Charles McNamara


Charles McNamara has worked as a newspaper and magazine editor, photographer, freelance writer and motion picture lighting technician.

Loves black and white photography especially faces. Loves playing drums, jazz and military band music. Excels at storytelling, interviewing and inventing characters. Oh yes, finding surprising historical detail on the Internet satisfied his natural curiosity.

I started taking drum lessons in seventh grade. We were taught “rudiments” which are like scales for other instruments. Learning these rolls and triplets prepared me for band and orchestral music but not for jazz and not for improvisation. I didn’t realize I needed a different perspective, one with rhythm and passion. A friend, who was a jazz musician, gave me The Drums of Passion by Olatunji. He thought it would give me that new perspective. I have never lost this rhythm. Listen and you’ll understand (

Public pageantry such as parades, coronations and Catholic processions stir my heart.

He has learned that writing and photography require passion and experience. The first is inbred; the second is only gained over time. It takes a lot of practice to get it right and hours of rehearsal to make it blend together. And now you know my inner drummer.

Smashwords Interview

You are fond of the Q&A style. Why do you like it?
It lets the reader in on the conversation rather than just presenting the answers. There is no paraphrasing. It allows the reader to get a sense of the qualities of the character rather than just a set of facts.

When I was publishing a newspaper in the early 1980s, I followed “Interview” magazine and tried to format a number of interviews that way. When I started Tributary (my on line interview magazine), I discovered “The Paris Review” and their Q&A author interviews
Your photos have a documentary style. Were there photographers whose work influenced you?
Two stand out right away -- Dorothea Lange and James Nachtwey. Lange was an American documentary photographer best known for her photographs of life during the Great Depression. She greatly influenced the development of documentary photography.

Nachtwey was a daring photojournalist whose first overseas assignment was to illustrate “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. He has documented a variety of armed conflicts and social issues in South Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

And then there is my favorite, Chansonnetta Stanley Emmons. She quietly documented rural life in Maine in the late 1800s. Her brothers invented the steam-powered Stanley Steamer auto and several photo inventions. The photo inventions allowed her to create a large body of wonderful portraits. One of her brothers, F.O. Stanley, built the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Charles McNamara online


Ineke's Mitten
Price: Free! Words: 59,160. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure
Two Norwegian sweethearts live in a loving community surrounded by traditions and friends until German occupation troops disrupt their lives at the start of World War Two. Forced to hide in America, the man faces a lonely ordeal to overcome grief and depression. At the point of despair, he is rescued by unlikely characters who unknowingly give him new life.
Shining Light. Revealing Conversations with Dedicated People.
Price: Free! Words: 33,180. Language: English. Published: August 27, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
Shining Light is a collection of 22 revealing conversations, including black and white portraits, with people who share amazing stories about their lives. As Muriel Rukeyser once said, "The universe is made of stories, not atoms."

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