Portrait of Bill Kaiser by Lonnie Crotts
Click to view full-size image.

Reader photo by Lonnie Crotts, of Jonas Ridge, N.C., and Greensboro, N.C.
“These Eyes,” a portrait of Bill Kaiser, taken in Banner Elk, N.C.
Taken Aug. 22, 2011

Photographer’s notebook

This fellow, Bill Kaiser, was at a coffee shop in Tynecastle, below Grandfather Mountain.  He was selling a book that he wrote, entitled Bloodroot.  The book is a novel about the mountain people of North Carolina during the Civil War.

My wife and I had a great conversation with Bill and found that he leads a very interesting life. He is a history buff and active journalist, published in a weekly column, and is preparing to publish his next novel, a sequel. We enjoyed hearing about highlights of his career, his writing and his love of the mountains.  “I retired here because this was as close to heaven as I could get,” he confided. At one point, he turned down the radio he wore and mentioned that he is a volunteer fire fighter.

As we bought Bloodroot, I asked Bill if I could take his picture. The image was captured in color with natural light, an Olympus DSLR and the Zuiko ED 50mm f2 lens. I converted the photo to black and white to emphasize the focus on Bill’s character. After preparing the image in black and white I found his eyes riveting, and so gave the photograph its title, These Eyes.

Editor’s note:

For more about Kaiser, read The Watauga Democrat’s profile of him and his work.

And for more about the Civil War in Western North Carolina, read Carolina Public Press’ contributing reporter Jon Elliston’s story, For historians documenting WNC’s Civil War monuments, the past is not always set in stone. In it, Elliston writes on the effort to track the state’s Civil War memorials:

The war’s sesquicentennial has prompted historians and state archivists to compile, before it’s too late, a complete record of the ways the war is memorialized in North Carolina — the state that both provided the most troops and lost the most of its citizens in battle.

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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