This past summer I was lucky to have been asked to go to Nashville for a few days to be a model for a photo shoot for the company that made my new chair and the seat cushion I use, Permobil and it’s subsidiary Roho. The request came about because I answered a Facebook advertisement asking for folks that would like to have their picture taken for promotional materials. I wrote a hurried essay about why I liked my chair and my seat cushion and attached a selfie of my wife and I acting goofy at a wedding because it was the first thing I came across in my Facebook photos. Never did I think I would actually be chosen. Then, one day a few weeks later, I received an email from someone I didn’t know asking me to come to Nashville in a few weeks for a few days of photo shoots. I had never been to Nashville and had certainly never been a model before, and having my picture taken had always been an uncomfortable activity because I hated having my illusion of normalcy torn away and replaced with the awkwardness I am able to ignore when I don’t have to look myself in the face. So, I was taken aback initially by the invitation, but after a little coaxing from the wife, I decided to go.
I got to meet some great folks on the trip from around the country. Jackie from Roho in Illinois, Kim and Angel from Washington state took the pictures and arranged the locations, Jesse from Michigan does internet/website mumbo jumbo, and Richard from Permobil in Nashville were all super great folks that made the process as smooth and as much fun as I could imagine. I’m sorry to all the other folks I didn’t name here, but they were all just as great. They set up a tour of the plant in Lebanon, TN for me, and that place blew me away. Everyone there was smiling and appeared to love their jobs. The entire process of research, development, manufacturing, testing, support, accounting, and even feeding the employees takes place in a state of the art, energy efficient facility that I would be proud to work in. Those Scandinavian folks know what’s up.
I had never been photographed by a professional before then. In this day and age where anyone can buy a fancy DSLR camera and Photoshop, there are new “photographers” popping up every day without a whit of an idea of how to take pictures other than taking 1,000 snaps in hopes of getting a decent shot. Realistically, they wouldn’t know a good picture if it ran naked through their living room on Christmas morning. Kim is proof that there’s more to the job than the equipment. I don’t know exactly how to describe what makes up a good photo, but I know that she has whatever it is, because the pictures that she took have that je ne sais quoi.
I had a world of fun meeting the folks involved in the photographic endeavor. Outside of that, Nashville was awesome too. Thankfully, it wasn’t necessarily the redneck mecca I expected. Broadway was like a cleaner, safer, more family friendly version of Bourbon St. in New Orleans, and we had the opportunity to eat some really good food while wandering up and down the street near the river. Acme Feed and Seed had some great food, good drinks, and a fantastic view of the river and the Titans stadium from the rooftop bar, and Hattie B’s hot chicken was one of those hole in the wall treasures that had a line of folks out the door and down the sidewalk at 9:00 on a Wednesday night.
My photographic fears abated, I would hop in the car in a minute and head North if the opportunity arose again to visit that town and those folks. That trip greatly improved the view from my seat that Permobil built.
Here are links to the pages with my pictures on their website:
This page just has my butt: http://permobilus.com/products/power-wheelchairs-by-permobil/