Exclusive images from James Brown’s funeral: Courtesy of Debbie Hennessee

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“How do you get many of those pictures you take Jerry? I’d love to be able to take some like you do.”

I get asked that question often and usually by an amateur photographer. When I get asked that question, the first thing I do — before I answer — is ask them where their camera is, they never have it with them when they ask.

When they tell me they left it at home, I let ‘em know that there are just three things you HAVE to do in order to get “the” shot.

Go get a pencil so you can write these things down. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Got your pencil? OK, good. The three things you MUST do in order to get the shot that others miss are:

1. Keep your camera with you.
2. Keep your camera with you.
3. Keep your camera with you.

Recently I ran into a high school friend online, Debbie Hennessee. She’s not a photographer, I’m not sure she’s even an amateur photographer. She’s retired from teaching school, but even Debbie knows the three rules to getting the picture.

I don’t know all of the details, but Debbie is living in North Augusta, Georgia.

Besides Debbie another famous person from the area is James Brown. Brown was born in 1933 in Barnwell, Georgia and moved to Augusta to be close to Debbie.

Not really, just threw that in to see if you’re paying attention.

But he really did move to Augusta and lived there until he died in 2006 from congestive heart failure and pneumonia.

Debbie was in the parking lot of the church where the funeral was being held and another celebrity, MC Hammer, invited her inside the church for the service.

Debbie did what any good photog would do, she kept her camera (well, I guess her iPhone disguised as a camera) clicking away and got some once-in-a-lifetime shots.

If Debbie is reading this and would add more to the story in the comments section, I’ll include her side of the story in a future piece about the three things you MUST do to always get the image!

Bio Box

 Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist from America.  His latest book of photography, Suenitos tells the story of the only daycare inside the dangerous Hidden City.  Now based in Argentina, he continues to turn his lens on social justice issues around the globe.  Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today.  Have a story that needs to reach national media?  Email him today.

In addition to being photo editor for the Internet’s largest collection of Travel Articles, Outbounding, he is also the lead photographer for BuenosTours, the specialists in private walking tours of Buenos Aires

Find Jerry on Google+


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Every week I get many requests from bloggers, publishers and editors to provide content..  While I’m always glad to help out, sometimes the amount of work requested can get a little overwhelming.  I’ve enlisted “MuckRack” to help me sort out the pitches. If you’ve emailed me an inquiry about providing content and I haven’t answered, I’m not ignoring you.  I just haven’t dug that far down in my emails yet.  To make doubly sure you get your pitch noticed, please click on the “MuckRack” button and enter your request there.  Thanks for understanding!


One thought on “Exclusive images from James Brown’s funeral: Courtesy of Debbie Hennessee

  1. No I am not a good photographer at all. Most of my pictures turn out blurry. But I love pictures. At the time of James Brown’s funeral, I didn’t own a cell phone. I had a Kodak Easy Share. I always kept it in my car so I could take a picture whenever I wanted. I just snap, snap, snap, and snap. I might have 25 blurry pictures to one good one but that’s OK. That was one day I was glad I had my camera in the car.

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