Lonnell Hurst Oct 2020 portrait.jpg

Interviewed by AOTCE


I started out in the fine arts and was a student of film/video communications in 1975 . After taking several courses a noted professor in the film department viewed one of my short films out of his curiosity concerning my film composition. He later inquired about my knowledge of still photography.  At that point, I had no knowledge what still photography was and in fact I had never experienced shooting a still camera.  Later he handed me a list of 35 mm cameras and suggested that I purchase one.  I enrolled in a list of photo courses which he suggested were for my success.


I knew I was on my way into a long career of shooting.  Along with my study in fine arts and with darkroom application, the blend seems to be a perfect mixture for me.  Later in my career I would use my photos as references for my fine art drawing.  So, photography has become my go to medium which I grew to love.


I consider myself an Artist \Photographer.  The balance between the two have given me a broader range to supply collectors and galleries with my images. Many times, my photographs are captured from being in the right place at the right time along with pre-production arrangement. You have to be ready in your approach for new excitement with every click of the camera. So, I say to myself, “that’s the one!  Yeah, I got it.” That should be the answer when that camera clicks. There should always  be something in the frame to develop.  I am always thankful for that old fashion training that I received back in the day.  Transitioning into this New Digital world became a lot smoother.  I use my images as a travel gauges in my strides of life.

In 2018 three of my photograph was proudly chosen to be part of the Call it Back,  an exhibit of Visualizing Image of Black Photos Subject dating from the 1930 to the present date at the Rosenthal Gallery Fayetteville State University NC.   Some of the giants in photography were represented.  In 2019 The International Review of African American Art Magazine IRAAA showcased one of my images from that show.

Many years ago, while in Senegal Dakar I photographed a young Senegalese Girl. The photograph was titled African Jewel. The photo was later illustrated by renowned artist Carl Owen titled Little Flower.  Which has become an icon in the world of African American Art. After all these years the photo still commands a response. 

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African Jewel, Photograph by Lonnell Hurst

Many changes have occurred in the world of photography with the invention of the smart phone.  Young image makers have arrived and produced an array of stunning work.  However, as a student of photography you should get to know the quality of a larger format camera.  Looking through that viewfinder pushing the shutter down and seeing the image before the click happens can be the most rewarding experience in this new age of image making.  I often encourage young photographers to surround themselves with an array of creative people and I direct them to the programs that the National Conference of Artists offers in the summer months.


Early in the year, the Interventions Art Exhibition, celebrating Women's History Month at the Detroit Public Library had to be canceled due to the COVID -19 Pandemic.  This was a first for many artists including myself.  The Opening Reception was scheduled for March 14th preview and was never viewed publicly.  The virus has forced many changes in the field of the arts, the wheel had to  be reinvented. The Internet had to be put to the test.  Online Galleries have become more visible.  Recently in July 2020 I was part of NCA Online Works On Paper.  It gave collectors another avenue to obtain new and cutting edge art, through a brick less venue.  Both of my current mediums are being featured in the Black History Brilliance Show in the National Conference of Art Gallery.  I'm often met with the thrill of surprise, with questions pertaining to my drawings.  Many don't know the other side of my brain.  Yeah, I pull from both sides.  The exhibit showcases two of my photos and the drawing of Jesus Christ.  The drawing was taken from references in one of my photos.


Both my drawing and photography can be seen on my web page.



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