me for teaching them that makes me the proudest.
The greatest way I have to honor Don is to make photos that respect the subject and tell their story. Also helping other photographers like Don helped me is a way to pay it forward.
I can never thank Don enough for helping me to see the world through God's eyes.