I was blessed to attend the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference in Ft. Worth this past weekend (I’m sure you read about it in my previous post, right?), and I just happened to meet this interesting character. His pals who work him in the Adobe Western Art Gallery, call him TaxiJim.
He’s their in-house taxidermist. Just how did I meet this fellow you ask? Well, we were asked at the student workshop part of the conference to explore the Stockyards, a cowboy-loving tourist’s dream, and find a story to tell. And, boy, did I find one interesting story.
I just wasn’t content with using the typical big hat, shiny boots as my subject for this little project, so I roamed with my pal Mandie down the side streets in the area. After some worrying and a fall or two, I found my gem.
We entered the art gallery filled with paintings, photographs and great Texan fare and I couldn’t help but wonder what was happening behind this door in the back. I could hear buzzing and was sure there was action begging to be captured behind it! With a pinch of encouragement and a quick interruption I had my answer: “Go on in!”
And there was Jim, who actually wasn’t the source of the buzzing — that was two guys sanding down a side table. I immediately I knew I had to pounce and started asking him about his creepy, yet intriguing work. His rough hands restore both mannequins and dead animals.
The best part of his story was how his job began. He told me how his two sons decided to pick up hunting and they wanted to mount their first kills. But at several hundred dollars a pop Jim decided he could do it himself. He’s been preserving wildlife ever since.
I’ll leave you with the rest of the photos I sent in for my photo story submission.