Old Guy at Age 100

Write a letter to your 100-year-old self.

Old guy blessings

Old Guy graphic by Andrew Sanderson
Image: Andrew Sanderson

Hey there OG,

You are truly an OG now. Remember the first time someone called you an OG and you didn’t know whether it was a compliment or an insult. Someone explained Old Guy to you and that it was intended as a compliment. You still didn’t take it as a compliment as you still felt young.

Well, now at age 100 you are an OG and proud to be. You no longer must validate. You no longer have to deal with charlatans trying to validate themselves at your expense – trying to make themselves important. Few of them are still here.

Being hundred years old means you took diligent care of yourself and you can still get around. You are an OG doing for yourself, and living on your own. For years you have been free from worrying about what others think and their opinions.

Well, just enjoy your day and continue to do as you please. Most of those who worked your nerves are long gone. Enjoy whatever days are ahead. Have another bowl of ice cream. Yes, I know you don’t need my permission to have another one, OG.




Roosevelt – That’s My Middle Name

What is your middle name? Does it carry any special meaning/significance?

middle name badge -Maryland portrait photographer

My middle name is Roosevelt and I hated it growing up – absolutely hated it!

I remember that in grade school, occasionally teachers would check their
records and ask each student what their middle name was. I would pretend not to hear and would walk up to the teacher’s desk and softly whisper my middle name.  Sometimes, my mean old uncle would tease me and keep calling me Roosy, Roosy, Roosy. Was that child abuse when he knew I absolutely hated that name?

I had genuine issues with that name. Everyone else had simple middle names like Lee, Allen, and Wayne and I had Roosevelt.  I was not at all impressed that two presidents had that name also.

Later in life, my attitude changed and I began to love the name. I have
since met several cool people with Roosevelt as a first name. All the people I have met have been Black American males. I know that back in the day someone in their families were named after one of the presidents and the name was passed on, but now it seems to be a name for the brothers.

No one calls me Roosevelt or even knows it is my middle name.  I keep saying that one day I will market myself as simply Roosevelt – no first name, no last name – just Roosevelt!

Maryland Portrait Photographer


Alaskan Vacation – Beautiful Day Trip

Alaska Railroad train ride from Anchorage to Seward was a vacation highlight.

Starting in Anchorage during the early morning, the tavelled along the countryside showing beautiful greenery. Other spectacular views included wildlife, glaciers, and aircraft parked in backyards.

As a photographer I could point my camera in any direction and see something unbelievably beautiful. So much beauty that by the end of the trip my hands were tired!

The price for the approximately 4-hour trip in each direction was reasonable.

The trip on Alaska Railroad was well worth it! I look forward to returning to The Last Frontier for another train ride.

Have you been to Alaska? What was your favorite train journey?

Alaska Railroad - Early morning train ride

Alaska Railroad - Anchorage to Seward

Alaska train traveling across bridge

Train in Alaska entering tunnel
Maryland Portrait Photographer


Need a Headshot? One that works for you!

Headshots for models, actors, and business professionals

When looking for professional headshots or portraits, call on Lonnie Dawkins Photography.

headshots in Maryland and Washington DC

Models, actors, and companies have used our photo services and received images that have gotten them great results. Located in convenient Prince George’s County, Maryland we are easily available to the entire Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia Metropolitan Region.

Headshots that get you noticed! Portfolios, comp cards, and more.

We also coach new models in building a portfolio.

Book your photography today!



The Great but Barely Known African American Photographer J P Ball

Black Photographer James Presley Ball like a lot of others made tremendous contributions to art and history but few know of him.

James Presley Ball from Willis Book

by Lonnie Dawkins

J.P. Ball at one time was considered the best photographer in the Cincinnati area and later one of the best and most successful in the nation, yet few people have ever heard of him. Prior to this study this writer’s knowledge of famous African American photographers was limited to James Van der Zee and those who came afterwards such as Gordon Parks and Monetta J. Sleet. Though not renown today for his work, Ball might very well be worthy of being a peer to other better known photographers such as Matthew Brady. It seems that Ball’s peers are often limited to other African American photographers such as Augusta Washington, Daniel Freeman, and Jules Lion. A closer look at his work as revealed in the book J.P. Ball, Daguerrean and Studio Photographer by Deborah Willis clearly shows that this was a photographer who has left a treasure.


