Last August, I did a feature story on Kelsey Green that included an interview and photographs that ran for five consecutive Fridays in the Asheville Citizen-Times. The series was also published on my blog and all five parts can be found in the overview section of my blog, August 2014: http://robamberg.com/overview/ One of the images was of Kelsey and Tommy's Wedding and is published here. This past Sunday the community had a baby shower for Kelsey, Tommy and their new baby, which is due in late August.
Kelsey and Tommy were married in Hot Springs, NC, on August 9, 2014, with close to 300 people in attendance. The following is the continuation of the Living Portrait Series from the Asheville Citizen-Times and the link to the series on the paper's website.
I feel like I’m living in a beautiful example of community right now and it feels really fulfilling. If you need anything, you’ve got people to help you. For example, planning this wedding, it’s terrifying. But then, whenever I’ve thought about it, I realize I know so many people that are gonna help. You said you would do photographs for me. And Jay, a good friend, will end up cooking our pig. Having people that can help make this happen. Ricky is going to marry us. Olivia is making my dress and Tommy and Ricky’s vests; she’s a seamstress. If I run out of flowers I can call Suzi. I got people. It’s like a family. A community is a beautiful thing, but this community is more like a family. It’s very deep and we all love each other and are willing to help each other out. I’m doing trade with Matt Hess right now. I’m working for him so he can come help me out on my place. That’s the sense of community that I think about – people that are willing to help. Moving into Sodom Laurel, we didn’t know anybody, but you start making connections and then you know everybody. That’s a beautiful community. Everybody is – “If you need anything, this is my phone number, this is where I live, don’t hesitate to call or come take a shower or use our washer and dryer. Everybody is that way around here. The majority of people are willing to help the next person.
The Asheville Citizen-Times continues its Living Portrait Series look at my friend, Kelsey Green. Here is the link to the Citizen-Times website: This week I've included the whole piece on my blog instead of simply linking to the Asheville Citizen-Times, but that link is:
I have a strong drive. And I think my mom was a big influence in this. When you say you’re going to do something, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to pursue it. It’s something I might be good at, but it’s also something I’ve been working on for a long time, doing the things that I say I’m going to do from start to finish. See things through. It’s something I struggle with as well. If I have a dream or a vision and I feel in my heart that’s where I’m supposed to be, that’s my destiny, then that’s what I’m going for and that’s why I am where I am.
The first time Tommy and I connected we were sitting on a rock behind his house and I thought he was so cool because he lived in the nasty Redmon house that had no electricity or running water and he was pooping in a bucket. He was considered a “dirty boy.” I thought it was really cool and I thought that’s the direction I want to go. You don’t need running water. You don’t need a flushing toilet. We sat down on a rock one day and told each other what our dreams were and what we aspired to do with our lives and they were very similar. We wanted to be able to grow our own food and be self-sustainable. Live off grid and do whatever it takes and work for it. Work for the things that you need to survive like your food and your water.
We’re both working really hard to make this dream we aspire to become real – it does cost money. The process of buying this raw land, it would almost be easier if the s___ hit the fan and we didn’t have to go to work every day and we joke about that. Sometimes we wish it would hit the fan and we could do barter and trade and work for other people and money wasn’t involved. We could actually make this thing happen more quickly, this vision. But as of right now, it is costing money so we work hard to earn what we need to not only feed ourselves and pay bills, but also to continue to put money into our place to make it so we don’t have to do that. Set ourselves up.
I think in the back of my head I had this vision and it wasn’t as clear as it is now. And going on the road trip and the lessons that I’ve learned have made that vision more clear. And now it’s a picture that I’m trying to paint and I’m in the process of painting that. It’s a twenty-year plan. It’s going to take me twenty years to paint this picture, but in twenty years I’ll get to sit on my porch and look at what I’ve created.
Thank you to the Asheville Citizen-Times and Erin Brethauer for including my work in The Living Portrait Series. This Part Two of my five part look at Kelsey Green. Please click the link below to see the whole piece as it appears on the Citizen-Times website.
The Asheville Citizen-Times and staff photographer, Erin Brethauer, have included my work in their weekly Living Portrait Series, published every Friday in the Arts and Entertainment Section of the newspaper. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to join other local photographers in presenting glimpses into the lives of some of our region's residents. I've chosen to portray the same person throughout the month - a family friend and young back-to-the-lander, Kelsey Green.