Jerry Wolford, 52, and Scott Muthersbaugh, 34, Picture Makers
When you are flipping through the portraits of Made in Greensboro, you are witnessing the results of a unique partnership, born of spontaneity, a passion for aesthetics and photographic craftsmanship.
For the last 99 weeks, photographers Jerry Wolford and Scott Muthersbaugh, partners at Perfecta Visuals, have crafted the images that tell the story of Greensboro’s makers, entrepreneurs, artists and business leaders.
Jerry and Scott are “made in Greensboro,” too.
Jerry studied photojournalism at Randolph Technical College and spent nearly three decades working for newspapers. He was a staffer at the News & Record of Greensboro for 28 years. Scott, who studied communications at Elon University, was inspired by Jerry’s work to pursue journalism after graduation. He worked at the Times-News of Burlington. Both are award-winning photojournalists, earning statewide and national distinctions for their work.
They forged a friendship after meeting on assignment at a high school wrestling tournament. They plotted a long-term plan to go into business together.
“Jerry saw me as someone who would carry his stuff for the next 25 years,” Scott jokes.
In 2015, they made good on the plan, creating Perfecta Visuals, a full-service photography company that shoots portraiture, editorial, and advertising work.
A few months after they started working together, they became a part of the Made in Greensboro team, helping to craft the look and feel of the stylized portraits that are the heart and soul of the project. The pair credits Made in Greensboro with helping them develop their working style, and a honing what has become a signature visual aesthetic for Perfecta.
At any given Made in Greensboro shoot, Jerry’s behind the camera. Scott’s manning an iPad that is continuously fed Jerry’s latest images. Scott takes on a kind of art director’s role, thinking through the shots beforehand.
As the images develop, Scott’s moving lights and keeping the subject relaxed. Sometimes, Jerry is so in the zone, thinking through the mechanics of a photo, he can’t articulate exactly what he wants. Scott has become the master of interpreting Jerry’s needs, and refining the image with the right light, the right look, the right prop.
They chat back and forth in their own language of partial sentences and hand gestures, often knowing what the other is thinking before he says it. Like spouses.
Jerry may be the man holding the camera, but make no mistake. This is a two-man job.
“I tell him at least once a month that when I look at our work, I am always struck by the fact that I couldn’t have done that work myself,” Jerry says.
Their work style still owes much to their roots in the grind of daily journalism work – where there is little time to plan ahead. At most every shoot, they spend 10 or 15 minutes wandering around their location, waiting to be inspired.
They thrive at creating beauty in almost any location, painting portraits spontaneously. That’s their style: creative spontaneous. They’ve taken it to other assignments as well, including a running feature in Our State magazine called “We Live Here” and work with corporate and government clients.
“We have days when we come away from it and say we shouldn’t have gotten what we got out of it today,” Scott says.
“There is something intangible about what we create together,” Jerry says.
“We say the two of us make one really good photographer,” Scott says.