Always Be Ready
When opportunities present themselves like rolling up on a Red Ace gas station in the back hills of the Alabama / Georgia border only to find an immaculate 1962 Chevy Impala with driver to match… you stop and make an effort to capture it well.
This is Mr. Gene Hickson. He bought this beautiful classic off the sales room floor back in ‘62. But let’s back up a moment…
Samuel Johnson and I had just finished shooting an elopement at a near by waterfall. It was stunning but took quite a bit out of the both of us as we had to dive into the canyon with gear in tow to capture this brilliantly personal moment of two people dedicating their lives to one another.
“Wait, Matt… you shoot weddings?!”
Nope. But this was a unique combo that I couldn’t say no too.
(back to the story)
On the drive out of Georgia back to BAMA, we’re both dehydrated and in need of some aqua. Passing all of the mainstream gas stations, I didn’t think I would be able to stop and get a drink but low and behold… we come over a small hill to find the Red Ace. Not only did we spot a fun looking gas station, we see this BALLER classic car that demanded us to stop.
We roll up, park, I grab my Leica, and hop out of the car like it’s Christmas morning. Samuel heads into the station, I approach Mr. Hickson and compliment his car in my most sincere tone. Gene says thank you and gets to pumping gas. Not letting it go I ask if I can take some photos of his beautiful car. Gene responds with, “sure, go for it”. After a few frames I ask Gene if I can take a photo of him standing next to his Impala. Gene responds with “Well heck, sure, what do I care”. It’s the best version of that answer and I still can’t believe how everything is playing out. Gene not only gets in front of his beautiful machine, he poses like he’s done this a million times. At this point I’m feeling the weight of his presence as if I’m now a part of this car and Gene’s story dating back to 1962. Gene looks slightly off camera… ‘click’. Gene didn’t ask what to do or sheepishly state “where do you want me? Do I look at you?”, he just stood there with a regal demeanor about him and waited for me to do my job. It was brilliant.
Leica M7 | Zeiss ZM 35mm f2.8 | Kodak Portra 400 | Georgia