John Moore Debuts His Photography At One-night Show At Dickson Theater

ffw 0114 johnYou may not know the man, but you likely know his work. Fayetteville artist, graphic designer and photographer John Moore may be best known by his signature, “enki3d,” that appears on many local album covers and posters.

Although he has made a big impact locally with his graphic design work, Moore has a national reach, too. He has created book covers, magazine covers, album covers and posters for the national market, including show posters for Slayer, Buddy Guy and Loretta Lynn.

Moore is somewhat of an underground legend, who shies from the limelight. But at 7 p.m. Jan. 21, he will exhibit more than 1,100 of the 9,000 photographs that he has taken in the last couple of years. This will be the first public showing of his collected work. The exhibit will be in conjunction with Wade Ogle’s CD release party at the Dickson Theater.

After shelving his camera for 20 years, Moore began shooting again in 2008, intrigued by the local underground music community. Last year he began doing portraits. Moore said photography is a social experiment as much as it is an art form.

“I try and capture people in the sense of “who they are,’” Moore said. “You can learn a lot about people with a camera in your hand. I shoot everyone. I am not confined by social status, definitions of beauty or gender. I enjoy shooting people who have not been in front of a camera the most.

“Since I have started shooting again, the most memorable times are definitely the days of the punk shows over at Bike City — when they had shows (in 2008) — and Lafayette House. Those tiny rooms were seas of emotion, it was easy to capture things.”

Moore said the punks barely tolerated him at first, but gradually he became part of the crowd, albeit an intense crowd.

“At my first Lethal Red show, I was struck in the mouth with a spiked arm band and had a tooth chipped and my lip split.”

He said bands like Lethal Red, The Drunkards, Pullout Method and Genome Chomsky are good to shoot.

Moore’s cameras of choice are 1970s rangefinders and single-lens reflex models using 35mm film, challenging choices in a world where more user-friendly cameras are easy to come by.

“I love getting in the middle of all the slamming and trying to grab a shot. If you are using manual advance rangefinders, like I do, you only get one shot to capture that moment before it’s gone. You have to become a part of what you are shooting or it doesn’t work, it’s emotionless.”

Moore has a serious work ethic, which he attributes to his upbringing. Born in Cleveland, Miss. — not far from the crossroads where Robert Johnson made his deal with the devil — Moore was raised blue collar. He’s never let go of those values.

In August, while still recovering from “serious oral surgery,” he fractured a rib while getting into position for a shot.

“I really did not expect to get anything worthwhile from that shoot due to my condition, but it turned out to be one of the best days I have had.”

Inspired by Vietnam war photographers and Sergio Leone films, Moore began shooting at age 13. He takes almost a naturalist approach to photography. He stays away from digital post-production, preferring to “leave things as they truly are.” He says embellishment has become too commonplace. He’s not interested in doing studio work, because “it has no life.”

Moore doesn’t do things the easy way. “Natural light has so much more to offer. It’s a challenge.”

When he shoots, Moore tries to create a place for his subjects to roam securely within themselves.

“It is your job to allow your subjects to bring forth themselves, not to put them in poses and make them templates. People are individuals and should be treated as such.

“In a day and age when everything is so accessible, we lose sight of the power that we have in something like photography. It’s more than a photograph. It’s life.”

John Moore uses the signature Noir33 for his photography, which is also the name of his Web site.

Categories: Features