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Dec 01, 2018
If you are in Amarillo and would like your FREE, "I am" portrait, Click HERE for details
Who are you?
It started one day in a coffee shop on Rt 66 in Amarillo. The 806 Coffee Shop sits on a section of Historic Route 66 that is frequented by tourists. On any given day, you will see an interesting cross-section of America there. As I sat drinking my coffee, I watched a lawyer, a biker, a soccer mom and several artists seated at different tables talking. A homeless man came in, followed an elderly couple traveling Rt. 66. I marveled at the diversity of the folks in one little shop and began to consider how could I convey that. On a larger scale, how could I convey the diversity of the city I live in? So, I started shooting portraits of the people who came to the coffee shop.
...a photograph of a stranger is still a stranger without something to help you make a connection.
I learned a valuable lesson. No matter how interesting a portrait is, a photograph of a stranger is still a stranger without something to help you make a connection. One day, I was talking to a lawyer who was retiring. He was traveling Rt. 66 as a gift to himself. The conversation snaked through his career as he was largely waxing over his retirement. At one point he shared with me that his greatest regret in life was leaving his high school sweetheart in her hour of need. They had gone to high school and college together and were planning to be married. Her mother had been diagnosed with cancer the summer before he was to leave for law school. She was terminal. Her daughter was not leaving for school with her mother dying and didn't want him to, either. He chose law school and while he was away she married. 30 years later, having never married, his greatest regret was letting her down.
The very next day, a homeless guy was counting pennies for a cup of coffee. I bought him coffee and chili and we sat and talked. At one time he was a high-end accountant, but he was married to his job, something his wife hated. She gave him a choice: less time at work and more time with the family or no family. He chose his job. His life began falling apart without her. He realized, too late, that she was more important than his job. His life tumbled and as we sat there he expressed his regret for letting her down.
The lawyer and homeless guy were on opposite sides of the world economically but they shared the same regret.
That's when the idea hit me - a project on regrets. The other questions kind of came to mind organically as the project progressed. I did an art show with 64 portraits. I thought that was the end of it.
In less than a year I had 700 portraits and a book offer. The book offer fell through, but made me realize there is something about this project worth pursuing. In the end, as I ask people these questions, I am simply trying to answer them for myself: Local Photographer helps the community define identity.
Some answer flippantly, some seriously, some off the cuff. Would you like an "I am" shoot? I have done this at concerts, birthday parties, social events, art shows, business meetings and graduation parties. It is a great way to engage people and hear their thoughts about meaningful things. Contact me if you would like to take part somehow.
If you are in Amarillo and would like your FREE, "I am" portrait, Click HERE for details My next art exhibit and "I am" shoot will be at Amarillo's hottest new venue: 6 Car Pub. We will be showing the 18 most popular images I took in 2018, printed on 12" x 12" acrylic! These are perfect for Christmas! Come share in the "I am" adventure, enjoy some great music, food and drink, and get your portrait taken. While you're there, you can check a few names off your Holiday gift list! See you there!
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