On June 20, I went out to shoot with my first photography teacher, Warren Thompson.We went on Old Route 66 as much as we could from Algodones to Gallup. We left at 9:30 am and returned at 1:30 am. Long day. Jackson and Warren's wife, Patti, went with us. I have to say, they were both troopers. Gallup is a 6 hour round trip and we took 16 hours to make it thee and back. So that's 10 hours of shooting (and eating). That's a lot of photography for a 3 year old and a high school math teacher!
We went to Albuquerque on Saturday.We found this great sign for the Ponderosa Mobile Home Haven on Central. It was probably made in the 50's and it's one of those classic Route 66 neon signs, complete with an "Adults Only" on the side.
Warren got out to shoot and was gone for a long time. I parked Patty and the sleeping Jackson in the shade and got out to see what he was interested in.
There was some great white cinder block architecture all around the place,
an abandoned pool, and those weird trailer park trees...I think they are junipers but they grow straight up and just don't look normal.
So I got out the "real" camera (you know, with film) and started shooting. I guess you just never really know what's going to happen when you go out and shoot. What happened next is a classic example of being able to "lose yourself gloriously in the moment of being exactly where you are and being led", (thanks to Laurie Knight and Don Usner from the Upstream Documentary for this quote).
While I was shooting, a guy with a grocery bag asked me what we were taking pictures of. After my introduction of "I teach photography at CSF", I told him we admired the architecture, and the sign. He said he liked it too and that he liked living in a trailer. He told me that the park was in probate and that most of it was unoccupied, but that some people lived in the back of the park and the landlord that they paid rent to gave all the money to Albuquerque Public Schools. We chatted a bit more about how great it is to live in a trailer because you don't have too much stuff, and life is simpler. (I lived in a 26 foot travel when I first moved to NM, so I have a real affinity for trailers and their occupants!)
He went to his trailer and I shot a few more frames. Warren was ready to go and asked if I would drive through the occupied portion because we might see something good. I guess we had already been there over an hour. As we were driving through the park, we all spotted this great old Thunderbird under a carport. We drove around to it and Warren and Patty were telling me that when they first got married, they almost bought this same kind of car. We pulled up in front of the trailer that belonged to the carport and got out. The owner was the guy I had talked to!
The car was cool, but even cooler was the guy, his wife, and his grandson, Julian, who was playing in the hose. We spent about another hour and a half talking to them. His daughter and son-in-law came back from Wal-Mart with an inflatable pool for Julian. Great photos just unfolded in front of us.
Down the way was a great trailer all decked out for a 1 year-old's birthday party. We asked to photograph it and the people said "yes". Jackson even got a goody bag from the party.
I plan on taking prints back and asking to talk more to the guy and his wife. I'd like to do an interview and some still pics, maybe some video. His trailer is about the size of the one I lived in and I could only do it for a year. It seems like they have been there for a few years.
So, what did I learn? Getting out there is half the battle, and I need to get out there more.