It has often been said that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Last November, my wife and I moved into a new home. We had been thinking about moving for a few years and opportunity finally knocked. We moved right before Thanksgiving. I knew the move would consume my schedule for several weeks. With Christmas approaching and lots of other year-end madness, I didn’t anticipate shooting much until after the start of the new year. At the time, it never occurred to me that I would be taking a six month hiatus from photography.
As my wife and I settled into our new home, I immediately started noticing things – lots of things – that needed attention. Leaking faucets, broken sprinklers, questionable electrical and endless tree roots consumed me. Weeks turned into months. The seasons changed. Along the way, I kept wondering if my photo gear had even made the move. The bane of my existence in this new house was a built-in gas grill located in our back yard. It was built like a cold war bomb shelter. Made of solid brick and cement, it was constructed without the slightest regard for aesthetics, code or common sense. It was ugly! It was also dangerous. I discovered the gas line running to the grill was installed incorrectly and was leaking. The grill had to go.
It took me two days with a jack-hammer to bring the ugly grill to its end. In the process, I developed tendonitis, bronchitis and countless cuts and bruises. Once the grill was leveled, I decided to replace the gas line and install a new grill. I made the mistake of hiring a non-plumber to help me with the project. Twice, a newly installed gas line had to be un-earthed in order to correct leaks. Three weeks and lots of cash later I decided to throw in the towel and hire a professional plumber. Enter, James!
When James arrived to install the new gas line, I knew I wanted to photograph him. He had such an interesting look. After talking to James for a while, I discovered that he, like me, is a former U.S. Army soldier. Unlike me, James is super mellow and relaxed. In fact, just talking to him actually mellowed me out! It occurred to me that plumbers and therapists charge about the same per hour, so I actually received two services in one by hiring James for my plumbing needs.
After James finished installing the gas line, I asked about photographing him. I’m not sure what his initial thoughts were, but I asked him to think about it and let me know if he was interested. About a week later we scheduled a shoot date. Having a shoot scheduled forced me to stop working on my home and re-focus on photography. Amen. I located all my gear, inventoried and cleaned everything. I ran through check-lists and considered the logistics of the shoot. I was finally ready to shoot again! Working with James was a lot of fun. I got to spend a few hours with a really cool person, made a new friend and captured some images that otherwise wouldn’t have come into existence. It was time very well spent!
In retrospect, if things around my new home had been perfect, I never would have met James. More than likely, I would (right at this moment) be working on some home repair while my camera continued to collect dust. I can’t say I’m happy about all the trouble I had with the grill and gas line, but I must admit it forced a positive change. Lemonade (and life) is good!