By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
Walking into Arusha Coffee on Tuesday afternoon, I was met with the wafting smell of freshly brewed coffee and the smiling face of local photographer Christopher Winston. The single most crucial component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it, and this stands true when it comes to Winston’s impelling photography.
Winston was recently awarded the Reader’s Choice award for “Best Photographer” by Belton Journal readers. A 20-year veteran of the Army, Winston said that his journey with photography began in 1982 when he first enlisted.
“I basically just recorded my experiences from that time on using various cameras,” Winston said. “I didn’t really get serious about it until six or seven years ago, but I’ve always been shooting. Initially, it was to chronicle my kids as well as my Army experience.”
Having gone to thousands of events since he first began, I asked Winston what his first big event was that made him realize he wanted to expand beyond a personal level. He silently reminisced for a brief time with a moment of nostalgia flickering in his eyes.
“In Germany, I shot the Neuschwanstein castle,” Winston said. “The castle that Disneyland is based on. Here in Texas is when I got halfway serious about it with street photography, sunsets and a lot of the Comic-Cons such as Wizard World down in Austin.”
Winston said that people are his favorite subject to photograph. Specifically, those moments when they have no idea their picture is being taken. The rawness of the shot is Winston’s inspiration.
“I prefer street photography over almost everything,” Winston said. “I also enjoy shooting festivals, concerts and things of that nature. I like to catch those moments when people don’t know that you are capturing it.”
While photography may be one of his biggest passions, Winston has clear admiration for his wife, Gena. She has been a big supporter of his work since he first began and went with him to most events that he attends. When I asked her how she felt about her husband’s photography, nothing but a sense of pride and love came from her response.
“Totally proud of his work,” Gena said. “The progress he has made over the years of his talent. I truly love the fact that he shares his photographs with the people and events he takes pictures of. I love traveling all over Texas with him to the different events and meeting different people everywhere. I am very proud of my husband.”
Supporting our community through photography also gives him a sense of pride.
“I like to support the things that we have going on in the community,” Winston said. “For example, the most recent thing I did was National Night Out at Yettie Polk Park. I just like showing up and getting pictures.”
Although Winston has been taking pictures for many years, he entered his first competition this past February and came out on top. He walked away with the 1st place in photography for his Creative Hands picture, with that same photograph winning the Charles Chambers Award for Excellence in Photography. His image, Rainy Night in Belton, took the Honorable Mention and attendees bought the last two.
“The 2018 CAC Art Competition deadline was the ninth of February, and I told him that day to hurry and enter it,” Gena said. “He had lots of great pictures, and I wanted him to see that others thought the same as I did about as talent.”
“Gena kicked me in the butt and told me last minute that I am going to do it,” Winston said with a chuckle. “Mama says I gotta do it, I gotta do it. Here it is, Friday afternoon, we’re running all over the place printing pictures, buying frames and putting them together. I ended up submitting four pictures and won three prizes.”
With an eye for detail and the talent of being able to convey an emotive story through pictures, his photography is beyond inspirational.