An Outing & a Meeting
Yes, I’ve said it many times before. This has been a busy year. Family life, a relocation, constant work on the new house and home studio, meeting and greeting the new neighbours, a wedding assignment, scheduling portraiture, doing some landscape photography for my portfolio, attempts to get back into illustration while photography continues to rule the world, a couple photography competitions, some research completed for future sci-fi, fantasy and aviation art projects, plenty of community research for Hammer Home, fitting street photography in whenever I can, self-promotion and seeking other ways to promote the art of MOF. Even blogging has become a greater challenge to keep up with than ever before. By the way, thank you to everyone for all of your awesome likes comments and e-mails. I appreciate them tremendously.
Well, it finally came time for me to try to get away for a little while. Kim planned a day-trip to St. Jacobs, ON. We’ve been there before a number of times over years but never with a focused interest in the Mennonite community of the area. To heighten the adventure, I let a fellow blogger know that we were going to be in his neck of the woods in case there would be an opportunity for our paths to cross for the first time. If you know the name Neil de Boer, then you’ve probably been to his blog Village Photography (if not, do take a look).
True, I’m very much a loner; a controversial thing to say about myself I know, but I am affable and I do enjoy meeting new people, especially other artists.
There are indeed plenty of horror stories of people; adults and certainly juveniles, crossing great physical distances to meet strangers that they’ve only had some contact with on the Internet. On the other hand, there have also been some achievements in such extending of the olive branch. Neil gave us a meeting location, and we kept the rest tentative. Picking up the nieces around 8am, we drove the 80km (50mi) from Hamilton to St. Jacobs. Of course, I had a camera with me.
My wife loves to shop, so the peripheral St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market and Flea Market was our first stop. We then took a horse drawn bus ride to an area of close-knit “Old Order” Mennonite farms. A very restricted amount of photography was allowed. Our guide was a modern Mennonite named Nelson. Through him, I finally had a number of questions answered about Mennonite culture and their varied sects. You can find out a lot of things from the World Wide Web, and still from books but there’s also considerable benefit in getting facts from the horses mouth when you can.
There is one question that I forgot to ask; however. I know that the modern Mennonites do drive cars and travel abroad but many of even the modernists are known to object to having their pictures taken. What happens when there’s a requirement for their picture to be taken for a passport or drivers license? I imagine that would have to be one of the few exemptions but I’d still like to know for sure.
Right after the tour, we got something to eat and I phoned Neil to see if he was available. He was, so we headed off to the rendezvous point in downtown St. Jacobs.
Upon first sight, I gave him my standard greeting. I aimed a lens in his direction and shot him.
Good contact, we spent a couple hours discussing photography and the arts in general. It was a great way to close the day’s excursion, and do a little networking.
It was a pleasure to finally meet you, Neil. We’ll do this again.