Have You Ever Tried To Guess Someone's Story?
For quite a while, I have been a fan of the social media extraordinaire @humansofny. In short, Brandon Stanton interviews various people and takes their portrait. As he stated, he originally started wanting to photograph 10,000 people in New York City to capture the city's inhabitants. From there he because to interview his subjects and it became, to me, one of the most fascinating things. It didn't fascinate me, he has been able to grow Humans Of New York into a global...movement of sorts. At the time of this post, he is currently in Canada interviewing and photographing. He has taken his art form to over 20 countries including Iran, Pakistan, Uganda, Jordan, Iraq, Mexico, Kenya and more. They're just everyday people you normally pass on the street and he magically captures their life story. As he says it "provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City" (Obviously now the world).
It's an idea I romanticize about fairly often. Environmental portraits were always my favorite style of portraits while photographing. It shows so much more than just the person. It can show you who they are and/or what they're about. There are many reasons why I haven't followed in this man's footsteps. 1) Would I just be considered a copycat? 2) I'm a bit awkward as it is, how would I even ask, 'hey, can I take your picture?' 3) In today world, as a female, I tend to be more at susceptible to dangerous situations.
Now there are a few more social media groups out there that have peaked my interest and inspire me with their movements: Yes Theory and The Try Guys. Where Yes Theory is out to, as the name suggests, say "yes" to things you normally wouldn't say yes to. To leave your comfort zone and seek discomfort." By saying "yes" to something that make make you scared or uncomfortable can lead to the most amazing experiences. And The Try Guys, more often then not, go out to try all sorts of different experiences.
It wasn't really until today that I realized, I'm not just romanticizing about this anymore. I am doing it. While I don't imagine we'll get to their levels of millions of followers (please like, comment, follow and share 😇), but Rymmii Adventures is just that! Like Layla from Hidden Springs Maple or Jim Hamilton from our VT campground. By talking to these people, I either get a snippet of their life, what the town we're in means to them. Or what their travels look like, what they have already seen and what they intend to. Its these people that are making this journey so much richer. And I've learned its not an awkward, "Hey, can I take your picture? Tell me about yourself." It's so much more organic and genuine than that.
In today's exploration, I met a man named Randall. I was drawn across the street to two adorable boxers chilling on the sidewalk outside of what looked like a farmer's market store named "There's Always Thyme." While part of me said, "keep walking" another part said to stay. Randall is a man who prefers the company of animals and plants. Wearing a white undershirt damp with sweat and a talon-filled necklace. His arms were decorated with tattoos of bird feathers and basic designs. He lives as off the grid as he can in a little town in Ohio grumping about the people who drive over the speed limit by his place or trucks asserting their dominance on the road. Originally, Randall is from the Somerset, New Jersey area growing up just outside of New York City. His later years took him to outside of Cleveland before landing him in Portage County Ohio. He was the owner and chef of a very upscale restaurant in the area. Serving $80pp plates. He knew how to decorate and cook to make the experience of dining with him worth it. The elite understood him, the locals not so much. After searching on Yelp a little bit, it seemed like he made the dining experience like no other. One reviewer went as far as to say it was "the best meal I every had!" He gave his restaurant such a unique atmosphere and vibe. The naysayers ended up getting to him and he closed up shop and taking an early retirement. I'm pretty sure what was his restaurant is now his house. Where he has built two waterfalls off the side patio that over look Eagle Creek and an outdoor garden that is just as eccentric and he is. It's a really cool looking garden though. The two dogs also patrol his section of the block. Mainly to make sure people don't walk by without letting them sniff and get pet. Besides his garden and waterfalls, his most prized possession is one of his 3 Harley Davidson's. I'm not the smartest when it comes to motorcycles outside of the Make and year. But this one was a '69 Harley. Completely customized by this man. The saddle is one you usually see on a real horse, not iron horse. It was covered with snake skin, porcupine quills, feathers, bullet shells, a clown horn, dream catcher and more. It gives the term "wild ride" a whole new meaning. Keep doing your thing, Randall.