Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thomas West VA Volunteer Fire Department

Thomas West VA Volunteer Fire Department
Whenever we go to the family compound in Western Maryland,


we take to the roads after hiking the property until our legs are sore, and then explore the surrounding area in Maryland and West VA., driving deep into the West VA Mountains. Not far up the road from the compound is Thomas, WV, where we have met a lot of talented artists, interesting travelers, and my favorite person, J.R. We never fail to look J.R. up when in the area, and on this trip he took us to the firehouse where he has been a volunteer firefighter for 40 years. But before we left for our tour he showed us photos of Santa with children and nursing home residents. I knew he was an amazing person when I saw him sitting in a webbed lawn chair in front of his house watching the traffic go by (yes, I break for interesting people), but who would have known he was Santa? 



We chatted a while, as we always do...

And then moved to his house for more chatting...


Then on to the firehouse...
















In this day and age we are taught to be wary of strangers, but there are no strangers to true photojournalists. I have known many photographers who I consider to be good at what they do but they just can't take that first step out of the car or approach someone on the street unless they have a specific assignment handed to them by a photo editor, so they end up spending their lives shooting the standard blah-blah news and features, or worse, succumbing to weddings or studio portraits  (don't write me. I love weddings, but shooting them is, well, for wedding photographers), or sneaking photos of people in candid "street photography."  Street photography has its place, but even when I take candid shots, time permitting, I like to talk to my subjects. How much shy photographers miss. 

As I have said before, strangers have enriched my life more than  friends because they broaden my world. It's people like J.R. along with the many thousands of people I have photographed during my career, on the spur of the moment, that keeps me slamming on my car breaks. Someone once said that a photographers most important piece of equipment was their car breaks. So true. So true.


J.R. wants to remind everyone that on Saturday, June 23, 2012, the fire department will participate in the 4th of July parade in Thomas. After the parade, firefighters will show off their skills. I will be there. I can't wait to see them slide across the river on an overhead rope. Whoo hoo!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you left Crisfield permanently?

Patty said...

Anon: Still in Crisfield, but doing a lot of traveling. Will most likely be moving from this area within the year, or sooner. If you know anyone who wants a nice little vaca-house within walking distance of the water, send them my way.

Amanda White said...

I am so happy I found this!! J.R. Is my grandfather. He just past away this past December. He was truly an amazing man. Known and loved by many. I love seeing and hearing peoples memories of him. There will never be another like him! :).