My Favorite Captures of 2015

Sarah and Andrew

2015 was a great year for T. Cooper Hull Photography, LLC! Besides our normal captures, we also stepped into the past and took on some news and sports assignments for some of the local news sites in Charlotte. All in all, it was a fun year in pictures. As I say every year when I sit down and go through my files, these are my favorite captures. I don’t like to call them my best because I may have shot a better picture that didn’t make the list. When looking back at favorites, I think about more than the actual image. I remember the atmosphere and how everyone involved was feeling. I like to try to get to know the people, like Courtney Hunter. He’s a soft-spoken football player who gets the offensive line going before the game, but you wouldn’t know his family’s struggle of being homeless before he began attending JCSU. Sometimes it’s not the action that caught my attention, like during one of Tarik Cohan’s touchdowns. It’s the reaction from the fans in the background. You are pulled into the emotion of the moment. I’ve always tried to capture that feeling and emotion from my early days as a photographer. With that said, please enjoy my favorite captures of 2015!

Johnson C. Smith University 2015 homecoming celebration came to an end on Saturday with a day of fun and excitement for all. The day started with the homecoming parade down Beatties Ford Rd from West Charlotte High School to the front of the JCSU campus. Once on campus, students and alumni were treated to JCSU FestiVille. There were games, vendors, and music for everyone to enjoy. Those with grilling skills tailgated and socialized with friends and family before the big showdown with Shaw University. Defense carried the Golden Bulls to a 17-10 victory over the bears. The night ended with NPHC Step Show.

Courtney Hunter pumps up the O line before JCSU homecoming.

Alcorn State and North Carolina A&T came together in the inaugural Celebration Bowl at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Celebration Bowl is the first attempt at reviving a MEAC-SWAC postseason game since 1999. The matchup pits the champion of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Alcorn State, against the champion of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, NC A&T, in what some have called "black college national championship." NC A&T takes there championship with a 41-34 victory over Alcorn State.

Tarik Cohan with the score in the Celebration Bowl

Alcorn State and North Carolina A&T came together in the inaugural Celebration Bowl at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Celebration Bowl is the first attempt at reviving a MEAC-SWAC postseason game since 1999. The matchup pits the champion of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Alcorn State, against the champion of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, NC A&T, in what some have called "black college national championship." NC A&T takes there championship with a 41-34 victory over Alcorn State.

Alcorn State and North Carolina A&T came together in the inaugural Celebration Bowl at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Celebration Bowl is the first attempt at reviving a MEAC-SWAC postseason game since 1999. The matchup pits the champion of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Alcorn State, against the champion of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, NC A&T, in what some have called "black college national championship." NC A&T takes there championship with a 41-34 victory over Alcorn State.

Alcorn State and North Carolina A&T came together in the inaugural Celebration Bowl at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Celebration Bowl is the first attempt at reviving a MEAC-SWAC postseason game since 1999. The matchup pits the champion of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Alcorn State, against the champion of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, NC A&T, in what some have called “black college national championship.” NC A&T takes the championship with a 41-34 victory over Alcorn State.

Art of Cool Fest 2015 in Durham NC brings together some of the best local, regional, and national musicians together for a multi day/multi venue extravaganza. The main goal of the AOC is to "present, promote and preserve jazz-influenced music."

Art of Cool Fest 2015 in Durham, NC, brings some of the best local, regional, and national musicians together for a multi-day/multi-venue extravaganza. The main goal of the AOC is to “present, promote and preserve jazz-influenced music.”

Breaking Convention CLT 2015 had it's Obey Your Verse Stage LIVE from 5:00-7:00 on Friday and Saturday. DJ's, break dancers, poets, and singers came together for the free event.

Breaking Convention CLT 2015 had its Obey Your Verse Stage LIVE from 5:00-7:00 on Friday and Saturday. DJs, break dancers, poets, and singers came together for the free event.

Queen City Jazz Fest 2015

Queen City Jazz Fest 2015

Queen City Jazz Fest 2015

Queen City Jazz Fest 2015

Queen City Jazz Fest 2015

Queen City Jazz Fest 2015

Distinguished Gentlemen... A Night of Elegance at the Park Expo was a fashion show and fundraiser to help fight domestic violence. Proceeds from the event were donated to The Jamie Kimble Foundation For Courage.

