Thursday, March 20, 2014

Farewell, Duncan ... and thanks!

One of the nice experiences I had photographing when I was out and about was accidental. While attending the Wicket World of Croquet competition on the lawn of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site on the Old Northside of Indianapolis on June 11, 2011, I got on the porch behind a jazz ensemble that was providing entertainment.

I was closest to the ensemble's drummer, and during a short break between songs, the drummer turned and spoke to me in a whisper, pointing to the keyboards player a short distance away.

"Do you know who that is?" the drummer asked. I told him I did not.

"Duncan Schiedt," he said. "Famous jazz photographer. He's 90 years old!"

That got my attention. A career photographer -- one who made his niche taking pictures of jazz performers and personalities. Sitting in my midst.

I made a point to zero in on Schiedt for several of my photographs, including the one leading off the post, which I included in a post here back then, and which I include again today, just eight days after Schiedt died, at the age of 92, at his home in Hendricks County, which is just west of Indianapolis.

In the days that followed, I encouraged one of the photography clubs I belonged to to see if Schiedt would visit the club and do a presentation of his images. They told me to see if I could set something up, which I did. And on Aug. 17, just more than two months after I first saw him at the Harrison Home, Schiedt talked to our club and gave a slide show of his favorite and most memorable images.

Schiedt is also an author; he brought along some copies of his history of jazz music in Indiana, The Jazz State of Indiana, and his most recent work, Jazz in Black and White, which consists mostly of the photos we would see during the presentation. I bought one of each, and had him sign them for me.

So when I learned of the news last week, I went back to that summer when I became aware of this man ... and decided to toast Duncan with this post.

Time to fade to pictures ... of his performance at the croquet competition, and of his visit to the photo club.

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