I placed some bills into an open guitar case and sat down on the pavement of Knoxville’s Gay Street to listen to a group of street musicians.
I enjoyed the conversation amongst fellow creatives as we shared a quart of luscious lemon gelato that I had purchased a few doors down. I asked the name of their group, they shrugged and quickly decided upon Poster Children of the New Apocalypse.
Teresa, on the fiddle, and Rocky, playing the washboard, were the most talkative in the group and most open to my presence and my camera. While we talked I occasionally took photos and paused to show them the images.
Soon Nomad, the guitar player, asked for a portrait. He was pleased to have a photo for his family to see and know that he is well, happy and playing his music.
I spoke at length with Rocky, who possesses a great deal of what I refer to as “uncommon” sense. She spoke of her faith that tomorrow will be safe; she will eat and will find a place not just to lay her head but to actually sleep. Two years ago she made a conscious decision to trade a traditional lifestyle for one of creativity and exploration.
“There are a lot of us,” stated Rocky, “that don’t think normal society is what is best for us. I have played with amazingly talented musicians and seen every corner of the country. This never would have happened if I stayed where I was.”
At home while editing the day’s images, I noted the reflections of onlookers. Many of them kept a distance, averted their gaze, or stood watching with closed-off body language. Somehow I had not noticed them in the moment. I can only hope that those casual observers recognized the creative joy and beauty that was in their presence.
About the Author: Julie Terrill
Julie Terrill is a photographer and writer with a passion for travel. For ten years, she’s told stories of empowerment through the lens of her camera in an array of unique landscapes, environments, and projects – from a shelter for children rescued from trafficking in Thailand to Faces of Courage, complimentary portrait sessions she offers to cancer patients in her community. She is a photographer and facilitator at Beautiful You and Soul Restoration retreats.
Connect with her at: JMTerrillImages.com