The Digital Journalist

Ray Charles

So many great personalities I've met started out with one kind of a disadvantage or another, which only added to their determination. Ray Charles was no exception: he became blind at the age of 7.

I photographed Ray with the Raelettes at a New Jersey nightclub. What I loved best about his performance was when he walked away from the piano. To see him in the center of the stage, shaking and shimmying, was a unique experience. He clearly had fused together all his childhood musical influences from gospel to blues to rock.

Another time I followed Ray to an ABC-Paramount record company meeting in a boardroom with 12 executive 'suits' sitting clustered around a long, polished mahogany table. Ray's blindness may well have helped him curb any feelings of intimation that circulated through that windowless room. As usual, Ray was his own boss and they all knew it.