I’m finally launching a new photography series and considering how long I’ve been planning it—you’d think I’d have the title figured out.
Sit on It!
1000 Smiles (or maybe a more reasonable goal: 100 Smiles)
A Journey of a Chair
I purchased a chair for a Spring photo shoot at the arboretum with my friends in 2013. At the time, it was a crazy purchase. Technically, I’m not a professional photographer—and the photo shoot was with my friends. But I stood by my decision to fork over 200 bucks for the furniture. It was, after all, the perfect chair. I knew I’d get mileage out of it one way or another.
Then I had an idea to carry the chair in my car—everywhere I go. The idea was to have random people sitting on the chair in unusual settings. But who would be the first to sit on the chair? The first person must be special. There has to be a story.
Months passed. I didn’t want to rush the project – the timing had to be just right.
Fast forward to the first Saturday in August, 2014. I went to Lake Grapevine to support my friends who were taking a three hour kayak lesson. I wasn’t going to stay all day—I’d just take a few photos, maybe rent a kayak and leave after an hour.
Instead, I stayed at the lake for the full 3 hours talking to Dave. He told interesting stories about his Uncle Joe’s childhood – how he dropped out of school, joined a band, fought in World War II (and escaped peril multiple times) and he was even a photographer during the war.
He’s still alive today— living in Alabama. He is a great example of a person who embraces life.
Then Dave listened as I shared my best story. I will not soon forget his reaction. I had only met Dave on two other occasions—yet he reacted the way a close family member would when I told the story. He also took a completely different approach no one else has taken when I told the story. He offered hope and a solution. The solution may or may not be what we expect but it’s worth a try. I went home telling all my friends about the very nice man, named Dave….
I returned to Lake Grapevine the next day with my friends and… my chair. I figured I’d have to sell the idea to Dave—convince him it’s a good idea to sit on my chair and let me take a photo—but I didn’t have to work too hard to persuade him.
My friend carried the chair out to the lake and placed it under our canopy.
A woman commented, “there’s a dining room chair at the lake!”
For a more scenic shot, I moved the chair so Lake Grapevine would be the backdrop.
I waited as Dave helped customers into their canoe rental, then I signaled for Dave to have a seat.
He walked over and sat down.
I was pretty surprised he trusted me to let me do this!
For variety I had him stand beside the chair. This led to other ideas…
I hadn’t planned on this for the series – but I decided it would be great to get in a shot. (Plus, I’ve wanted a photo with him and me.)
Helene, another kayaker watching the spectacle, had a great suggestion: add a paddle to do our own version of American Gothic.
What a great way to spend a weekend.
Thank you, Dave and Steve for your hospitality, for teaching my friends how to kayak – and for the great memories this weekend!
Visit Discover Kayak to learn how you can experience the adventure of kayaking.