Distinguished Gentlemen... A Night of Elegance at the Park Expo was a fashion show and fundraiser to help fight domestic violence. Proceeds from the event were donated to The Jamie Kimble Foundation For Courage.

Distinguished Gentlemen... A Night of Elegance at the Park Expo was a fashion show and fundraiser to help fight domestic violence. Proceeds from the event were donated to The Jamie Kimble Foundation For Courage.

Distinguished Gentlemen… A Night of Elegance at the Park Expo was a fashion show and fundraiser to help fight domestic violence. Proceeds from the event were donated to The Jamie Kimble Foundation For Courage.

Coach Steven Joyner reached a mile stone in victories with number 500.

Stedmon Lemon is channeling his inner Micheal Jordan

Queens University took on cross town rivals Johnson C. Smith University. The Goldenbulls kept things close until halfway through the second period. Queens University gets the victory with a score of 87-77.

Queens University took on crosstown rivals Johnson C. Smith University. The Golden Bulls kept things close until halfway through the second period. Queens University gets the victory with a score of 87-77.

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The Charlotte Hornets come home for the first time of the regular season to face off against the Atlanta Hawks. After gaining the lead in the fourth quarter, The Hornets lose a heartbreaker to Atlanta 94-92.

The Charlotte Hornets come home for the first time of the regular season to face off against the Atlanta Hawks. After gaining the lead in the fourth quarter, The Hornets lose a heartbreaker to Atlanta, 94-92.

Brenda Tindal, the newly appointed historian of the Levine Museum of the New South

Brenda Tindal, the newly appointed historian of the Levine Museum of the New South

Sarah and Andrew Engagement Shoot

Sarah and Andrew Engagement Shoot

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North Meck Prom 2015

North Meck Prom 2015

Peace Out ... Graduation 2015

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Texans vs Panthers

Texans vs Panthers

The Panthers open their homeowner against the Houston Texans and welcome home Rock Hill native Jadeveon Clowney. Panther's defense leader Luke Kuechly was out after his concussion he suffered from the season opener in Jacksonville.

The Panthers play their home-opener against the Houston Texans and welcome home Rock Hill native Jadeveon Clowney. Panther’s defense leader Luke Kuechly was out after the concussion he suffered from the season opener in Jacksonville.

The First Tee of Greater Charlotte Celebrity golf tournament with local Charlotte celebrity like CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe, Matt Carrol, Amy Cowman, Mark Greenhalgh, Brenton Berson, Eric "Sleepy" Floyd, Jane Singleton, Charles Johnson, Vernando Velasco, Ron Green Jr., Corey Nagy, Cara Capuano, Ryan Cabbage, Deana Diorio, and Wesley Walls. All proceeds go to fund First Tee many programs.

The First Tee of Greater Charlotte Celebrity golf tournament with local Charlotte celebrities, including CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe, Matt Carrol, Amy Cowman, Mark Greenhalgh, Brenton Berson, Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, Jane Singleton, Charles Johnson, Vernando Velasco, Ron Green Jr., Corey Nagy, Cara Capuano, Ryan Cabbage, Deana Diorio, and Wesley Walls. All proceeds go to fund First Tee many programs.

Commemorative Classics

Commemorative Classics

This lecture and surrounding events will engage us in one of the most relevant issues of our time, social justice. As people of faith, we believe that God expects us to do not just what is right, but also what is faithful. It is our hope that this conversation with Dr. West will help us to discern a faithful response to issues of race and inequality and to experience a hope-filled transformation as individuals and as a community.

This lecture and surrounding events will engage us in one of the most relevant issues of our time, social justice. As people of faith, we believe that God expects us to do not just what is right, but also what is faithful. It is our hope that this conversation with Dr. West will help us to discern a faithful response to issues of race and inequality and to experience a hope-filled transformation as individuals and as a community.

This lecture and surrounding events will engage us in one of the most relevant issues of our time, social justice. As people of faith, we believe that God expects us to do not just what is right, but also what is faithful. It is our hope that this conversation with Dr. West will help us to discern a faithful response to issues of race and inequality and to experience a hope-filled transformation as individuals and as a community.

