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About Raymond

Howard County

Raymond's journey as an artist began as both a musician and photographer at the famous Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, Maryland. His earliest work in Black and White 35 mm photography collided with his love for instrumental music when he did a series of portrait photos of fellow band members during his senior year in 1973. This experience helped Raymond realize his knack for capturing captivating moods and expressions in his work and was further inspired by the fact that the pictures in... more

Beauty in the Shadow of the Baltimore Riots

On Monday, April 27, 2015, while driving past Mondawmin Mall in Baltimore, traffic froze up as I watched riot-clad police officers disembark from a bus on the Mall parking lot. The parking lot began to fill up with students, mostly from the famous Frederick Douglass High School, my alma mater. I found out later that one of the reasons that students were gathering on the lot was because they were not allowed to get on the subway, as they typically did, every school day. It is no coincidence that the violence that began on the parking lot and the mall, coincided on the same day of the funeral of Mr. Freddie Gray, a Black American that died while in police custody.
I sat there for about 20 minutes, very nervous in my car, while waiting for police to allow traffic to flow again, watching heavily armed police face off angry students that seemed MUCH more interested in getting home than starting any trouble. Watching the news coverage showing the escalation of the situation, my heart was broken by the poor coverage and misrepresentation of how this whole tragic situation began.
As things settled in Baltimore, I began looking for those things I love about Baltimore and rediscovered Druid Hill Park with my camera, a beautiful and serene place of my childhood that is within walking distance of all the violence that happened on that day for the entire world to see.
This project is my effort to show the world how much Beauty Lies in the Shadow of the Baltimore Riot!

A Photo Tribute to Keeping the Arts in Public Schools - Frederick Douglass High - 1973 Raymond Lucas

I took this Black & White photo series of my fellow, High School musicians in 1973 at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore. (Clearly, the BEST Band in Town.) This was where I experienced that special moment of Dynamic Convergence bringing music and photography together in my life, not realizing the powerful impact this marriage would have on me. From 7:00 am to as late as 7:00 pm, we (today we would be known as Band Geeks,) were in school. There was no question as to where we could be found. If not in class, we were either in the band room with Concert Band playing Peter Mennin's Canzona, or on the field playing Isaac Hayes' Shaft, preparing for a parade or game, or playing a Reppard Stone or Wit Williams original song or arrangement for our Jazz Band.
The collateral skills that students gain from being taught The Arts in public schools are vast. Skills that I developed through my Band experience included, but were not limited to:
Listening
Leadership
Discipline
Organization
Mathematics
Teamwork

Academics are certainly important, but I am sure that the brilliant leadership of our public schools can figure out a way to leverage The Arts to help students pass their No Child Left Behind Tests. I am certain that I would not be as successful as I am today without these experiences that enhanced my skills and shaped my values through my exposure to The Arts in public school. Thanks to Ruby Gill, Mr. Sturtevant, Dr. Delaine and Dr. Stone! And also, a special thanks to my photography teacher, Mr. Wallace Baden who helped me develop an eye for composition and see what others could not see!

KEEP MUSIC AND OTHER FINE ARTS PROGRAMS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS!

