Name: Theron Humphrey, @thiswildidea
Bio: Meeting folks, loving folks, living the dream.
Theron Humphrey is traveling across the United States on a quest to meet 1 new person a day, every day, for 365 days. His goal is to create a huge portrait of America, visiting all 50 states, driving 40,000 miles, meeting and photographing folks daily for one year. Want to be part of the project? You can change Theron’s route by signing up at thiswildidea.com — you may even get to meet his amazing balancing coonhound Maddie!
One morning I woke up and realized how amazing it would be to hear my mom’s voice before she had me, or to hear my great-grandparents’ voices. To see them living their everyday. I’ve always admired folks who’ve traveled the country and photographed America. A lot have done it. And done it better than me. But something that was missing for me were folks’ names. I wanted to know that the photographers loved their subjects, that they shook people’s hands and told ‘em that they matter. So This Wild Idea is me getting out there and doing that: living my dream.
What I found out there is that everyone has a story, even if they don’t think so. Most folks want to be heard; they just want someone to listen. And after 200+ days of using my camera every single day, I found you can make a compelling photograph anywhere, even if it’s raining and you don’t want to get out of bed. Every story is worth telling! Life is beautiful when you become interested in grandmothers planting heirloom seeds in their backyards.
The photos of my coonhound Maddie evolved organically, like a lot of good things in life do. Maddie is a lighthearted pause to my daily life. I love meeting new folks and hearing their stories, but some days it feels draining. I always have to be on. But Maddie is easy to photograph — she’s always there! For close to 7 months, we’ve spent every day together. It’s become a way for me to breathe from my daily life, to do something funny, then snap some photos inspired by Wegman, Eggleston, and the Bechers -– folks I always loved.