This lecture with Dr. Cornel West and surrounding events at First Presbyterian Church engaged us in one of the most relevant issues of our time, social justice.

The Queen City Jazz Fest

The Return of Jazz to the Uptown Amphitheater

Mike Phillips running through the crowd at the Queen City Jazz Fest.

Mike Phillips running through the crowd at the Queen City Jazz Fest.

 

On Saturday evening, jazz returned to the Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheater in a major way. The lineup of Mike Phillips with Karen Briggs, Will Downing, and Brian Culbertson was a great choice for the first Queen City Jazz Fest.

I was a little hesitant when I first saw the lineup. Four of the entertainers I had shot before, some very recently, so I was wondering how different their shows would be. In the past, after photographing an artist several times, I seemed to know the show as well as the band. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad performance. It just means they don’t work at keeping everything fresh.

Mike Phillips getting uncles and personal with the fans.

Mike Phillips getting up close and personal with the fans.

 

In the case of opening act Mike Phillips, however, I wasn’t worried at all about his set. Saturday made the third time in two months that I’ve seen Mike. In back-to-back nights at the Art of Cool Festival in Durham, NC, Phillips went from leading an intimate quintet to taking the main stage by storm to open for Anthony Hamilton, delivering two widely different but deeply satisfying and high-quality shows. Phillips goes out at 100 miles per hour and never slows. At one point at the Queen City Jazz Fest, he was running through the packed crowd acting like it wasn’t 90 plus degrees.

Enter violinist Karen Briggs. I had photographed her in Charleston with the all-female group Jazz in Pink and remembered how mellow they were, but at the QC fest, her energy equalled Phillips’ and the two played off each other well. Briggs is fierce on the violin.

Karen Briggs joined Mike Phillips to open TheQueen City Jazz Fest .

Karen Briggs joined Mike Phillips to open TheQueen City Jazz Fest .

 

“Wouldn’t you like to see her perform with Ken Ford?!” a friend asked. Yes. That would be a bigger violin battle than when “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” (Speaking of country music, I did have a Grand Ole Opry flashback when Briggs went from violinist to fiddler in mid song. You couldn’t have asked for a better opening.)

A fan surprised Will Downing with flowers during his performance.

A fan surprised Will Downing with flowers during his performance.

 

Will Downing was up next. This was going to be a first for me, the only one in the entire festival, and it became a treat to hear this true vocalist. An automatic crowd favorite from the opening note, you could tell from the screams who was there to see Will. Actually, you could tell when the women rushed the stage. Especially when they brought flowers. It was time for love. His interaction with the fans was genuine as he went through hit after hit. Fans felt like he was performing just for them; at least, that’s what the lady beside me was saying to her girlfriend during “A Million Ways.”

Queen City Jazz Fest 2015

Queen City Jazz Fest 2015

 

After Will Downing finished, I overheard a small group say they could go home. I politely leaned over and said, “You might want to rethink that.” After seeing Brian Culbertson last Labor Day weekend, I knew the passion in his performance – no slowing down, ever, with even the most mellow of his sets bringing energy – and would place him in the top two of shows I covered in 2014 (Trombone Shorty is the other topper). Saturday’s show didn’t disappoint. I had an idea it would be fantastic because, 45 minutes before, Culbertson and the band were still talking over the set list. Brian Culbertson and his band travel together, so there is an intimacy on the stage that makes for nice change-ups in the music and gives depth to a show within a show, which fascinates this photographer.

 

A packed house at The Queen City Jazz Fest

A packed house at The Queen City Jazz Fest

 

Ticket sales don’t always attest to an event’s solidity or strength, but in the case of the Queen City Jazz Fest, they speak truth. A packed house with fans on their feet on one of the hottest days of the year definitely gets the vote for success. My fingers are crossed that this is the start of a tradition in the QC for many years to come, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the #QCJF16. Maybe we will get that Karen Briggs/Ken Ford violin battle. With so many young acts that have jazz as a connection, there could be something similar to the AOC brewing right here in Charlotte.

Check out the entire gallery on our Jazz Shooter page.