Jazz is Freedom, Freedom is Jazz

I have always been totally fascinated by Jazz. I continue to marvel at those incredible musicians that have mastered the skill of improvisation. And the Jazz musicians captured in this project are VERY skilled at their craft. They enter another world by exploiting the right â??Keysâ? when they take their solos. And, if you, as the observer, are really listening, you will make the unpredictable trip to that other world with them enveloped in their blanket of FREEDOM with limited rules.
My connection to Jazz is very deep and very personal. I saw jazz as a child as a more subdued smoky, blue light and learned very early that Jazz was something very special, yet truly, a confusing enigma. Jazz records were always in a special pile, and it was simply understood that there would be hell to pay if the surface of one of these treasured records got damaged or scratched.
Jazz really stirred something in my parents that allowed them to freely reveal their pain as African American adults in the 50â??s and 60â??s. Jazz was part of their ritual that transitioned them to brief periods of relaxation. My mother or father (usually my mother) would carefully remove the jazz records from the album covers and sleeves and gently stack them on the shiny metal rod in the center of the turntable. And by the time that the first record hit the turntable platter and reached the full speed of 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, my parents, either individually, or together, were sitting on the couch, heads back, with a lit cigarette holstered in their monogrammed ashtrays waiting for the soothing sound of Coleman Hawkinsâ??s breath latent tenor sax, or the unpredictable harmonic brass blowout of a Count Basie opening.
Jazz listening was sometimes accompanied with alcohol â?? usually Cutty Sark scotch or a beer, but always with a full supply of Kent filtered cigarettes. This seemed appropriate since many of the musicians on the album covers looked as if they were doing the same. I especially remember a Coleman Hawkins album and noted how much more relaxed he looked than Nat King Cole or other more mainstream musicians on their albums. The blue tint effect of the black and white picture along with Colemanâ??s casual and somewhat disheveled look just said â??Cool.â?
Another favorite was their â??Big Beat on the Organâ? album by Jimmy Smith. I must have been about 6 or 7 at the time and my brother had to explain the metaphor from the picture of a huge red beet lying on the keyboard of an organ. Now that was REALLY cool.
Jazz was one of the bright joys in my parentâ??s lives that helped them decompress from the dull, dim darkness of oppression and racism that they faced everyday while they struggled to carve out a good life for their family. Jazz served as a protest or a position of non-conformity that my parents could flick back on the â??white manâ? and say, â??I donâ??t care what you do to me, cause Iâ??ve Got JAZZ and you will NEVER be this COOL!â? So, it should be no surprise that I have been walking into the light of jazz some part of my entire life through listening, performing and capturing the images of Jazz. To me, â??Everything Jazzâ? clearly represents those joyful moments of freedom that I watched my parents cherish so much to help them deal with the â??dark sideâ? of being â??Black in America.â? Jazz is
My photographs convey only a mere portion of what I felt when the image was captured. What is missing is the music produced by the subject, in that space, in that moment in time, never to be heard again the same way. I want to make people feel the music through that one instant from the musicianâ??s expression and body language. I want people to experience the joy and freedom that these musicians feel through their expression of music, and, really feel some part of those â??Stolen Momentsâ? of freedom felt by my parents during a very difficult and complex time in America.
Jazz is Freedom, Freedom is Jazz!

  • Blute

    I was feeling the Blue while listening to Salim Washington play his solo and reflecting on the Blue atmosphere my parents created while chillin' on their Jazz. This picture was photographed at the Bohemian Caverns and I was amazed to find out that my parents attended jazz shows at this same club in DC in the 1940s..
  • Photographic Improvisation

    This Jazz Dance performance featured my daughter several years ago. While my family depended on me to capture this image for posterity, my flash batteries did not cooperate. So I worked dilligently with this poor photo to morph it into something that my daughter and the family would be proud of. My daughter is the dancer floating in the center. The fact that they all still speak to me is a great indicator that I was successful. Thank you Photoshop!
  • Jazz Freedom, Freedom Jazz

    This photograph of my cousin, Melanie Dyer, was taken in June 2007 at the Bohemian Caverns in Washington DC. Being respectful of the mood and atmosphere of a Jazz Club, I did not use a flash yet I was able to catch Melanie in motion during her solo. I thought it unusual at first to experience "Jazz Viola." But I realized that risk and diversity have the potential to create awesome Jazz. More about the story behind this photo is included in the writing that was also submitted with this project. Thanks Melanie!!
  • Galactic Serenade

    I just went crazy on this one and love it!