Born a free man in Virginia in 1825, Ball was a not only an extremely successful Daguerrean/photographer but was a businessman and dabbled in politics later in his life becoming a Montana delegate to the Republican convention in 1894. His reputation spanned from his beginnings in Virginia to Cincinnati to Minneapolis to Montana to Seattle and finally to Hawaii. He produced hundreds of photographs of the white, black, and Chinese community. He was the official photographer of the 25th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and photographed the construction of the Montana state capital. Many of his studio portraits and photographs of public events are archived by the Montana Historical Society. His photographs chronicle a changing community. They depict immigrants from Asia and Europe as well as migrants from all over the United States.[i]


The book J.P. Ball, Daguerrean and Studio Photographer by Deborah Willis includes about 300 of Ball’s pictures including people of all walks of life. Mostly it includes portraits of what appears to be well to do people. This collection clearly shows that Ball had a vast array of clients who sought out his work. Curiously it seems that each person has their left arm leaning on a chair, post, or table. There are wonderful group pictures including families and schools. Almost all pictures are of people and only a few are of buildings. Each portrait shows the studio that Ball owned at the time. Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, Albumen prints, carte-de-visite and Albumen cabinet card are the mediums. 

Highlight of the book is the pictures of William Biggerstaff which is discussed shortly and the Ball’s Splendid Mammoth Pictorial Tour of the United States Comprising Views of the African Slave Trade; of Northern and Southern Cities; of Cotton and Sugar Plantations; of the Mississippi, Ohio and Susquehanna Rivers, Niagara Falls, & C. and the pamphlet that accompanied it.


J. P. Ball’s great contribution to history and photography is his coverage of the injustices of slavery and the lynchings that took place in the 1900. He used his photographic skills to expose the abhorrent institution of slavery by promoting antislavery activities. [ii] Deborah Willis, historian and photographer in her book Reflections in Black, A History of Black Photographers 1840 to Present reflects on how “visual representations of black people commonly produced on postcards and sheet music depicted exaggerated features and demeaning situations that have left enduring negative impact, one that has endured to this day.” Ball’s photography and the work of other black photographers contradicted this by showing more realistic depictions of both ordinary and famous people. “Most of their African-American clients wanted to celebrate their achievements and establish a counter image that conveyed a sense of self and self-worth.”[iii]

William Biggerstaff Lynching

One of his most moving documentation was the photography of the lynching of William Biggerstaff. In a series of photographs Biggerstaff who was accused of murder is first pictured in a suit with a flower pinned to his lapel and a handkerchief in his pocket. The timing was Montana in 1854 shortly before Biggerstaff; a former slave was to be hung for the crime of murdering a man. The next picture is one of Biggerstaff being hanged, again dressed in a suit. Finally, he is shown in a in a casket dressed in a suit. These pictures brought dignity and humanity to a black man. 

Margo Jefferson describes some other photography of lynchings thusly as pictures of perpetrators and spectators who treated lynchings as family affairs, civic celebrations, picnics (the preferred terms was “ Negro barbecue”) and some kind of sexual catharsis. A lot of the men have rugged dusty look of bit players in old westerns, and the strike movie attitudes for the camera or clasp the ankles of the dead man sternly”. Some wear white shirts, ties and straw boaters. (One young man with immaculately styled hair looks dressed to call on his sweetheart once the lynching’s done.) “[iv] Ball made an important contribution to history by showing how these people were human beings with families and dignity.

Noted Portraitures

At the same time he took pictures of a vast variety of people famous and unknown, slaves and freemen. His sitters included Frederick Douglass, Henry H. Garnet, Jenny Lind, and Ulysses S. Grant.[v] Even early in his career it was stated that “Ball was able to attract clients to his rented room: “The Virginians rushed in crowds to his room; all classes, white and black, bond and free sought to have their lineaments, stamped by the artist who painted with the Sun’s rays.””

Abolition Work

Ball is famous for his abolitionist work and his photo panorama: Ball’s Splendid Mammoth Pictorial Tour of the United States Comprising Views of the African Slave Trade; of Northern and Southern Cities; of Cotton and Sugar Plantations; of the Mississippi, Ohio and Susquehanna Rivers, Niagara Falls, & C. This work 2,400 square foot antislavery photo panorama and accompanying charted the slave experience through images of the life in Africa, the horrors of the middle passage, and daily routines in America. It included portraits, cityscapes, and significant events in the history of slavery. It was displayed at Ball’s studio and at an 1855 exhibit at Boston’s Armory Hall.[vi] This work was in conjunction with Robert S. Duncan and African American landscape artist.

