Stopping Time: Photographer shares ‘quiet’ images in T2 exhibit

Stopping Time: Photographer shares ‘quiet’ images in T2 exhibit
LARA JO HIGHTOWER
lhightower@nwadg.com

Photographer Wesley Hitt calls himself an introvert. That’s OK — his work speaks plenty loud enough for him. Since he was 22 years old, the prolific Hitt has been making a living doing what he loves to do; photography, he says, is his hobby as well as his career. He has a diverse roster of clients that includes professional sports organizations like the NFL, the NBA and NASCAR; iconic Arkansas institutions and businesses like the University of Arkansas, Walmart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt, TheatreSquared and a bevy of Arkansas hospitals; and national organizations and publications like Getty Images, Discovery Channel, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Yet the photography exhibit currently at TheatreSquared is the first time his body of work has been on display.

Hitt says the exhibit shows off a side of his work that isn’t always seen — “pretty pictures” of quiet scenes taken in Arkansas and around the country. (Photo by Wesley Hitt)

“When all of this all came about, I had to sit down and look at my work and think, ‘Well, what do I want to show?’” says Hitt. “I wanted to show something that not everybody sees.” He made his choices and, when he saw the complete exhibit, he noticed a pattern: There were plenty of photos that showed his skill in sports photography and other dynamic situations, but he had chosen a lot of “still” photos, as well. “I started looking at the pictures that are in the exhibit, and, I thought, ‘Holy cow, my whole career has been running up and down the sidelines or photographing people in motion, and everything that I wanted to show were just these quiet, simple moments.’ And that’s the opposite of what I do for a living. I think when I’m out on my own — I call it ‘seeing,’ driving around or on vacation — that’s where my mind goes, to that ‘simple.’ It’s just so easy for me to look at those kinds of scenes and see it. Pretty pictures, I like taking pretty pictures, I think.”

Hitt received a camera for a high school graduation present, and he was hooked. He attended a photography school in Massachusetts that emphasized business skills for artists.

“I think that helped more than anything,” says Hitt. “Their philosophy was that ‘We can only teach you so much about photography — you’re going to learn by doing. But if we can give you the knowledge about how business works and how to run a business, then you can make a career out of it.’”

Hitt’s first foray into sports photography was through a friend’s passion for motocross.

“I’m definitely an introvert and was very shy back then,” he says. “It was kind of a way to go along and have something to do at motocross [races]. When I’m taking pictures, I kind of hit a zone, and I don’t think about anything else. And it just kind of took off from there. This will be my 23rd or 24th year as an NFL photographer. I was the Razorback photographer for 10 years, Houston through Petrino, and so I’m known more for sports. But I’ve mostly done commercial and advertising work. I started in Little Rock, working with ad agencies and people like that.”

Hitt hasn’t limited his career to one photographic specialty but, instead, has found that his skills are ideal for a wide range of assignments.

“I’ve shot the [Walmart] shareholders meeting for 10 years,” he says. “I shoot down front, and one of the people that works there said they’ve noticed that I’m really good at capturing moments on stage. That’s why they like hiring me. And, again, that’s sports, too.”

It’s also what makes him good at shooting theater. He’s been photographing moments on stage for TheatreSquared for many seasons now.

“Theatre is ephemeral, it exists live, and for just that moment. Representing it in photos is so challenging,” says Martin Miller, T2 Executive Director. “We are so fortunate to work with a world-class photographer like Wesley Hitt who can capture that moment where light and movement make magic for our audiences.”

“We are so excited to celebrate Wesley’s work in The Commons this month,” says T2’s Director of Marketing and Communications Joanna Sheehan Bell. “Wesley brings an ability to almost stop time with his camera. I love that, in the exhibition, we get to see that skill in the remarkable work he does to capture amazing moments on our stages and also the gorgeous vistas and vignettes he’s captured from all over Arkansas.”

Wesley Hitt is known for his sports photography — his clients include the NBA, NFL and NASCAR — but in the span of his nearly four decade career, he has also found success in the fields of photojournalism and commercial and theatrical photography. A exhibit of his work at TheatreSquared gives a comprehensive look at his photographic achievements. (Courtesy Photo)

FAQ

‘Light Moments’:

Wesley Hitt Photography

WHEN — Through Aug. 14

WHERE — TheatreSquared, 477 W. Spring St., Fayetteville

COST — Free

INFO — wesleyhitt.com

Categories: Galleries