As It Lies

I’m not a golfer, so it felt a bit odd to start taking photos of lost golf balls. However, I recently started being drawn to photographing lost golf balls on the course near my house and following that instinct lead to a surprisingly philosophical set of images.

I focus on documenting life as it happens naturally, so when my kids asked me to take them to the creek to find golf balls, I grabbed my camera and followed along. I planned to photograph the kids in their search, but I soon felt pulled to shoot the lost balls as well.

After seeing the resulting images and reflecting on them, some deeper themes emerged…

Whether in sports, business, relationships or creative endeavors, we all know the feeling of taking a big shot and shanking it into the woods. It’s so off-course that it’s not even worth the effort pursue it. 

I like the idea of taking someone’s missed shot and making something beautiful out of it. I like to think that means the things we try and fail at can lead to something good like another’s inspiration and success.

The title of this series, As It Lies, comes from the golf rule that you must play your ball from wherever it lands. This is also an apt description for my approach to these images: I shoot each ball as found. I don’t touch or move the ball, or change the scenery in any way for the photo.

I feel there’s a larger collaboration happening to create these images. It starts with a golfer taking an errant shot. Then nature receives it. The ball is held in place, or moved by wind and water over a period of hours, days, months or even years. Only after all that do I find it and document its existence.

If you enjoy these images, you can follow me on Instagram to see the latest balls I find. Many of these images are available as prints, click here to see the images available in our shop. And if one of these speaks to you specifically but you don’t see it in my shop, shoot me an email & I’ll be happy to make it available for you.

Related Content

This is a crazy time of life & it’s been a great opportunity for interesting photojournalism. Here are links to more of my photo stories that have spawned from these times of social distancing and quarantine.

It’s May

It’s May and we’re half in the box. Documenting life in the here-and-now has been very interesting.

As a trained photojournalist, I’ve always thought of “finding a story” as going out into the world and looking for something interesting to shoot. 

Ironically I’ve found these restrictions more freeing. I have to focus on what’s nearby, so I don’t have any of the pressure I normally put on myself to find some grandiose story.

Creating a record of this time and place has been very rewarding. I hope you enjoy seeing my quarantine images as much as I enjoy shooting them.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stay safe and wear a mask!

Related Posts

Here are some other posts about the quarantine, social distancing and generally just staying home.

Closeness

As the quarantine presses on, I’m finding a lot of different experiences to photograph. The first story I published on the blog was about doing familiar activities in a new environment. The next story interpreted the feeling of social distancing.

This week I’m looking at closeness and family bonding in the wake of the distance and isolation that many are feeling.

For context, my wife Courtney and I are experienced stay-at-homers, as we’ve been working from home and homeschooling for a couple years now with our five kids.

Share Your Experience

What has your experience with COVID-19 been like? Are you by yourself or with others? Have there been moments of insanity or mostly calm? Please share in the comments below!

Related Content

For my other posts of life during quarantine, check out these links…

Photographing the Distance

Robert Capa was a famous photojournalist who, among other things, stormed the beach at Normandy with American troops on D-Day, nothing but his cameras in hand.  

He has a quote that I live by: “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” I take that approach in every possible circumstance.

However, with the pandemic and social distancing, I’m finding myself stepping back and looking for a new approach with my style.

It was a little awkward at first, but I’m getting the hang of it. These photos explore social distancing and how it feels to have additional space between us.

A lot of times when I’m outside or looking out my window I find myself thinking, “Who’s that? I’ve never seen them before,” or “Those people seem a little close to each other over there.” It can be a little unsettling at times. I think some of that comes through here.

But more often than these uneasy feelings, as someone gets closer (but not too close!), we smile and wave and say hello and there’s more of a bond than usual.

Related Content

For more photo stories related to the quarantine, check out these posts…

Change of Course

We’re all doing things a bit differently these days. One thing that’s interesting to me is how some of the things we’re doing are CLOSE to what we did before, but not exactly the same.

For example, my family likes to hike and explore nature. But since we’re not going out to parks right now, we spent some time exploring the neighborhood golf course when it closed to golfers. It was an activity that we usually do, but in a new type of place.

What has the Great Pause meant to you and your family? Have you seen or experienced anything you’ve never done before?

What familiar activities are you doing in new environments? I’m interested to hear what you’re up to! Respond to this email or comment on my social media with your own stories. 

This short photo story is a small part of a long-format narrative I’m currently developing to capture the look and feel of this quarantine era.  New stories coming each week!

Related Content

Here are more posts related to the quarantine and staying home…

Indianapolis Zoo

Here are some photos from a recent trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.  Even though it was a rainy day, there was a lot to see and the animals were out and about.

