What does happen when you go back home, is the past meets you at the most unexpected times. Like the call out of the blue in ’07 from an old boyfriend who had decided to look me up on the Internet. The timing was rather amazing as was the fact that it was so easy for him to find me. Having no idea where I lived, he went to a site that gives you information for a price of $29.99. He found me in 5 minutes.
My next trip to Arkansas I visited him in his home in Northeast Arkansas. Living one street over from his aging mother, he had committed to being there for her and bought a house in the same neighborhood.
Over the years I have come to know him as the person he has grown into being. Not the same crazy street dude but a gifted musician and artist, who loved and cared for his mother until she passed away this past October.
At the same time as meeting back up with this gentleman after not seeing him for over 30 years, another former boyfriend from the 80’s and I made contact–this time by me calling him. We met up at a gas station on the corner of 265 & Joyce Blvd. Not knowing what to expect of each other we were pleasantly surprised to see that we still had a good friendship.
His life had shifted from UofA student and fun loving partier to homeowner and father of two children he adores. His life revolves around his place in the country, his kids and helping his neighbors. He has grown into a kind and gentle man who is a wonderful source of which direction I should drive.
Some time in there I visited an old friend who owned a leather shop on Dickson Street that I stopped in periodically when I lived here in the 80’s. He was always around the group I hung with, listening to music at the same venues, drinking beer at the same happy hours. His ability to produce leather sandals, belts and a customized patented guitar strap was astounding to watch. I spent many hours with him, shooting the process of producing a pair of sandals. He recently passed away in a fire at his leather shop.
As each new encounter with these old friends occurred, I began to capture images of them. Over a period of about four years a collection of photos entitled “Three Bachelors or Men with Beards” began to build up. Today I began the process of bringing the 219 final images into a folder for editing into a cohesive story. I am hoping a nice story comes from this editing; one that shows not just their lives but mine as well. What is surprising about each of these men are the similarities in their lives, that goes beyond the fact that they are bachelors and each had beards.