NAME Kent Tarbox
JOB Contract Sports Photographer & IT Consultant
WEBSITE Kent Tarbox
PROJECT Road Kill
I had to learn never to get caught up in watching the game, when you start watching the game, you miss shots and you never get them back.
Kent Tarbox is a contract sports photographer who’s been shooting for his local newspaper The Courier for nearly 20 years. “I’ve covered news events, shot feature photos and sports. I shoot at the high school, collegiate and professional levels and sport has probably made up the bulk of my contract work.”
He’s sharing his project, Road Kill, which grew from a series of sightings of old abandoned barns into something much deeper and revealing of the human endeavour.
WHY IS PERSONAL WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I started to get a little bored with photography as it was not much of a challenge for me, one game just blended into the next.
I felt that I needed to do something for myself, something creative, something to build on the photography skills I had developed and develop new photography skills that I did not have.
So personal work became just that, something for me, something I could control, something that was not a predetermined assignment, no editor, no deadline, just something that allowed me to explore the more creative side of myself and see where that discovery led me.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL PROJECT – HOW DID IT COME ABOUT AND WHY DID YOU SHOOT IT?
At the moment I am in year 3 of an on going project that I call Road Kill. Strange name but it does get one’s attention.
Road Kill came about from my sports photography work. I shoot sports at a lot of small, county and country schools in NW Ohio. To get to these schools, you spend a lot of time driving on small, off the highway back roads that wind through the rural countryside.
On these roads I would drive by old rundown barns, abandoned houses, old manufacturing apparatus, rusted out farm machinery and other vehicles and I would think to myself, “that would make a great image” and I would keep driving as I had to make it to my assignment.
Road Kill was born out of these observations. I shoot all my images from the cab of my truck or standing within a couple of feet of it. I just stop, roll down the window, stick my camera out and take the photo, shooting from the road, Road Kill.
Drive-by photography at its best.
WHAT DID YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE WITH IT?
I didn’t really set out to achieve anything. I wasn’t thinking about any social commentary, or telling a story or anything really. I just went out one day, started shooting and the project just grew organically.
As I spent more time in my truck, listening to music and the more I ventured out and the wider my search area became I realized that these old, decaying buildings were once new, sound and sturdy and even provided a home for a family. Now as they continue to decay, I often find myself thinking about the family that lived in the old run down house.
What was their story, what happened to them, why was this house just left to fall down onto itself? Why was it left standing?
Well one day it hit me, they are there to remind us that nothing is permanent, what was once new will be old, what was once state of the art is now a relic. Seems these buildings are in a way a metaphor of life itself.
WHAT’S THE OUTCOME OF THE PROJECT?
There is a group of local artists that work in conjunction with local small business owners to provide space in their shops, cafes, bars, restaurants to give local artists and photographers a place to display their work that can then be viewed by the general public and patrons of the businesses.
I was able to connect with this group and the result was 20 of my images were displayed for 3 months, rotating every 3 weeks to a different business.
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO AND READING AT THE MOMENT
Music is always on somewhere for me.
A lot of classical music is on in the background when I am at work and when I am out and about on another Road Kill trip, it’s Pink Floyd, yea showing my age, 59. Been a Floyd fan my whole life and the nature of the music lends itself to the solitude and contemplative mindset I get into while out “hunting” Road Kill subjects.
And actually I just finished reading “The Splendid and The Vile” by Erik Larson. It details the actions of Winston Churchill during the blitz.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE GALLERY OR WEBSITE
The Toledo Museum of Art and The Detroit Institute of Art are close to us and we try to get to them at least once a year or when special exhibits are on display..
On the web I enjoy mymodernmet.com and I am always stumbling across other photographers websites, too many to list.