I photographed the Mad Monster Party here in Charlotte, in late March. It was a convention for fans of science fiction, horror and other films. Nestled near the back of the hall, at a small table, sat David Prowse. The man that played Darth Vader in the Star Wars films, and has appeared in an amazing number of other great films and TV shows. My dad took me to see Star Wars on my fifth birthday, and the experience just blew my mind. When you're a kid, you want to do, and be everything. After seeing that film, I knew I wanted to do something in media. Something that one could create, and have it play for audiences big and small. I first thought I was going to a filmmaker, which led me into working into TV in my high school days. Eventually, I got more interested in the individual moments of what I saw around me, and I have followed that interest through my photography. But that wide-eyed dreamer of a kid is still a part of me.
When I saw David's book, credited to David Prowse, MBE, I asked, "Oh, you're a member of the member of the British Empire?" David's eyes lit up. We talked about his work with road safety in the UK, and his current work with prostate cancer awareness. He also told me about meeting the Queen Of England when he awarded his MBE, and the protocol involved with that. The realization that I was talking to the man behind Darth Vader about meeting the Queen of England crept in my head, and has made me smile ever since. I had a lot of fun talking to him, and got some good photos of him.
A friend has since pointed out to me that I have now worked with the two most famous Men In Black: Darth Vader, and Johnny Cash. It's amazing to think back to that nine year-old that was thrilled with the Empire Strikes Back, and reading about Johnny Cash in a cheap comic book at the local Super Duper. I wish I could tell that kid a lot of things, but I would tell him that his dreams might well come true, although it might take a little while. (I was an impatient kid in those days, so this would come as a mixed blessing.)
I also have to include a conversation from the social event I photographed right after the Monster Party:
Patron (looking at my notepad): Who's info is that? Is that from another event?
Me: That's the guy who played the sheriff in The Night Of The Living Dead. He's an avid photographer, and he wanted me to contact him.
Patron: (startled) Oh.
April 2, 2012