On July 4 I gave myself a simple assignment: photograph 50 random strangers. The idea was to document what an ordinary American looks like. But then it got really hot — and I got really lazy — so I didn’t shoot a single frame.
Independence Day has long since passed, but the idea has continued to nag me. And although I’ve seen several potential subjects, the timing or setting has never been quite right.
I was walking to my car after my twice-yearly haircut when I heard a fiddler playing some Bluegrass
. Curious, I followed the sound toward a warehouse across the street, but soon realized that the music was coming from a parked truck. Through the back window I could see a lone figure in the passenger side.
I approached the truck cautiously, like a cop making a traffic stop. But I soon relaxed: The fellow inside was affable and articulate. Originally from North Dakota, he came to Minnesota to look for work — “odd jobs, mostly” — and to play a few gigs. Some days he lives out of his truck; others he stays with friends.
It took me a couple of minutes to notice that his left pinky was bandaged. “Got bit by a radial saw,” he said. “Can’t wait til it heals so I can play properly with all my fingers again.” I was stunned to realize he’d been fiddling so brilliantly with a one-digit deficit.
After a few minutes of chatting, he graciously sat for a couple of shots. We traded emails and promised to stay in touch.
Meet Micah, my first frame. Talk about a perfect stranger …
I wonder who frame #2 will be?