One of my favorite things about being a photographer, in particular, a newspaper photographer, is that everyday is different. More than not, we are walking into an environment we haven’t been before and it is our job to take what we are given and make it work photographically, whether it is a set-up type portrait or just being able to handle the lighting involved in a more documentary type photo. When I walked into the home of Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, mother of the late Detroit ‘hip-hop’ producer J. Dilla, the first thing I noticed was the multi-paneled, mirrored, closet doors at the end of the room and the way they were reflecting different angles of the room. I knew I was doing a set-up type portrait so I knew I wanted to use the various planes of the doors, slightly opened to give me different perspectives. Fortunately, Mr. Yancey had a lot of artwork of her son, some done by a friend Sheefy McFly so with cool artwork, mirrored surfaces, Ms. Yancey as well as her younger son, performer John “Illaj” Yancey, I had more than enough elements to come up with a cool pic.
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