I was in El Reno earlier this week finishing up a story about grain elevators I was writing for Oklahoma Living Magazine. I was taking a portrait of a grain elevator owner in front of his elevator. While waiting for the owner to show up, this young kid drove up and started talking my leg off.
I wish I could remember his name – I think it may have been Zack but can’t remember for sure. But I will call him Zac for now. I DID get his name right. It is Zac Dye. Anyway, Zac certainly didn’t look old enough to be driving this giant Dodge 4WD pickup truck around. I mean, he could barely see out the door. But what Zack lacked in size, he more than made up with confidence and chutzpah. It seems Zac had been hanging out around the elevator since we was a toddler, into everything, always trying to help. Last year they put him to work a bit, although at 15 he was too young to really work full time. He helped clean up, sweep floors, run errands, the sort of things any 15 year old in a rural Oklahoma town SHOULD be doing rather than playing video games or browsing on their cell phone.
Zac wasn’t afraid to talk. No sir. But he wasn’t talking to hear himself talk. Zac liked to ask questions. And he asked a lot of questions. He was curious about everything I was doing. But he also offered to help me with my camera, was willing to show me around the elevator, carry my gear, whatever I wanted. Eager beaver would be a good moniker, but that doesn’t do him justice. Because Zac was also smart. I could tell by the questions he was asking. And asking. Not the bugging me type of questions, but the “I want to know how to do whatever you are doing” kind of questions. Smart questions.
Once my work was done, I loaded up my gear, got in my truck and started driving off. Then I thought “some photographer YOU are, you missed photographing the most interesting person you met today!” My job did NOT include photographing a 16 year old kid. But my instincts told me that I needed to photograph Zac – not because he was famous, but because he was just, I don’t know, — cool. Yea, that was it. Zach was just a really cool kid. He looked about 12, acted about 20, and was smart, bright, asked questions, was helpful, respectful, and just plain interesting.
So I turned my truck around, went back, grabbed Zac on got this photo.
So here you go.
Zac Dye, the cool kid.