Nature Therapy

I developed this series after feeling totally overwhelmed by emails, text messages and phone calls - those days that you drink life from a Fire Hose! I realized that it had been a long time since I felt the serenity of a beautiful day. You know, those days when you get to walk down a path and feel the heat of the sun on your scalp, and a breeze draws your attention to the beauty of nature that surrounds you. I have yet to be able to reproduce film or digital images that truly capture the colors that I experience in nature. When you are outside in the sunlight, it is almost as if each color produces a different sound, and these sounds envelope you with a feeling that no picture can ever replicate. These pictures that I took in various settings, from Baltimore's Inner Harbor, to Centennial Park in Columbia, to the Royal Gardens in Tokyo Japan, are the closest I have ever come replicating my connection with Nature through photography. This is truly my "Nature Therapy." I encourage you to try it!

Baltimore - Much More than The Wire

Throughout my lengthy career in Corporate America, I have had the privilege to work directly with colleagues and customers around the globe. These worldly experiences were overwhelmingly positive, helping me to learn and grow as a Global Citizen engaging and collaborating with so many people from so many different corners of the world. Conference calls and Webcasts became a primary medium of daily communication for me, especially my last six years at IBM from 2002 through 2008.
Callers usually spent time getting to know each other as we waited for all attendees to join the calls for the meetings. And, it was during this time that I learned how a television show could create an all-encompassing NARROW perception of an entire city.
Baltimore is a Multi-Dimensional City that, like most, represents a range from the exceptionally BAD to the phenomenally GOOD! Yet, the international reach of the popular HBO show called “The Wire,” (2002 – 2008) had my, otherwise, very intelligent International Friends crippled to only see Baltimore as a den of evil and decadence, through a narrow lens with about the thickness of a 22 gauge piece of real wire.
Baltimore – So Much More than “The Wire,” will make up a practically never-ending series of my work to capture the parts of Baltimore as I see it, and as I live it. So, ENJOY! There is so much more to come as I wander the town I love!

  • druidhillpark_towers.jpg

    These tribute towers caught my eye one day while driving by the entrance to Druid Hill Park. And, where I noticed a variety of pictures on the round plates that seemed to reach across time, I still don't have a clue as to what these are. But with the backdrop of an awesome afternoon sky, I thought they would make an incredible shot! Baltimore is Much More than the Wire!
  • Sometimes You Just Have to Go Fly A Kite!

    Druid Hill Park was one of my favorite places as a child and continues to be today. The park was built in 1860 and 100 years later, I was learning how to ride my first bicycle on the red brick road on the other side of this arboretum (now the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory. While passing by one day, I stopped to take in a positive view of the world. And I photographed this lady flying a kite all by her self. I think me and this stranger share an incredible attachment to this park...Baltimore is Much More than the Wire!
  • The Morris Mechanic's Demise

    This is a beautiful structure destined for demolition and redevelopment. But for me, it has incredible memories of Soul concerts and other shows. But the most special memory was when my High School Concert Band stood on the Mechanic's balcony overlooking the courtyard and accompanied the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Sergiu Comissiona back in 1972. Many free concerts have been performed in this Hopkins Plaza courtyard. Baltimore is Much More than the Wire!
  • Baltimore's Power Plant - Recycled

    This Neo-Classic structure has served Baltimore since 1900 where it powered a railroad. It later produced steam for power company. But, today, this majestic building hosts a retail Mecca that now makes this incredible building resemble a race car overwhelmed with ads! I think this is one of Baltimore's most intriguing structures. Baltimore is Much More than the Wire!
  • National Aquarium Sunset

    This was one of those shots where I was just in the right place at the right time. Do not visit Baltimore for the first time without planning a tour of this incredible facility that wows adults and inspires wonder in our children. Baltimore is Much More than the Wire!
  • Inner Harbor Sunset 1

    It is not often that you combine a random day and time, with an unbelievably beautiful sky. But this picture is the result from an evening walk in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Baltimore is Much More than the Wire!

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Raymond's Curated Collection

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