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I started painting in my freshman year before I took painting due to the fact that Kermit and Katie Oliver always came back to the art department in the evenings. They lived close to the University in a small apartment, and they would come back in the evenings to work. Kermit would paint, and I had the opportunity to watch him. So that was motivation…there was always that demonstration of what was taking place. It challenged you to be active. It challenged you to be responsible for what you was doing.

Shooting for model cities

I was in school painting a mural in Hannah Hall and a man walked up and said, “Are you Earlie Hudnall?” I said, “Yes I am.” He said, “Are you a photographer?” I said, “Yes I am.” He said, “Well, Mr. Evans [TSU photographer at that time] told me that I should come and talk to you. I need you to come to my office and see if you would be interested in being a photographer for Model Cities Program.” I said, “Yes, sir.” He said, “Well, come to room 102, Martin Luther King Center, and I’m Dr. Thomas L. Freedman.”

So I went and visited with Dr. Freedman. Working with the Model Cities Program, which provided city services to residents within the community—various communities—allowed me an opportunity to view Houston and see the various neighborhoods by shooting and making photographs. I was able to relate to Houston as a very rural and modern city, as well as somewhat of a Western city. Coming to Texas I was thinking that I was going to see cowboys and Indians and horses and all of that. But working for the Model Cities Program the blanket was pulled back, and the real Houston was revealed to me: Fourth Ward, Fifth Ward, Trinity Garden, the Hispanic community and all of that.

Being able to see all of this and coming from a working community has motivated me and inspired me to document life as it is. The simple things in life. How we live from day to day, what we do on special holidays, family kinds of things and so forth. And this has been my mainstay in photography.

Tsu's ocean of soul

1973. Photo by Earlie Hudnall. Courtesy of Earlie Hudnall.

A powerful influence

John Biggers really pushed me. He took an interest personally in me and to this day, I still don’t understand why. My first job in Houston was to clean up the painting room in the art department, and he provided that for me. He always challenged all of his students, but I kept coming back. I started to visit him in his studio. He started asking me to make photographs of certain pieces of sculpture for him and he allowed me the opportunity to experiment until I was able to get it right.

If you asked me the question, what one person touched you more than any of the others, I would have to say John Biggers, but then again, I had a supporting cast.

I went to Mr. Herbert Provost

Herbert Provost was a tennis coach at Texas Southern University and a portrait and event photographer in Houston.
and got information. Dr. Freeman provided us during the Model Cities Program with cameras, with supplies with which to experiment. Mr. Provost opened up his studio to me so that, during the down season, I was able to stay at the studio. I was there at night. He provided me with this opportunity to hone my skills and my craft. But there was also, you know, the students. Nathaniel Sweets…Ray Carrington.
TSU graduate Ray Carrington III has photographed the Third Ward community in Houston for more than three decades. Together with Earlie Hudnall, he was a photographer for the Model Cities program as a college student. He has taught photography at Houston’s Jack Yates Senior High School since 1993.
Beyond that, it’s just a generality of people, the respect of people.

Seeing past the lens

I never feel sorry for any of my subjects. I’ve always had respect for the individual, no matter who they were. Wherever I’ve been able to travel I’ve met people, and in every community there are so many similarities that we can find…and that is so wonderful.

It’s a rush, it’s an excitement, when you see the images of the picture and something sends off a signal that this is the moment to snap—to make the picture. That moment is very sacred and a very special kind of excitement. You are creating—you are freezing a moment in time, but you are having to work with the subject. You don’t have to speak…but there is this magical timing that [brings] you and the subject into orbit. Then that subject contributes to society in a way without even truly knowing that the image he provided at that precise moment can have an impact. To me that’s power. That’s the power. That is something given to you by God and it is the result of hard work and perseverance. It is something that is sacred and something you don’t abuse and you don’t misuse. I have to live up to that. To do less than that is not putting forth my best effort. My father used to always say if he was sick, or had to leave or go out of town, “Hey look, I have to leave, I’m putting you in charge.” And he said, “All I ask for you to do is your best.” And this is what I’m trying to do each and every day: to do my best.

Earlie Hudnall was interviewed on December 1, 2006. You can listen to the interview here .

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
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Source:  OpenStax, Houston reflections: art in the city, 1950s, 60s and 70s. OpenStax CNX. May 06, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10526/1.2
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