Photography By Paul Purpura | A Small Desk, But Many Stories

A Small Desk, But Many Stories

March 24, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Sometime's I just want to go back to a different place and time.Earl Hamner's (John Boy Walton) Desk

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph this desk. One of the things I love about my craft is having the opportunity to photograph objects that are historical. Be an avid lover of history I relish these opportunities. Last June I had the opportunity to photograph the Normandy Beaches, and I will post those in a blog in June.

But let me talk about this photograph. This desk belonged to Earl Hamner, many of you may remember him as John Boy Walton from the 1970's television series "The Waltons". I could go on and talk about the time when he grew up, but that has been done my so many people that I do not feel I could say anything that has not already been said. So I am going to take a different approach and write about what this photograph means to me as a photographer.

We all look at photographs and videos about people, places and historical objects. You may say, oh what a wonderful photograph, or something along those lines. You may even be impressed by it. But there is an entirely different feeling you get when you photograph it. When I took this photograph I was standing in a historical place. I was standing where a young man wrote about growing up in Appalachia during The Great Depression. Hearing his words brought to life in each episode of The Walton's, I felt a kindred spirit since Virginia is my home. I live about 40 minutes from from his former home Schuyler (pronounced (SKY-ler) in Nelson County, Virginia. Earl wrote about the rural area where he lived, and although things have changed somewhat with the times, there is only one traffic light in the entire county. No kidding. 

So when I had the opportunity to photograph the interior of his home for Blue Ridge Life Magazine, I jumped at the opportunity. When I looked at Earl's desk, I thought about the hundreds of hours he sat here writing about his life as he was growing up. Did he feel the same confusion and uncertainty that I felt when I was a teenager? Did he wonder about what was going to happen in his life as he got older. I am sure there were many things in his journal that were never published. I felt, how lucky I was to be standing here and to be able to photograph his desk. So I photographed it from the perspective of him sitting there looking out his window. Of course I was not allowed to sit in his chair, so I had to make the best of the opportunity within certain constraints. 

So now my dear reader you know a little more about me, about how I approach my photography, and how I relate to this world, which is one of the reasons I post a blog. I hope you enjoyed my story.

Until next time, always watch and never look down because there is so much to be seen.

Paul P.

 


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