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Fair Photography

As a born and bred Midwesterner, I love documenting fairs and festivals. I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana attending the 3 Rivers Festival.  Each year, my family would travel to my father’s boyhood home in Wayne County, Ohio to attend the fair.  The animals, funnel cakes, disorienting carnival rides and tractor pulls were rites I looked forward to each year.

Now that I have a family of my own, I really enjoy experiencing the simple old-fashioned fun that a fair offers to my young children. Petting cows, feeding goats, consuming ridiculous fried food and lemon shake-ups, and of course those exact same (literally) carnival rides all feel like a step back in time to my own childhood.

I took the Ferris wheel image above at the Italian Street Festival in Indianapolis in 2010 and that inspired me to begin traveling to document events across the state.  Since 2010, I’ve photographed a couple dozen festivals and fairs which I’ve compiled into my Indiana Fair Project.

County fairs and town festivals are often long-held events where communities gather to celebrate what makes them distinct.  By visiting all corners of the state to photograph these annual happenings, I’m seeking to document how the traditions of these events connect Hoosiers to their past and to each other.

The Indiana State Fair is happening now, so keep an eye on Instagram for new images.  Plus, I’ll be posting old favorites from the Indiana Fair Project. If Twitter is your preference, follow @zachdobson for some highlights of fairs and other interesting stuff.

Thanks for reading my blog  and be sure to share this post with someone you know who loves the fair. Who doesn’t love the fair?!  My wife assures me no one!

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Happy Sow. Indiana State Fair. 2016

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Showmanship. Indiana State Fair. 2016

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The Annual Balloon Glow. Elkhart County Fair. 2012.

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Fried Foods. Indiana State Fair. 2010.

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Goat Bath. Hamilton County Fair. 2010.

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Hot August Day. Indiana State Fair. 2010.

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Hog Wrestling. Delaware County Fair. 2010.

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Cowboys. Portage County Fair. 2010.

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Rodeo. Portage County Fair. 2010.

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Showtime. Elkhart County Fair. 2010.

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Beauty Pageant. Fulton County Fair. 2010.

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Demolition Derby. Gibson County Fair. 2010.

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Warming Up. Indiana State Fair. 2011.

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Funnel Cake Down. CarmelFest. 2013.

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Tilt-a-Whirl. Bremen Fireman’s Festival. 2010.

Personal Legend Project: Tiffany Benedict Browne

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Tiffany Benedict Browne, Author & Historian

On the day I photographed Tiffany, I had the opportunity to witness her enthusiasm for history first-hand.  For part of our time together, I followed her on a tour of the Heslar Naval Armory, which is slated to become a second campus for Herron High School in 2017.  There were many “oohs” and “ahs” as Tiffany saw a multitude of features singular to this building.  The two I found most fascinating were the 4 giant murals in the gym depicting famous naval battles in U.S. history (which the school plans to restore) and the training area…

Walking down the hallway you encounter a door like you’d find in a ship’s hull.  Once you enter, it’s as if you’re inside a ship with all it’s rivets and steel, pipes and controls.  And, almost unbelievably, this entire area could be flooded to simulate a compromised hull.  Whoa!

Tiffany writes articles for various publications and is a historian-for-hire, but her main gig is historicindianapolis.com.  Be sure to follow her site and keep up on all the great stories she uncovers!
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The following set of six questions will be answered by each of the subjects.

1)  Some people call it a “true calling” or their “life’s work.”  In the book The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho calls it your Personal Legend. What do you consider to be your true calling, or Personal Legend?

Inspiring, connecting and exciting people through sharing Indianapolis history.
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2)  When did you first realize that this was your calling?

After moving to Indianapolis, I didn’t know anyone, but had bought my first house — a Victorian in Herron-Morton Place. I wanted to learn everything; to connect with my new city, neighborhood and home. I had so much fun searching for the stories of my house, my neighbors’ homes and then the neighborhood and city. It was such a fun adventure that I started doing research in my free time for other people. I was volunteering for the neighborhood association in a couple of roles as well; it eventually lead to the idea of what would become HistoricIndianapolis.com.
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3)  People often become completely engrossed, losing track of time or outside concerns while performing tasks related to their calling.  This might be referred to as being “in the zone” or “flow.”  When do you experience this most often?

When I’m playing detective on a building, person, or long-lost Indianapolis event—so usually in a library, archives or online. I get such a charge from reconnecting pieces that have been largely forgotten. It’s also gratifying to hear from people who have moved away but still have an affection for the city or other people who contact us to share how what we have done has added to their life in some way. One reader created a deeper connection with her dying father by reading him stories from our site as a starting point for a dialogue they hadn’t had before. That is awe-inspiring!

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4)  What is the greatest challenge or obstacle you’ve faced in pursuit of your life’s work?

