For the past three years, Brian Carter has been focusing much of his energy on what he would consider a passionate hobby. Others, however, may call it a purpose. His inspirations are genuine and tangible. His intentions are pure and his influence is constantly expanding.
Throughout that day, I looked more closely at the crafts of other small business owners and citizens. I quickly realized that I was observing what most would consider just another individual trying to profit from a unique skill. For Brian, it was so much more, and so much less.
I decided I wanted to photograph Brian in his workshop and to help him show off his skill and some of his product. I knew he was talented and possessed an ability that I would probably never attempt in my lifetime. However, I had no idea that before our photoshoot, his life and the direction for my story would be changed forever.
To better understand why Brian started this artistic endeavor, I listened to him speak on his greatest inspiration, his Grandfather and what it was like to watch the man create. It was clear that Brian’s passion for woodworking was driven by his need to keep the memory of his Grandfather alive.
“The reason why I started woodworking in general is because my grandpa made me this little tractor when I was a kid. I played with that tractor forever and I always broke it. It had this little man he chiseled on it and I was always breaking it. The steering wheel, whatever it had, I broke it. But he’d always fix it.”
The way he talked about his Grandfather made me think about my own grandparents and family members that have passed and what they meant to me. I thought about my uncle and his paintings and my own grandfather and his contribution to his community as a coach, educator and war veteran. I too was influenced by those I loved and lost, a feeling to which we all can relate.
I was editing some photos at home when I saw a social media post from Brian announcing his new appointment as Pickaway County Parks Operations Manager. I was very excited to read this as I knew that it was a position that would greatly benefit from his passion and energy. And for me, it meant that I had my story.
Brian’s inspiration for woodcarving had given him the energy to self-teach and develop as an artist. While he has a strong passion for shaping the wood and enjoying the journey from log to art, his purpose for woodworking is selfless. He wants to make a difference; in his family, in his community. He wants to pass on his Grandfather’s legacy while hopefully encouraging others to inherit a similar passion for the connection between a person and their creation.
It was because of this purpose that I knew his appointment to Pickaway County Parks would be good for him and his community. He wants to take the same encouragement, inspirations and skills and make a lasting career out of this change. While some may merely view the job as a maintenance worker who will mow lawns, trim trees and pick up trash, Brian views it as an opportunity to create.
The county is adding a new asset, a warrior against the negative changes and effects to local parks and wildlife. Brian recognizes that natural habitats and the potential for education and encouragement for others to take responsibility are diminishing. He is eager to get started and make a difference, to change the community's perspective on the importance of appreciating nature and coexisting with it.
Brian Carter is just one individual doing everything he can to better his community and our world.
Please show him support by visiting his instagram feed
For more information about how you can support your local parks, here are a few links to get you started:
Recently, I had the privilege of meeting Brian at Fairfield County’s 2018 Fall Festival Day. I was there to document the activities at various venues when I noticed Brian sawing some logs. I took one image that would become the inspiration for this story.
“When I was a little kid, woodworking was the only thing I wanted to do.
I looked at my grandpa like he was a superhero. He was able to make anything.”
“What I think is cool is to be able to use my woodcarving to add benches and wildlife experiences to the park.”
“I’d like to watch the parks system flourish and actually encourage people to follow my footsteps into a similar career path. That’s something I’m really excited about.”
“The inspiration he provided me was life changing. His passion was contagious.”