Snapshot of a Peaceful Revolution

Wyatt Kenneth Coleman's work on display at MOAH

When spending time with photographer Wyatt Kenneth Coleman's work, it's not uncommon to be filled with a sudden and unmistakable warmth that isn't unlike the feeling you might get from hugging an old friend.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the man behind the lens is just as warm and friendly as his pictures -- a trait he maintains has helped him get the best of his subjects, his camera and himself through his 50 years as a freelance photojournalist and artist.

Coleman's work is currently being feature in the Lancaster Museum of Art & History's newest exhibit, It Takes a Village. His section of the exhibit, which is entitles Beyond the Village, is located on the second floor, in the south gallery, and includes dozens of pieces that document the plight of Civil Rights activists and the people who aim to create positive, peaceful change in the world through kindness, loving and understanding.

"I don't treat (my subjects) any differently than I would treat someone in my family," the Lancaster resident said during a recent phone interview. "You become part of them and they accept you. You become one with them and then they don't even notice the camera.

"The camera is just an extension of my personality," he added with one of his infectious laughs.

As a teenager, Coleman was inspired to start taking photos after his brother, Eugene McMiller, a Brooks Institute alum who graduated with honors, began working in the field.

"He had a studio and I was fascinated by some of the assignments and work he was doing," Coleman said of his late brother's passion that became his own. "I didn't know anything about photography, but it looked exciting to me! I decided that I was going to do that same thing, in other words: to follow in his footsteps."