Finding a model that works financially and otherwise. Many of us in the digital space are still trying to figure out how to make that work. We ask readers who value what we do to become voluntary/paying members of our “Booster Club” and also sell sponsorships with businesses. Despite the common misconception, running an online publication is not free. It takes expertise, time, creativity and money to publish our site.
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5)  What has pursuing your Personal Legend taught you?

One of my favorite people, Tony Robbins says “Nothing has any meaning in life except the meaning I give it.” That resonates with me strongly. I think about what I have the honor of doing: digging up stories of the places we pass every day and maybe think nothing about or wonder about. So many things catch your eye when you’re paying attention. We’ve got a big, beautiful city, with so many amazing stories that illustrate the best, worst and everything in between — of humanity, of creativity, innovation, design, gumption — you name it. I LOVE finding little hidden gems, learning every day and the inspiration and connection I feel by hunting down and sharing those stories.
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6)  What piece of advice can you offer to others seeking their true calling?

When you find something that delights and frustrates you; that stretches you and asks you to become more; that captivates and obsesses you, you know you’ve found it. And even if it’s something that you never saw on a list of possible future occupations or job titles, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. If you have a dream and vision — go make it happen. Anything is possible. If there isn’t a path where you’re headed, get out a machete and carve one. It also helps to surround yourself with supportive people — even if just one or two. I have found it really helpful to hire a consultant to help me bounce ideas or think through things. Having someone help, even if just to advise, is incredibly helpful.
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Are you following your Personal Legend?  Tell us about it in the comments below.

Subscribe to the blog, or add us to your RSS feed to follow along as we post a new set of images each day for the next 30 days.   For background on this project, check out our first post in the series.

 

Personal Legend Project: Kirby Melick

Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana

Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom, Inc.

Kirby Melick makes furniture and cabinetry on his 13-acre property in Bloomington, Indiana.  His business Kirby Custom, Inc features custom fine cabinetry and furniture including kitchens, vanities, bars, doors and more.

He begins his workday at 4 a.m.  I sauntered in at the leisurely time of 6:30 to start shooting before sunrise. As someone who occasionally buys pine and plywood to construct half-conceived, utilitarian pieces; I found it inspiring to watch a master craftsman work with large slabs of high-grade hardwoods.

Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana
Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana

The following set of six questions will be answered by each of the subjects.


1)  Some people call it a “true calling” or their “life’s work.”  In the book The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho calls it your Personal Legend. What do you consider to be your true calling, or Personal Legend?

I believe my true calling is to use the Lord’s gift of life to create objects from the forest woods in order enhance daily living and contribute to the success and quality-of-life of others.


Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana
Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana

2)  When did you first realize that this was your calling?

Not until I was willing and able to accept that what I originally imagined my true calling to be, was in fact not.  I took many wrong turns before I realized I was heading in the wrong direction.  The hardest part in life can be accepting who you are.

Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana
Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana

4)  What is the greatest challenge or obstacle you’ve faced in pursuit of your life’s work?

I have often found that I am my own worst enemy.  Living up to one’s expectations of themselves is challenging.  Confidence and courage to overcome is the focus of daily meditation.
 

Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana
Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana

5)  What has pursuing your Personal Legend taught you?

Life is beautiful, if you allow it to be.  My path was ahead of me all along, but only clear in hind-sight.  Faith is the key.

Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana

6)  What piece of advice can you offer to others seeking their true calling?

Listen to the world around you, the strengths and values you have that ‘lift up’ those that surround you, and find a compromise between your ‘dreams’ and your calling.  Often times our ‘dreams’ vary greatly from our strengths. True happiness, for me, is not in fulfilling a dream, but in helping others to accomplish their greatest purpose, or their true calling.
 

Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana
Kirby Melick, Kirby Custom Woodwork, Bloomington, Indiana

Are you following your Personal Legend?  Tell us about it in the comments below.

Subscribe to the blog, or add us to your RSS feed to follow along as we post a new set of images each day for the next 30 days.   For background on this project, check out our first post in the series.

 

Personal Legend Project: Annie Eakin

05_annie_0102Annie Eakin, Annie’s Clothesline

Annie and her mother Dede founded Annie’s Clothesline in 2008, working together to design and produce children’s clothing.  I caught up with them in Bloomington, IN as they prepared for their biggest event yet, the Country Living Fair in Nashville, Tennessee, April 22-24.

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The following set of six questions will be answered by each of the subjects.

1)  Some people call it a “true calling” or their “life’s work.”  In the book The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho calls it your Personal Legend. What do you consider to be your true calling, or Personal Legend?

