I say 'an evening with' and not 'at our last meeting' because Leroy Schulz's presentation was like telling stories with a friend while lingering over a coffee or sitting around the dinner table. I felt that his relaxed persona allowed him to make a connection with the people he photographs.
What was he telling us about? His personal photography project, Miguelito’s Little Green Car. He has photographed world political figures, celebrities, local politicians, entertainers, families and the homeless, ranging from a new born infant to a man on his 100th birthday. What connects all of these people is that they have all been photographed with Miguelito’s Little Green Car. This project is meant to remind us that we are all connected; people from around the world and from all walks of life are interconnected through the little green car.
Each of his photographs has a background story; perhaps how he met the person, the person’s vocation, or how he made the connection with each person. There are stories of patience, persistence, building contacts, serendipity, and sometimes just plain standing in somebody’s way to make the connection and take the photos. In some cases, like the one with Kate Middleton, they were simply quick photos, while in other cases a 10-minute window with Prime Minister Steven Harper turned into a 30-minute chat.
Where does he meet so many people? Leroy is a professional photographer and he has a network of friends in the magazine and entertainment community. He is outgoing. He also uses the life insurance sales trick—referrals. When you visit Leroy’s website (green car) you will see a short bio and ‘fun facts’ for each person. These people were asked to complete a short online form to collect the information and Leroy also asked them who they thought should be included in the project (what a genius).
If you missed Leroy’s presentation or you wish to share his telling of Miguelito’s Little Green Car, then you can watch a seven-minute clip of his presentation that was taken at a Pecha Kucha event in 2012 by clicking on this link. The project website is addictive and I have to warn you that you can get pulled in for hours looking and reading!
Leroy started the project in 2007 and it will run until 2021 when his nephew Miguelito turns 18. Leroy envisions giving Miguelito a book (or perhaps more by then) of all the photos. He talks of a large scale exhibit at a place like the Art Gallery of Alberta. Learning what we have from Leroy’s presentation, he will find a way to make that happen.
Leroy’s approach and ideas were motivating. At the end of the evening, he encouraged the audience members to start working on their own personal projects; stop pondering and just start it. I certainly felt charged and enthused to pick up any number of loosely thread project ideas that I have been thinking about ‘doing someday.’ So, if you start to see that I am finally shooting and posting more portrait work or shooting a theme of musicians and their instruments we will both know that Leroy Schulz has had an influence.
Now what personal project have you been pondering that needs to be brought to life? Drop our webmaster a line and share your personal project work or ideas.
© Leroy Schulz (photographs below)
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Updated June 19, 2017