This is not really Airstream-related at all, but it’s an event I was just reminded of while reading this awesome story by Joel Runyon and I thought I’d share it.
Here’s some setup/background: I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico taking a photography workshop with Max Vadukul (photographer) and Jodi Peckman (Creative Director at Rolling Stone) called something like “The Collaborative Portrait” about photographers working with art directors. Before this workshop, I’d actually never heard of Max Vadukul (but I’d certainly seen his images.)
My art degree is in painting and before that I’d dabbled in photography on my own (built my own darkroom in the garage, learned things by trial and error, etc.) but it never really clicked with me until after art school when I started photographing people.
When I decided to get serious about photography, I thought I could use a little education and this was the second (amazing) workshop I took in Santa Fe (the first was with Platon).
Originally I’d started out making abstract photos…in the style of my paintings, really. Studies in texture and color and compsition. I took lots of aerials from our airplane, macro photos of peeling paint, and just general line and shape studies. They were kinda cool, but people were way more interesting to me all of a sudden.
Anyway, the workshop ended and I hopped in my rental car and drove the hour or so to the airport in Albuquerque to catch my plane back to Portland. I turned in the rental car and boarded the shuttle bus that would take me to my gate. I was the only one on the bus and for a few minutes it was just me and the shuttle bus driver: a middle-aged regular-looking, kinda frumpy balding guy with khakis and scuffed shoes and a light blue short-sleeved shirt driving an airport shuttle bus.
Shuttle bus driver: Welcome aboard. You here on business or pleasure?
Me: A little of both. I just finished a workshop in Santa Fe.
Shuttle bus driver: Oh yeah? You’re a photographer then. What was the workshop?
The city of Santa Fe automatically equals photography?
Me: It was called “The Collaborative Portrait” with Max Vadukul and Jodi Peckman.
Shuttle bus driver: Max Vadukul…yeah I saw some of his work in Interview Magazine recently. And Rolling Stone…cool! So what kind of photography do you do?
How did this guy know (a) who Max Vadukul was and (b) that he shot for Interview Magazine?
Me: Well, I started as a painter, and only recently have started photographing people…portraiture, bands, stuff like that.
Shuttle bus driver: Are you finding that your painting background informs your photography?
Me (surprised, since I’d been thinking about this exact subject recently): Yes, actually, it really does.
Shuttle bus driver: Do you take any other kinds of photographs?
Me: I do some abstracts, and aerials.
Shuttle bus driver: Nice. Do you fly? Do you have your own plane?
Me: Yes, my husband and I are both pilots and we have a small plane.
Shuttle bus driver: What kind of plane is it?
Me: It’s a Cirrus. SR-22 Turbo.
Shuttle bus driver: Oh, nice. Do you have the Garmin or the Avidyne stack in that?
Here’s where it really crossed the line for me. It’s like this guy was in my head. Holy hell. How did he know all those separate things that were connected in my life? How did he know which questions to ask? It was super cool and super weird and I loved him.
Me: Um…..we have….the….Avidyne stack….
WTF??? How did he know there were two options for the avionics in this plane? The plane no one who asks “What kind of plane do you guys have?” has ever heard of.
More people boarded the bus and he dropped us all at the airport and I wished him goodbye and a nice day and thanked him for the ride. And everything.