Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Faces of Culpeper .... more by Rich Crowley

I think I was spoiled in my first attempt to photograph the faces of Culpeper. It seems like everyone was willing to have his/her picture taken. This time I ran into some serious rejection. I think part of the problem is that I was trying to shoot some stalwart citizens who are over 45 years old. As soon as I used the word "blog" it was all over. Have you ever tried to explain what a "blog" is? It's about as difficult as describing the taste of salt. One guy's eyes glazed over(all but one of the rejectors were men). Another man requested that I provide something close to a national security clearance before I could take pictures of his balloons....geez! I just went over to the Dollar Store. It is not out of the question that a third was contemplating going for his gun. It's just a blog for crying out loud! If anyone has a tidy definition....please let me know.

The other thing I learned is that it does not matter what the weather is or what else is going on in Culpeper, there are always men out there doing things or just hanging out. The parking lot of Lowes is a treasure trove of men. Twenty degrees below....no problem, men are still coming and going and hanging out. Gale force winds with heavy rain.....the male traffic at Lowes actually picks up. Men are everywhere you look and let's not get into who is outside the ABC store!! But women? I caught a glimpse of one or two through car windows and that was about it. I asked my wife where the women could possibly be. She gave me the most obvious answer of all and that was that they were shopping. So I went inside to look for the women's faces of Culpeper. Next week I am hitting the popular shops downtown. Whoopee!

On a serious note there is almost an endless number of older men here whose faces show the wear of hard lives. I am sure that it is a combination of working outdoors, experiencing a tough life plus some self inflicted behaviors that can wear out a face. Without any problem I could find twenty of them for the next blog. They make interesting pictures, but are only one part of an interesting group of people.

Til next time!
Mr. Peterson and his store, Peterson Jewelry are fixtures in Culpeper.

You can find Lisa running the Tropical Smoothy Cafe.

These three friends all grew up in Culpeper together. I asked them how they felt about all of the people who have moved in recently. They said they preferred the way it was before, but if you look at these faces, I am pretty sure they made an exception for me.

Billie was at Lowes. While I was taking his picture the women clerks gathered around him and made a fuss like he was a rock star.

This couple was outside of IHop.

How could I not shoot this guy who was making customers and coworkers laugh?

You never know who you are going to run into in the parking lot of Safeway in Culpeper...the Statue of Liberty! Imagine!

These guys were fun .... all stylish and posturing tough. When I asked to take their picture they got the guy on the left out of the backseat of their car. He was babysitting his little baby and had made the others get out of the car to smoke.

A new friend at the photoshop/lab/studio/store.

This guy was cool .... really!

This lovely young lady will get you balloons

at the Dollar Store.

A pretty face at Martin's Grocery Store.   Her name is Molly.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Faces of Culpeper .... People of the "Pepper" by Rich Crowley

My wife and I chose to retire in Culpeper, VA. It is a small town that is nestled near the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia about 75 miles south and west from Washington DC. Originally natives of Idaho, we moved to Northern Virginia in 1970 where I worked in the Fairfax County Public School system in administration until October of 2009. For 30+ years I had a wedding and portrait photography business as my second occupation. Now I am through with all commercial photography and have picked up my camera again to shoot only things that are of interest to me.
The people of Culpeper are diverse and unique. This town is rich in both Revolutionary and Civil War history. Culpeper experienced a growth boom in the first part of the last decade, which like in many other areas in the country, turned to bust. Now things are slowly starting to come back. The boom introduced to the area a variety of people, of which I am one, from diverse locations and backgrounds. Like Boise, Idaho which is my home town, Culpeper is a town where people are friendly and smile and speak to you on the street. The old timers here all know each other. It is pretty fun! We are enjoying the culture and the people. It is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. We have found that the folks here are good people, pretty conservative and have rock solid values.

On my first photographic trip out for this blog I had some interesting experiences. I met one of my son's senior law partners whom I had never met before. We made the connection after the photo. And.....I just had to take a shot of the young man and his friend by his spotless pickup in the Farm Home Center parking lot. It was February 11th and everyone's car was covered with snow and road debris, but his vehicle could have just come off the showroom floor. You know a young man has two first loves in his life and only one is a woman. You can tell which one owns the truck from the look on his face. Then I ran into an old friend from Fairfax City and his sons; found interesting people at the Post Office, the bank and other work places; and finally a cute young mom in a baseball hat at Martins with three children who were impossibly well behaved. It was a great start.
This blog is a work in progress. The pictures are of people who live in the town I affectionately call, "The Pepper." I hope that some day these photos will number in the hundreds. If a guy with a Boise State Broncos hat asks to take your picture....just say yes....it's me!

Charlie , an important attorney in "the Pepper." He is a partner in Davies Barrell Will Lewellyn and Edwards PLC.

This man fixed my car and took the time to do it right. He owns A-1 Automotive.

It seems that everyone knows this happy face

CJ and his boys. He is an old friend and owns the ice

cream stand near the library.

This lady helped me get a snow shovel at Farm Home Center when they were hard to find.

These folks do great framing work! Their business is Village Frameworks & Gallery.

My new friend at 7-11

Sweet woman at the Post Office.