by Kirby Lindsay
When I first spoke with Larry Wales, he admitted to having a wide-selection of photos of the Fremont Troll. “I love that guy!” he said, enthusiastically. He feels similarly about a lot of Fremont – including Lenin, “I love the irony – the symbolism of communism in the most liberal neighborhood of the most liberal city…” Wales has lived in Phoenix and L.A. but, “this is where they are going to bury me,” he stated definitively, “and sprinkle me over the Troll.”
Wales lives in Fremont on Whitman Avenue, and goes to visit the curmudgeonly icon “at least three or four days a week.” These jaunts started as pure entertainment – he likes to watch how visitors interact with the bad tempered but beloved sculpture – but have been transformed into art. Wales spends his journeys photographing Fremont foliage, flowers, art and icons. “I go out every time I can,” he admitted.
From Avocation to Vocation
Wales started with “a little point-and-shoot” digital camera but when his pastime became passion, he upgraded to a Sony A350 camera that provides a higher ratio of megapixels. “It allows you to take poster quality pictures without losing the definition,” he explained.
The need for higher definition figured into the internet business he started, with Jim Bartz, selling poster sized images. The site, heroheads.com, sells posters of inspirational heroes from the past – Socrates, Einstein, Tesla, Darwin and Newton – including quotes by the influential figures. Wales enhances some of the images with details from his photos and prints the posters at the local Perfect Copy & Print.
His own photos will be on display for the month of May at Essential Bakery. “When I started to take myself more seriously, others took the pictures more seriously,” he explained. People have responded to his attitude, and professionalism, including family. According to Wales, his brother once commented, ‘I didn’t know you had it in you,’ to which Wales responded, “Neither did I.” Wales felt further accepted when he opened his brother’s Christmas gift - a book on how to sell photos.
Being in Fremont, around artists, the arts and an openness to artistic expression, also inspired Wales – although he gives more credit to our images. He finds his visual inspirations here, from a Golden Labrador resting in a patch of sunlight at the Fremont Sunday Market to regular tours of the sights from the Aurora Bridge.
Keep The Day Job
“I would absolutely like to do [photography] professionally, and more,” Wales admitted. Yet, he won’t be giving up his day job which he credits with his success at capturing visual images. “Having been in the paint business for 30 years,” he stated, “I know a lot about light and color.”
Wales has worked within the paint industry for three decades, and at Daly’s Home Decorating for the last seven years. “I don’t want to work anywhere else,” he said of the Fremont institution.
At times he wishes he’d found photography 30 years ago, and spent the time learning an art he enjoys. On the other hand, he acknowledged, the years have given him a wisdom that he brings to it now that would not have been possible years ago.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.