Tuesday, January 25, 2005

On Assignment: Fulton County, New York-Day One

"Barney's Place" by Wes Aldridge

Tonight I shot the most interesting assignment I have ever had. In the "Gateway to the Adirondacks," an artist by the name of Barney Bellinger lives with his wife Susan and their 14-year old daughter, Erin. He is a beautiful painter, amazing natural woods craftsman and a genuine person.

My appointment began at 7 p.m. and I didn't leave his home studio until 10:30 p.m. (normally my photo appointments last between 30-45 minutes). Barney showed me photographs of some amazing places he travels to to fish for trout, and conduct his artist business. We talked for quite some time, but I never got bored with it. I listened to him talk about how he started from less than nothing and worked through adversity of all sorts. And now, he seems to live life to its fullest. Did I mention he hand picks and carves pieces of wood into beautifully intricate works of functional art furniture. He showed me photographs of one tall elaborate cabinet that he said sold for $100,000.

Barney showed me several projects he was working on, each one elaborately detailed. As we walked around his wood shop, I stared in awe. The materials he gathered were simply amazing.

Barney looked around for a few minutes as I gawked about. He turned to me with a beautiful piece of wood in his hand. He told me it was from Yellowstone National Forest. He said he bought it from some Native Americans, because they were the only ones allowed to take the wood from the forest. He wrote his name on it with the date. I was honored to accept his gift.

The photograph was a mural on a wall in his home. I thought it was great, so I took a quick shot. Freezing Day One, complete.