Photographing children 8 years and younger



 The hubbs and I were traveling through Fowlerville, Michigan this past weekend and stopped at a McDonalds to grab some coffee.  While walking up to the door I immediately noticed this lone patron by the window.  I couldn't believe it, I actually had my big girl camera in the car, something I (shamefully) rarely have with me.  I quickly retrieved it.  (My poor husband)

Approaching someone you don't know is incredibly intimidating for me, especially characters like this.  I sat down across from him, politely introduced myself and with in 2 seconds I was at ease.  Nothing uncomfortable about this man.  He was jolly.  He right away was smiling and laughing, 'touched' in the head is how my Grandmother would've described him...all the better for me.  

Gary is his name, retired Air Force.  I asked if he rode motorcycles  (the vest was my first clue) and much to my surprise he said he used to, but hadn't been on one since he was 16.  I didn't prod into details for that one, didn't really have the chance to, he was filling every second of our conversation with words and laughs, I did my best to keep up.  I did ask if he were from Michigan, he said no, born and raised in Ohio.

I hadn't been seated for more than 10 seconds when he leaned back in his seat and opened his vest.  He was obviously proud of his chest art and wanted to share it with me.  I'm still not clear on it's meaning but I'm sure it's important to him, so I took the shot.  

He mentioned to me 3 different times randomly in our short conversation that he was a 'Baptist Buddhist'. "I'm a Baptist Buddhist" he'd say, followed by a pattern of choppy laughter, usually in sets of 3's. 

 Pretty sure that's a conflict of interest but I'll leave that one up to God.

After he left, I asked the McDonald's employee if he was a regular (if any of you frequent your local McDonalds you well know there's always a group of elderly regulars on any given day) and she said he was, a regular to the town as a matter of fact.  She said he walks everywhere he goes and they see him just about every day.  

My hometown of Spencer, WV had 'regulars' that walked around the small town, I wish I had the interest when I lived there to photograph a few of them.  

If you're every in Fowlerville MI look for Gary, I feel confident he'll be wearing the same vest.

Erica Johnson5 Comments