Written by: Eric Shanteau
Who am I? You’re not asking it, I’m simply wondering this. I’m sitting in my truck at this very moment as I soak in the warm sun while watching the cold flow of the Maumee River rush past my glare. I wanted to start off by introducing myself and thanking iheartglasscity for the opportunity to do so.
I’m the epitome of average; to an extent. What I do, holds absolutely no merit or special talent. I’m just a normal guy in this great city who is trying to figure out life and what it means to me. As you can tell, I can’t write. I can’t draw or swim, or even cook. I can, and do take photos with a phone. I’m not the greatest. I don’t understand what composition, saturation or what the the rule of thirds is. Just maybe, if anything, I’ve been blessed with a creative eye with a genuine heart. That is what I will stand true to and be grateful for as this was given and not earned. My contribution to Toledo is straight from my eye, to my heart, through my phone and onto you. That is all I can offer. Hopefully, you can connect with something I share. Far too often, we feel alone and isolated in this world. Different, if you will. However, when you reach out or share emotions and moments in life, especially through photography, you will understand that in Toledo, that’s not the case. We are here because it’s home and what’s more important than that? This is our home. Our city. In essence, just like your house, you take pride in it. It’s your safe-haven, full of familiarity and comfort. Toledo is that, except our door is open to everyone and I want to welcome you in.
I’m often known as Hobbes2485, or “the guy from photos of NW Ohio”. My passion is to share Toledo with you, through photography, in all different forms. As a self proclaimed Instagram-nerd, we had a challenge this weekend given to us by Instagram (Weekend Hashtag Project, or WHP) to take photos of a chair. I thought about lugging one to the park, or hoping I’d stumble across some rustic whisker gem as I aimlessly walked around town. I like the WHP because it makes me think. Like the idea of putting a chair on the train tracks with unbound ropes as someone escapes at the last moment. Then I thought, what I’m I doing? Snap out of this Eric. This…this passion, it is what it is and I need to just capture sometimes and forget about creating. Yesterday, I was asked to go to “Food For Thought” in downtown Toledo with the creator of Humans of Toledo. To connect in some form with people who may be less fortunate in our eyes, but to them; simply people living life. As food, clothing, and even smiles were passed around, I asked if I could take a quick photo of this ladies wheelchair. I understand the circumstances that come along with the notion of having a chair like this. In a perfect world, these merely wouldn’t exist. However, what I’ve come to know (from even my own life) is that perfect isn’t real. This is. The people at this event seemed happier and perhaps more gracious than I was or am. This isn’t a chair. This isn’t art. This isn’t a prop. It’s a lifeline. The sides were made of plywood and carted around a few loafs of bread and garments from the still brutal cold that some have endured through the night. So, as I scrolled through the 13,897 photos of chairs for @instagram, this is my contribution. You want a photo of a chair, perhaps with a story, this is the “stripped” down entry. No HDR, color, and a subpar angle. But maybe, just maybe- this smile, event and chair inspired me to volunteer and assist others. This was the gem I was looking for and maybe it will help me, more so than her.
So, as I walked around downtown in the brutal cold, trying to capture moments like I have, this photo stuck out to me. It expressed my interpretation of this city being our home. Helping others and treating strangers as our own. I’m proud of that and I’m here to be a vital part of this. It’s my heart, our home.
To see more of Eric Shanteau’s Pictures Follow Him on Instagram