I believe it is my Personal Legend to make a positive impact on other people’s lives. Annie’s Clothesline has provided me the opportunity to be a stay-at-home-mom and impact other peoples lives through clothing. My mother and I began the business in 2008, shortly after I had my second daughter. Working from home allowed me to be with my children. From the start we both agreed that Annie’s Clothesline would not overwhelm our lives so we could still make our families a priority. 
The business was also strongly inspired by the opportunity to offer clothing to girls that is age appropriate and offers colors and styles that are alternatives to those common in popular stores; specifically those styles that are too short, too small, too pink, or too purple. We offer a feminine style for girls that allows them to look like girls, not like girls in women’s clothing. 
Annie’s Clothesline is part of my Personal Legend because it gives me the opportunity to influence a little girl’s life by empowering her through clothes that let her feel like a girl and not an object and I can also be the parent I aspire to be by staying home with my children.

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2)  When did you first realize that this was your calling?

There are many experiences that I can attribute to leading me to my Personal Legend. I know it is part of who I was born to be. I can recall taking a “career” test in 3rd or 4th grade and the result of mine was social worker. I completely rejected that idea but what I did learn from that was that I like to help people and to bring something positive to someone else’s life.
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3)  People often become completely engrossed, losing track of time or outside concerns while performing tasks related to their calling.  This might be referred to as being “in the zone” or “flow.”  When do you experience this most often?

I probably get the most lost in my Personal Legend when I’m trying to sleep. I lay awake thinking of things I need to do next and what I can accomplish tomorrow. I will wake up thinking of tasks to complete or things I need to say to others. 

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4)  What is the greatest challenge or obstacle you’ve faced in pursuit of your life’s work?

The greatest challenge to accomplishing my goals is myself. Always. I have high expectations of myself and when setting high goals it becomes overwhelming and can sometimes discourage me from accomplishing any goal at all. I want to do my best at everything I do and to be the best person/mother/wife/daughter/seamstress/athlete I can possibly be.

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5)  What has pursuing your Personal Legend taught you?

My Personal Legend has taught me that just as I think I know who I am, there is more to discover. I began the business with my mother to create quality children’s clothing, to be able to spend time with my husband and kids, and to do something with my mother that we both love. After our first big show, four years after founding the business, I realized that I’m an artist too.

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6)  What piece of advice can you offer to others seeking their true calling?

My advice to others seeking their true calling is to not be distracted and keep focused on your main goal. We all get pulled in different directions. Focusing on what your true calling is and keeping that in mind in times of doubt, or when considering new opportunities, is what will keep you on the path to accomplishing your true calling. 

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Are you following your Personal Legend?  Tell us about it in the comments below.

Subscribe to the blog, or add us to your RSS feed to follow along as we post a new set of images each day for the next 30 days.   For background on this project, check out our first post in the series.

 

Dream Cars

Today I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to check out the exhibit Dream Cars. I love to shoot cars.  And as you’ll see, I mostly like to shoot detail shots of cars.  “God is in the details,” said architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and it definitely shows in these works of art.

Go and check it out yourself.  Especially if you want to see the entirety of these cars, which you do.  This is the last weekend.  It closes August 23rd.

dream cars indianapolis museum of art
dream cars indianapolis museum of art
dream cars indianapolis museum of art
dream cars indianapolis museum of art
dream cars indianapolis museum of art
dream cars indianapolis museum of art
dream cars indianapolis museum of art
dream cars indianapolis museum of art
dream cars indianapolis museum of art

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Progress

I’m not sure what I was looking for when I left my office in the middle of the afternoon to go take photos.  Typically, I avoid shooting in the middle of the day because of the harsh light, but I was feeling anxious after sitting at my desk for hours and thought I’d try to work with it.

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I had a very symmetrical version of this photo with no vehicles, but I was drawn to this version with the dump truck. Special thanks to the driver for not smacking me in the head with his mirror.
I had a very symmetrical version of this photo with no vehicles, but I was drawn to this version with the dump truck. Special thanks to the driver for not smacking me in the head with his mirror.

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This construction is at the site where I took photos of the land being cleared in April. Moving fast!

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The rubble and steeple had similar shapes. I found it interesting.

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Waiting to join up with new pavement.

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The restaurant owner was curious of my motives for taking photos of his business, but I didn’t have any. It’s been a while since someone was suspicious of me taking photos. I kind of missed it!

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New neighborhood meets old neighborhood.

carmel development

Just down the street from me, there were about 20 acres of trees that are there no longer.  Looks like they’re making room for another “mixed-use” blah, blah, blah.  Anyways, I felt compelled to go over and take some photos…

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2014 Year In Review

If you’re a long-time reader of our newsletter, you may recall we have an annual Year In Review.  2014 takes on a new format: a print & digital magazine.  Seeing as how the print version wouldn’t fit into the USB port, the digital copy is presented here.

Also, if you’re interested in reading more detailed information about the images within, you can download this info sheet which is included as a removable insert with the print version.

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instagram

Ok, I’ve come to realize that as a professional photographer, I should be using Instagram more often.  So, from this date forth, I will be updating my feed on a regular basis.  You can check it out here:  https://instagram.com/zach_dobson/

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