Deborah Willis Research

Currently there is not a lot of information available about photographers such as James Presley Ball. The authority on his work and on black photography is Deborah Willis. Every effort to research seems to point back to her work. Just as James van der Zee was relatively unknown until about 1969 but now is prominently recognized as having made a tremendous contribution to photography, it is very likely that in the coming years that James Presley Ball and others like Augusta Washington and Daniel Freeman will likely receive their proper recognition as prominent photographers.

Ball’s Splendid Mammoth Pictorial Tour of the United States Comprising Views of the African Slave Trade; of Northern and Southern Cities; of Cotton and Sugar Plantations; of the Mississippi, Ohio and Susquehanna Rivers, Niagara Falls, & C.

[i] http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA02/amacker/photo/death/html

[ii] Willis, Deborah, Reflections in Black, A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, New York, 2000, page XVII

[iii]Ibid, page XVII

[iv] http://www.racematters.org/blacklifephotos.htm

[v] Willis, Deborah, ed. J.P. Ball, Daguerrean and Studio Photographer, New York, 1993

[vi] Ibid, page XVI

Maryland Portrait Photographer for Headshots, Family Portraits and more!

I’m Lonnie Dawkins, a Maryland Portrait Photographer ready to take family portraits for you and your family. I create beautiful wall presentations, large prints, digitals, and photo albums.

Images I have taken over the last twenty plus years have turned into priceless family portraits treasures.

While I cover Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC; I am available worldwide.

I would look forward to providing photography for you.


Family Portraits - family of 5 including parents and 3 adult children

family portraits - picture of family at lake

Family portraits - mother and 3 sons

Book your photography today!


Maryland Portrait Photographer


The decision to record history with family photography is a powerful and beautiful way to cherish the present and remember the past. A photograph is a timeless asset that grows in meaning and value as time passes by.  David Phillips

We invite everyone – families and individuals – to schedule a time to have beautiful pictures taken.  Don’t be like others who put it off for until some time in the future.  Unfortunately, that some time in the future never comes.  Your taking pictures gives your love ones something that they can treasure for a life time.

Whether they admit it or not everyone wants a picture with their mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, siblings and other family members.  Your providing those pictures are treasures never to be forgotten.

Don’t put it off.  Today, is a great day to schedule photography to be shared with your loved ones.

Remembering President Barack Obama’s 2009 Inauguration

Barack Obama’s inauguration viewed from the National Mall in Washinton, jam-packed with peaceful attendees.

Barack Obama inauguration on the Washington Mall

It was a freezing cold January day in 2009 when we stood in a massive orderly crowd as President Barack Hussein Obama was sworn into office.

Those were peaceful times and security was not as tight..

On Monday crowds strolled the streets of downtown Washington and the areas immediately in front of the White House to see the preparations.

On Tuesday, Inauguration Day, there was no personal space on the Metro, the Mall, or the nearby streets and no one seemed to mind because they wanted to see their new president. If you were there with someone you had to hold on to them or you would be separated.

What a day!

Maryland Portrait Photographer

Copyright © 2023 Lonnie Dawkins Photography – All Rights Reserved

Men of Color – Monochrome Images

Black and white images showing the beauty of black men.

No red, no blue, no green. Just black but lots of color.

Colorful black skin

Models: Jamar Reed, Donte Newman, Michael Rice, Eric Dow

Black male wearing hoodie

black bare chested handsome bald headed male model with beard

muscular nude ebony tattooed male model

black man with tattoos and dreads playing cards

black man with hat in chair wearing jeans and sports coat


Maryland Fine Art Portrait photographer focusing on large prints, portfolios and albums.

Maryland Portraits and Head Shots

Whether you are an actor, model, business executive, high school senior, or an everyday Joe who needs good pictures! We can provide those images!

  • Head Shots
  • Actor and model portfolios
  • High School Senior Pictures
  • Business card pictures
  • Save the date cards and magnets
  • Poster Board Pictures
  • and more
young black actor and model wearing suit and tie

African American female model

African American female beautiful hair and yellow high heels

high school senior pictures in Maryland

Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks

Top selling Maryland realtor Timothy Mull

African American model head shot at beach

Maryland top male model

Photo Shoots start at $275.

We shoot in studio or at locations throughout the Washington , DC area.


Are we there yet?

Family Trip Photography

Family Trip Photography - Man in little red wagon filled with stuffed animals

What’s a family trip without those in the back wondering if we’re there yet!

Here, the big guy gathers his little friends for a trip and before long they are asking that question. Looks like he has a full load. Hopefully, they will be there soon.

Model: Darius

Maryland Portrait Photographer


%d bloggers like this: