Theron Humphrey runs two photography blogs; Maddie on Things and This Wild Idea. Tumblr blog Maddie on Things has become hugely popular online based on a very simple concept; Theron simply takes photos on his iPhone of his dog Maddie standing on various things! The documentary style of the photography works well with the tone of the blog its simplicity, and the photographs – although taken on an iPhone – are beautiful.
We spoke to Theron about what is behind Maddie on Things.
Maddie on Things
Why did you decide to start your blog, Maddie on Things?
Maddie is just a side project I do; something to always makes me laugh. Even if you’re doing what you love in life – living your dream – some days are going to feel like a grind. The Maddie project is little a pause to life for me.
How have you found the response to this blog?
The response blew me away at first, I was just taking some fun photos of my dog. But folks love animals, and I’m with them, I love my dog! I wonder if that’s how William Wegman felt; I think he started off just using his dogs in some art video projects and I bet it evolved.
The photographs are beautiful and I see that you are now selling prints; do you have any plans to publish a photo book?
I’m having some initial conversations with a book publisher this week actually, we’ll see where it goes. The best part is that I’m just taking the photographs for fun, because I love to, so I already feel content.
This Wild Idea
Theron also runs This Wild Idea, which focuses entirely on documentary photography. Perhaps aptly named, This Wild Idea sets out to photography people across all 50 states in the US to document the lives of the ‘ordinary’ people who live there. The individuals and the important aspects of their daily lives are photographed, and a brief story of that person is told on the blog. You can even change Theron’s route online if you decide you want to be featured in This Wild Idea. Theron’s wild idea might just turn out to be a very good one.
‘This Wild Idea’ sounds really interesting. You’re now on day 200 and it looks like you’re going strong! What is the idea behind the project?
What I’m doing is pretty simple, but I suppose a lot of good things in life are. I’m traveling to all 50 states in the US in one year photographing folks everyday, telling and collecting stories, in the hope that the images will become more valuable one day. Often in photography extremes are celebrated – war or poverty – but I became more interested in grandmothers planting heirloom seeds in their backyards. Everyone has a story, and they are always good ones.
How have people reacted to this project? Have they been happy to get involved?
When folks realize that you’re not asking them for money and that you’re not trying to sell them anything, I’ve almost always found open hearts. When folks slow down and think, “What if I had audio of my mom’s voice before I was born?” or, “What if I had 10 nice photographs of my grandparents”, they realize that what I’m out here doing will be bigger than all of us one day, even if it’s just to one person.
What camera equipment do you use?
The Maddie project is done with my iPhone 4 using the Instagram App. The This Wild Idea project is done with a Canon 5D Mark II with a vintage 35mm Carl Zeiss lens.
How did you start out in photography?
I went to undergrad in the Appalachian Mountains; it’s this wonderful region filled with stories and music. I was studying computer science there, and I just happened to be in the generation that had access to affordable digital cameras. Digital photography fulfilled my nerd side; I could still build a computer to edit images, and there was their amazing craft aspect that filled up my soul.
READ MORE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS