Inspiration comes from the most random of elements, and it's typically a surprise when it happens. I have found that the harder I try to find it, the more elusive inspiration becomes. For me, it's best to just move around and see what I see and wait for it to hit me upside the head. In this case, an abandoned La-Z-Boy and a bumper sticker, both from completely unrelated sites, provided exactly what I needed to pull an idea together.
Robert and I get together at least once a month to talk about ideas and determine what might be interesting for a photo/design project. We toss ideas around and many of them are simply disregarded for lack of interest. Today's ideas were either lukewarm or had been in progress for several months. We didn't have anything new and interesting. We ate lunch and took a back road towards my house when we spotted the abandoned chair.
We pulled over and took a closer look. The material was a nice light blue velour that looked like it would show nicely against the nearby wheat field. Upon closer inspection the top of the backrest was covered in bird crap and there were numerous stains on the fabric. I wondered if he was game for photos.
"You willing to sit in that thing?", I asked.
"I can't get crabs from it, can I?", he replied.
"No way", I said, hoping I was right.
We decided to come back at dusk because not much good comes from shooting photos in the midday sun. I knew Thompson's Corner was nearby so we decided to kill some time there.
I've driven by the place at least 100 times but never went in. Apparently it's the oldest bar in Solano County and the architecture and decor certainly reflect this. It's a two story building with a high pitched roof. The main level is the bar and the upper level used to be a dance hall, although it's no longer used. The bartender said the San Francisco symphony played there once. The interior decor fits exactly what you would imagine a "local dive bar" to look like. The walls and floor are all wood and the ceiling is littered with bras and boxer shorts. Nearly every inch of space is covered with signs, graffiti, stickers, mirrors and whatever else you can imagine hanging in a bar of that age. One could spend 3 days reading the walls and not be finished. It's brilliantly tacky. I'll be back.
We bellied up and ordered a few beers and considered how we might make the shots in the chair. We had some decent ideas, but it wasn't until we saw a bumper sticker on the wall that the theme became crystal clear.
"Robert, read that one on the upper right hand side".
"I came here to drink and fuck, and I'm almost done drinking", he read aloud. We both giggled.
There it was: the dude in the chair would be a loud, belligerent redneck.
The cooler behind the bar had Pabst Blue Ribbon, a redneck delight. I indulged in a few and we knew we had the perfect prop.
When dusk rolled around we went back to the site and got the chair set up in the wheat and Nikki tagged along as our lovely lighting assistant. As it turned out, Robert had a fresh farmer's tan that fit the theme perfectly.
We shot for about a half hour and tried as many different poses as we could muster in a single chair.
On the ride home we had a debate about crabs. I knew a guy in high school who claims he got crabs from a girl simply sitting on his lap. I suspect it's urban myth, but for Robert's sake I'm hoping it can't be transmitted so easily because that chair has seen some things.
Oh well, at least we got the shot. That's all that matters, right?