Bill

It is just barely pos­si­ble that, at the rare moment, Bend Light can be rather, uh, Heavy. This is because I am that way. There is a lighter side to me, how­ever. There is a side that wants to be known in a goofy way, a side that wants to feel less guarded. You get the idea. I really can be funny, although often, the humor comes with a paper cut so you have to like both. Some peo­ple actu­ally do. That has lit­tle to do with this:

There is a project on flickr that is bug­ging the shit out of me. It is called 100 Strangers. You imme­di­ately get it I am sure. Walk up to 100 peo­ple I don’t know and dis­cuss a pho­to­graph. The pho­to­graph is of the them and I am tak­ing it. If you have been here for even 3 posts you will see that por­traits are as rare as an Irish Elk (largest deer in the his­tory of the world, which is pretty good for Ire­land. Extinct for over 7000 years. You can go back to bed now. You have learned some­thing new today.). I have known for a long time that my cam­era needs to find faces. I need to. I need to con­nect with you right in the eyes. I have a decent abil­ity, or at least I will say that I enjoy my own abil­ity to see the unusual beauty of mun­dane scenes. What I have been less will­ing to do is look you in the eye and ask for per­mis­sion to cap­ture your soul on film. I am now going to do that. One at a time, painfully. You can just know that every one you see here will be a source of pain for me. I am reclu­sive. I only do the chicken dance at home for Rose. I only squeal like a lit­tle girl for the kiddo ( but it is way worth it, actu­ally on both counts).

I am dri­ving between Bend and Red­mond, because there are lots of weird things in those 14 miles, trust me. I sus­pect there are lots of weird and inter­est­ing peo­ple and I am look­ing to find them. I run across a yard with planes on metal posts. This was weeks ago. I got out and hid and took some pic­tures from across the fence, but I knew the story was in there and not just that some­one had con­structed 10 foot air­planes out of bent sheet metal in their front yard. So once I found out about 100 strangers I went back.

Bill has been mak­ing air­planes for his seven kids since they were, well, kids. The blue plane you see is the plane that Bush I was shot down in dur­ing WWII, the Big One. (I am a paci­fist, but I always thank vet­er­ans for their ser­vice. I also thank every teacher I ever meet. They get paid noth­ing to unlock our minds. ? ) I knocked on the door and asked for the per­son who made the planes. Bill intro­duced me to Wynona, his lovely bride of 50+ years. Bill was an MP in the army then a welder when he got out. Seven kids were raised in the house I stopped at, a house that looked exactly like a dou­ble wide in terms of square feet. While I was there they got 4 phone calls from kids who love them and just wanted to say so on a Sun­day. All the mod­els in the photo were hand made (with­out plans) by Bill. Wynona is in the photo behind Bill.

I asked Bill if I could make a pho­to­graph. He agreed. Wynona was can­ning toma­toes. I got an exten­sive tour, but the best part was the feel­ing welling up in this intro­vert when he touched a stranger. So there will be more.

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6 Responses to Bill

  1. Bobbi says:

    Ooh I love this! Please post a video of you doing the chicken dance for my entertainment.

  2. Stephen L. Parkhurst says:

    This is really cool…

  3. Barbara says:

    Bill (and his wife can­ning those toma­toes) reminds me of the folks I grew up with in Arkansas. Just good down to earth peo­ple. Noth­ing fancy to write home about, but would invite you into share a meal, even if they only had enough for them­selves.
    A whole new side of you emerg­ing with your writ­ing and photography.….…

  4. Stephanie says:

    This is truly wonderful.…looking for­ward to the next 99!

  5. Kathleen says:

    Okay, I finally signed up for the flickr group today, I promised I would. Now, I think I have to go out tomor­row and take my first stranger por­trait because it will just get worse the longer I wait.
    I am glad to hear you do the chicken dance! I’ve done that in pub­lic at every Pol­ish wed­ding I’ve been too and had fun doing it! I like to do pirou­ettes in the kitchen for Paul. For me, that is an indi­ca­tion of how much I feel loved by someone.

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