joel, the blacksmith
October 28, 2014 - single portrait
i accidently came to columbia when i was travelling the gold country via the famous hwy49. it rang a bell, somebody must have told me something about the town and i took the exit. i decided to visit the state historic park first, which is a restored gold rush town, half original half made from movie set buildings. not that i am a big fan of such tourist places, but i like the people in the stores. they mostly have time to talk and have a good sense of humour working on a fake place.
parrot’s blacksmith sells art made from horseshoes. you won’t believe what a gifted hand can make from horseshoes apart from paperweight. the gifted hand belonged to joel. i saw him sitting on the windowboard of his shag while he was having a little break. no customers where around, so i took my chance and came closer, trying to establish some eye-contact. i don’t withold that it is easier when you are a curly headed woman with the ability of showing a bambi smile. “where’ you from?” he asked me, which is the all-time favorite of questions to start a talk with a tourist . when he learnt i was german he told me about his german ancestors from wiesbaden named ‘eckhardt’ and that he saves money to visit europe in the near future. he just started college and wants to specialize in biology. he enjoys doing things with his hands, being an art-blacksmith and he has been doing this for years, but doesn’t want to spend whole life time. when i asked him for a picture he instantly agreed with only a little excitement. he started posing, holding his hammer and a horseshoe, pretending to work as he did hundred times before. “you are a frequent poser” i joked, and he replied “yes, i am doing this every day. my picture is all over the world”. but i didn’t want to have a picture like this. i wanted to see the young man, who dreams to be a marine biologist and to travel the world. i wanted the sparkle in his eyes and the friendly smile he gave me as an individual person, not only a customer.