In the diverse community of believers that is All Souls, there are cradle Episcopalians and Episcopalians by their chinny-chin-chins. By his wife Robbin’s admission, Tom Whittington is one of the latter. But that doesn’t diminish the church’s impact on him or vice versa. Through Tom’s engaging photographs, he and All Souls have rubbed off on each other—with indelible ink.While Tom aims to be unobtrusive as he strives to record special moments at the church, Robbin says, “He ends up in relationships as a result of connecting with people through his photography. He doesn’t just take photographs, he captures memories.”
Tom has been there for so many of All Souls cherished moments, from the soulful Repairing the Breach service to innumerable baptisms, guest speakers, and indoctrination of new priests.
“It has been an honor to take photos inside the cathedral,” Tom said. “I try to hide in the corner and not be seen.”
Tom’s fascination with photography began in the ninth grade. He subsequently won a photojournalism award in high school and had his own darkroom in the days of racial riots and the Vietnam War. About five or six years ago, “I participated in Wesley Duffey Braun’s photography group at the church, and I started bringing my camera on Sundays. First thing I knew, I was taking photos for various events.”
There’s never a shortage of events to shoot at All Souls, and Tom’s photography has chronicled so many of them. “He’s helping us create our legacy through images,” Robbin said.
Requests for Tom’s talents reaches beyond the All Souls community. On June 8, he was asked to record the celebration of a new ministry in Hendersonville. At La Capilla de Santa Maria, Tom shot photos of the Reverend Hilario Cisneros, Missioner for Spanish Speaking Ministries and Rector of the church. One of Tom’s photos was selected to be used in a fundraiser calendar for the Latino/Hispanic Ministry of the National Episcopal Church.
A chiropractic physician by trade, Tom’s creative outlet is his photography. What he likes most is to capture events through people. “I find myself waiting for a head turn,” he said. “I love the anticipation of a good picture, and I try to be ready for it.”
Though Tom began his photography journey with film, he is now enthralled with the digital aspects of the medium. “Digital photography allows everyone to have the technical ability to shoot pictures, but that makes the composition of the shot that much more important,” he said.
And Tom’s composition is exceptional. While he credits Tahani Stipcevich’s eye for cropping and editing the images for Connections, “She has a real knack,” he said, it’s Tom’s composition that allows observers to relive events through his lens.
“It’s my small way of giving back,” he said.
Tom's photos online: photobytom.com.