When I took these photos, I hadn’t known Evan very long…maybe a year or so. Our friendship centered on getting together with a group of other gamers every two weeks. It didn’t take long to realize that he had a (nearly) extensive knowledge of comic books, modern weapons, movies and television shows.
His knife collection is rather dear to his heart and I figured to make that be the central focus of the portrait. Because Evan is a laid-back sort of fellow, it seemed best to shoot this in his home…i was thinking about having him sit at a dining room table. After warning me, multiple times, on how small his apartment was, I still went forward with shooting in his home.
Having never been to his apartment before, I didn’t know quite what to expect. He was correct and it fairly small, which did not give me much room to work with. Secondly, they had no table, but that is ok, since plans are just to get one going in the right direction.
The shoot went great, and Becca made some wonderful tacos afterward.
Suffering from twin maladies, insomnia and (at the time) joblessness provides ample time for Evan to watch more movies and television in one year than the average bear. Combine that with a good memory regarding what he sees and reads and you get an flow of movie quotes and anime references to cover any situation.
You the viewer, seeing Evan surrounded by a superfluous amount of cutlery, may be swayed to making some wrong judgements. It is not that unusual for people growing up in rural areas to collect knives and guns. Owning such collections do not automatically indicate one’s membership in a militia or even belonging to some separatist group. Firearms, on a more abstract level, represents self-sufficiency (hunting, protection, etc) as well as a touchstone with the past. This may be hard for some city-dwelling folk to understand and you will just have to take my word on it.*
For Evan his collection of knives isn’t about to cutting or stabbing people, but rather it is an attempt to connect to family history. He has a deceased grandfather who fought in a war and rarely talked about his experiences. And while the grandfather may have had good reasons for not wanting to share his war experience (or anybody else for that matter), that silence does leave the younger generation wondering about what happened during that important time in their loved one’s life. Maybe, somehow, by understanding the military and war, one can come closer to
that person they love.
Also, you see Evan sitting back in his chair. He is very relaxed, and comfortable with the situation. Because Evan is an easy-going guy, having the portrait of him in an easy chair was better than my original idea of him sitting at the table, since such a picture would have made him look menacing…or at least more so.
* (Just a note: I don’t own any firearms. I don’t plan to buy any firearms. I don’t have any firearms in my home. I don’t feel threatened by firearms, nor by law-abiding people who own them.)