There comes a time in life when you start questioning things; what you have achieved so far, whether you are happy with your life or whether you are in fact the person you actually want to be. Dissatisfied with his everyday life working in a big corporate photo studio, American photographer Theron Humphrey decided to leave it all behind and go on a yearlong cross-county road trip across all 50 states in the hope of photographing a project he was passionate about. And what he describes as ‘This Wild Idea’, a photojournalist project of ”meeting folks, loving folks, living the dream”, documents those little everyday moments that make up a life. However, what he didn’t realize was how Maddie, a friendly coonhound he adopted from an animal shelter just before his trip, would end up changing his life.
Humphrey first started photographing his four footed travel companion on his truck as a reminder of the beginning of their trip together, much like proud parents capture important moments of their kids. What started as something that he did in his spare time while working on his project on the road, became a heartfelt photographic project in its own right that tells the story of a man and his dog travelling across the US. ”Maddie on Things: A Super Serious Project about Dogs and Physics” is a collection of 120 delightful photos where Humphreycaptures his beautiful dog Maddie doing what she does best: standing on things with remarkable grace and patience. From lawn mowers and trolley carts to signs, railings and even giant tractor wheels, he wonderfully maps Maddie’s strange habit of posing on top of all sorts of things across the US.
As Humphrey and Maddie traversed the US, the idea for the project gradually evolved and grew organically into something much bigger. After 365 days on the road and more than 65,000 miles of travel, Humphrey presents a collection of pictures that poignantly revive the ideal of that great American road trip through the strange talent of his special four-legged friend. ”She sees the world in a way that I would never be able to see or smell”,Humphrey eagerly points out. With her lively spirit Maddie grew into an inspiring stand-in for telling the story of what he loves and treasures most, the story of what is actually important in life. Miles away from stressful jobs and materialistic ideals, Maddie helped him find himself and offered him a great adventure story to tell his kids one day, becoming his best friend along the way. Maybe Maddie’s extraordinary devotion and will to stand tall and proud on top of all those objects that make up our everyday lives could inspire us to take a ”stand” of our own on our hectic object-centred lives and start appreciating all those great little moments around us.
Good girl, Maddie!