the title question was asked, the most frequent response would be: “He just left.”
Stephen is a big-rig trucker.
He also happens to be a trucker with a camera. He also has a big camera – and
like gunfighters of yore, what sets him apart from his peers is that he knows
how to use it.
“If it’s Tuesday, this must be Mingo Junction”
The “postcards” we receive from Mr.
Michaels are from locations and time zones that usually have nothing to do
with the nagging time / space constraints that most of us deal with. Missoula
on Monday, Battle Creek on Wednesday, Hot Springs on Thursday and Paris, Texas
on Friday. We recently had coffee with Stephen
in Flatonia, Texas on Tuesday and when we next heard from him on Thursday, he
was not only in Savannah, Georgia, but was leaving Savannah, having already
dropped his freight and taken another load.
To paraphase an old Chinese
proverb, it could be said that Stephen has driven over more bridges than most
of us have driven over roads. When he does have time to stop and photograph a
town, he applies the "fine-tooth comb method" of exploration, leaving
no brick unturned, no alley unexplored and no sign unread.
In an effort
to keep up with Mr. Michael’s photographic playground (AKA the USA), we’re presenting
a mere sampler of Stephen’s
photographs here, with a link to his website: www.bigrigtravels.com
where there are many more photos.
When the opportunity arises, in-depth coverage
of selected towns will appear on TE pages. Take a road trip via www.bigrigtravels.com
and don't give a thought to the price of gas. You can relax, knowing that
if something needed to be photographed, it was. - Editor
State Park 2-9-08Grandview
County Courthouse 7-6-08Hill
County Village 3-13-08Hillsboro
Cement Plant 11-2-08Putnam
Co Bank Building 2-7-08
in Pieces 12-19-07
STEPHEN MICHAELS' BIO
Howdy from Somewhere in America!
I’m Stephen Michaels. Christian, trucker,
I’m currently a cross-country, big-rig trucker carrying
almost everything most of you go to the grocery store to get. I drive all night
to get your ice cream to you, or I might meet a ship on the East coast to pick
up apples to haul across the top of our beautiful country to deliver to Washington
State so California stores can sell you fruit strips. Imagine that.
Photography has always been a major interest that has carried through the years
from first hands on with my parents "Brownie" camera. Whatever I’ve
done, my camera has been my sidekick. My present traveling job allows me to see
more breathtaking shots than I get to take. But take them I do wherever & whenever.
Many shots I get straight through the windshield. Hauling through the many miles
of orchards in California, up and down the Utah Mountains, through the heat of
the Mohave Desert, or plowing through the ice and snow of Vermont or Nebraska......
Sometimes I pull over to drink in the beauty of the moon shining into the forest,
and afterwards sleep in my home on wheels. The long, dusty miles of the West "where
the Buffalo roam" remind me of the lines to “America the Beautiful.”
Who knows what great photo I’ll see tomorrow……hope I can capture a few nice
ones to share with all of you.
I make the turn on a two lane rural road, I come upon some abandoned buildings.
I see them all the time, everywhere I go. But this time, I see a place where I
can safely pull my 72-foot truck over and park. Right away, I start to get a sense
of the town. The people who lived here and the buildings they left.
These old buildings were born as someone's dream of starting a new business. Then,
most likely, they were passed down to the next generation. Some new paint, maybe
some additions to it.
But what happened between the time it first proudly
held a "Grand Opening" sign to now, when it's just an empty shell with missing
bricks? In most cases, all traces of what it once was is gone.
you walk slowly, open your mind and ears, you hear a story or even find a telltale
hint of history. Maybe you see a vision of a child smiling because her dad handed
her a little pet - right where you are standing now.
Only that now empty building knows.
Like every town has a history, every
building has its own story.
I just take a walk, and suddenly I hear
something. Something is whispering for me listen to "their" story. I put my camera
up to my eye, focus, and say to myself "Go ahead. I'm listening."
that point I press the shutter, and capture a photograph. No,
wait. I captured a story.
December 16, 2007
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