Act 004: Unspoken - JD Plourde II

JD Plourde II

JD Plourde II is a New Englander currently living near the seacoast of New Hampshire. He began his photographic journey in 1983 with a hand-me-down Pentax film camera and some black and white ribbons that seemed far easier to twist onto metal spools than running digitized captures through Photoshop sometimes seems to be.

Today he shoots digital only; using the Nikon D810, and has not looked back to film since beginning to shoot digital in 2004 with the D70.

"I enjoy capturing images that lend themselves to a conversion that resembles a painting, but I'm far happier when a shot comes out of the camera looking exactly like I saw it at first blush. Sometimes it's necessary to push the limits of what your camera can capture knowing that the darkroom is where the real image will be made. Other times, you have to trust the meter."

Despite that sentiment, he's quick to admit that the best images his lens has captured are due to serendipity, synchronicity and the aligning of cosmic forces where the Spirit has gifted him with something far more brilliant than he could have imagined or planned for.

JD shoots whatever catches his eye whenever it catches his eye. He chases the autumn light and leaves. Sometimes he's up all night trying to see beyond the stars. He's been known to spend a lot of time shooting bugs and loves working with stage performances. He has photographed weddings in the local seacoast area, as far south as Bristol, CT and as far away as Cork, Ireland.


I have to admit. As Unspoken takes the stage on Friday afternoon, I'm no longer feeling joyful. I'm full of stress, wheels turning in my head, smoke coming out my ears even. I'm half considering heading back home because the job I'm supposed to be doing isn't getting done.

I've spent the last 90 minutes desperately trying to streamline a photographic workflow made for someone who meditates on imagery and blogs about it, into a machine that spot edits and posts within minutes of snapping the shot. I'm falling further and further behind, falling into old workflows, redoing stuff I've already done and not doing much to help our lead photographer, Joe McKenney of McKenney Photography keep up with things. Compounding my workflow changes is the spotty internet connection. I'm constantly kicked off the network and those images that I am able to get finished aren't getting posted anyway because the process fails to finalize the upload. Just as Unspoken comes to the stage, my computer stops recognizing my rights on the page we are managing, but my cellular phone is showing me something completely different.

I'm officially out of the game. Our workflow can't have me popping off shots and just handing them off to Joe. Whatever images I capture will have to sit on the card until things straighten out or I get back to a place where my computer decides to behave. Either option probably means not until after the concert is done. I'm worried about letting Joe down. I'm stressed because Jeff has goals and I'm not contributing and now Unspoken is taking the stage?!!

I've missed Finding Favour's entire set! It's a band with a debut album I adore and a new single, "Say Amen," that I could listen to almost as often as my little sister used to listen to Shawn Cassidy songs. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I'm reminded of something I've been trying desperately to work into my life. I'm not the one in control.

At this point, I can give it up or take what action I can. In fact, it's what I should have been doing all along. Give up these things I cannot control to the one who is and get back out there and shoot some more. When things straighten out I'll be able to post, even if it's not near-real time. I shouldn't be letting this get to me.

And yet, as I approach the stage for Unspoken's set, I'm still chewing on the stuff that I'm not in control of.

There's a drum beat slamming from the stage. It reminds me of travelling music, a soundtrack for that guy jumping on a train to anywhere. It's bluesy, anthemic and it makes me want to dance. I've got an image of a kid skipping rocks at the edge of a still pond and another of a group of neighborhood friends jumping rope in the middle of the cul-de-sac at dusk. There's a nostalgia in the music, but there's power in the words Chad's belting out.

At some point between the chucka-chucka-woo, chucka-chucka-woo of "Start a Fire" and the time he reminds me, "You can never fall too hard, so fast, so far, that you can't get back when you're lost. Where you are is never too late," I realized that I'm shooting behind tears. Not because I'm hurting anymore about the stuff that's been in my way, but because I'm singing these songs right along with the band and they are prayers. In just a few moments, I've been given a sense of comfort and peace about what's happening behind the scenes, what I need to keep doing and I'm reminded of something I knew before I packed up to come to River Rock.

This project you're getting involved with this weekend is a gift. God doesn't give snakes when you're looking for bread. Let it go. "You can bury the workman, but the work will go on."

As if I couldn't be reminded more that the Father takes cares of us the way we want to take care of our children, Chad has his daughter out on stage singing now and I can see his heart swelling with how much he loves her and her smile says it all when she looks at him. This weekend in particular, I'm missing my boy a lot. I hope someday I can get back to loving on God the way Izzy loves on me.

I took a look tonight at my iTunes ratings on the Unspoken album. There's more 5 stars on that recording than I thought. It's no wonder though. The music transports me to simpler times. It envelopes me in a sense of carefree security and the words speak to my heart while I'm talking with God. Want to get out of your own funkiness? Grab Unspoken's self-titled album and let it play straight through. Along the way, you might just find out who you really are.

I could have called Friday a wash. In retrospect, I'll call it grace.

[ Scenes from the 2016 River Rock Christian Music Festival at Sunday River Ski Resort in Bethel, Maine. ]

#getthestory at my SmugMug site
Be The Story in 2017:
Follow me on Facebook to get notifications when I post new galleries.


unspokenmusicAriel MunozBethelChad MattsonChristChristianD810Don EanesJD Plourde IIJon LowryLordMaineMike GomezNikonSaviorSaviourSunday RiverThe Lighthouse EventsUnspokenbandcelebrationconcertentertainmentfestivalmusicmusiciansperformersperforming artspositiveriverrockworship