April 23, 2013

Lane - Over The Road Truck Driver

In an earlier post, I made some portraits of Lane the first time we met at the TA Truck Stop north of Madison. We connected through a gay trucker Facebook group he started for drivers to have a place to support and advise each other on trucking related topics. He is quite strict on only allowing licensed truck drivers in this group, but he made an exception for me because of my photography project. When we met in January to discuss the project, he agreed to participate when our schedules would allow.&

On a blustery and snowing March day, I met Lane again at the TA to hitch a ride. I loaded up my camera gear and luggage onto the top bunk of his cab, and we headed south toward Memphis on I-90/I-39. It just so happened that we were traveling through his hometown in central Illinois, so we shut down for the night and stayed with his mother and step-father.

He doesn't get home often, so we made the rounds visiting family and showing me around town. There was a lot reminiscing and catching up. His mother made some delicious Midwest comfort food. The last home cooked meal (and comfortable bed) for the next 5 days.

We started off early the next morning to Memphis. It was a clear but bitter cold morning. After delivering just across the border in Mississippi, we picked another trailer and headed to spring weather in Houston. From Houston we head back north to Searcy, AR and then Ottawa, KS and then shut down for the final night on the far east side of the Kansas City, Mo. It was here that we parted. Lane headed west to Colorado, and I hopped on the Amtrak to make my way home via Chicago.

Lane was a good sport, and I think he kind of relished having "a one man paparazzi" following him around. I know it's not easy having another person in the truck when being so used to the solitary life and appreciate his support of my project.

Lane is the 3rd trucker who I've ridden with and photographed over the past couple of years. Truckers are an often overlooked subculture of our society, but they play such a crucial role in making sure the stores have product on their shelves.

April 22, 2013

Mother Earth for Earth Day

Vi is a retired school teacher who loves to dress up in costumes and crash events around town.  I first photographed Vi last month at Madison's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade where she was the self-appointed Ms.Ireland.  I caught up with her at the annual Isthmus Green Day celebration where she was Mother Earth.   She told me that after she retired she didn't want to just sit at home, so she's been dressing up and hitting the town ever since.  

Her outfits are quite elaborate and she has amazing accessories.  Her hat was springing with flowers and feathers and even a bird. Still an educator in retirement, she'll ask you what type of bird is in that hat.  I was a little thrown off by the bluish color on the wings and guessed wrong.   It's a Robin of course.  

If you ever see Vi out at an event (you can't miss her) be sure to stop and say hi.  She loves to have her picture taken and quite enjoys chatting with folks.   I think it's a great way to spend one's retirement.