Portrait: Rev. Kyle Brown


Sometimes, as a photographer, it helps to really know your subject.

A year ago, I shot a portrait of the Rev. Woody Berry, the head of staff at Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church, and the main shot was really well received – well enough that it was one of the keys to me deciding to hang my shingle out as a photographer. One of the responses was from associate pastor Kyle Brown who said, “I want one.”

And I thought about it … for quite a while. Now, it’s not that it takes me six months to come up with a portrait idea. In fact, as an on-location photographer, it’s my job to come up with ideas in on the spot. But, delays in getting together gave me time to think about Kyle, an interesting mix of cutting edge and tradition in one human being. I didn’t want to replicate Woody’s shot, but should I put him in the context of church at all? Well, yeah – he is a pastor. But how do we do this without letting the tradition overwhelm the youth?

Then, one Sunday, he wore it, this monkish, hooded pastoral robe, and it was all I could do to keep from shouting, “That’s it!” during the call to worship. I don’t know what the technical term for this garment is, but it strikes me as something like a pastoral equivalent of vintage clothing.

But where should we shoot it? Looking at some groomsmen pics from Amy and Dave’s wedding this summer, I noted the pillars at the front of the church and thought the right angle could give Kyle an airy, light background. He completed the look going with the sandals, and we shot it in the waning days of fall. After the original idea, we took a few other looks to give Kyle some variety, and take advantage of the fall color around the church. He used one as his Facebook profile pic and a friend of his commented, “hey, your stole matches the leaves.”

Good thing we waited.



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