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 2-9-08
County Courthouse 7-6-08
County Village 3-13-08
Co Bank Building 2-7-08
in Pieces 12-19-07
Somewhere in America!
I’m Stephen Michaels. Christian, trucker, photographer.
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.
About My Photography
As 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.
But if 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."
At that point I press the shutter, and capture a photograph. No,
wait. I captured a story.
December 16, 2007