WGNS’ Walker captures tough lifestyles through photography
Scott Walker is the president of WGNS Talk Radio in Murfreesboro, but in his spare time he explores a side of life that is invisible to the mainstream of our population.
He seeks out the homeless, the poorest among us. Walker's street photography conveys stories that you have to study. He photographs life, captures addiction, homelessness, pain, happiness and sorrow.
An exhibit of Walker’s photographs and the people he befriended will be in the Rotunda at the Murfreesboro City Hall and open to the public Monday-Friday, Aug. 12-Sept. 25 from 8 a.m.-4:30 pm. It is free and open to the public. Walker’s photos can also be seen on his website SmallTownBigWorld.com.
As a photographer he is often asked why is drawn to these people.
“I'm curious. ... I like to ask a lot of questions after I take pictures to find out what makes a person tick, what landed them where they are today." said Walker, who also said he likes to help others and wants to encourage others to do so as well. "Taking photos of the life that some lead can open the eyes of many who fail to slow down and take in what or who they walk past every day."
Usually he takes a friend with him as they seek out the subjects of his pictures. As they make that first connection, often offering food, they are aware that they are walking in to private places, homes to the homeless. They offer respect and give people a voice. He knocks on door of some of the poorest homes, motels and trailers. He visits camps under bridges and hidden in wooded areas. Recently a visit to a homeless camp led to a conversation with a camper who described how he enjoyed smoking crack, but only if it was free crack.
In March of 2014, Walker and Justin Holder loaded up a truck of canned food items and headed for one of the poorest areas in our nation, Owsley, Ky., to learn about the struggles that the residents in the small community face.
"One of the residents we met actually lived in a bus, his son in another bus and his wife in a nearby camper,” Walker said. “They invited us inside and shared a few stories with us."
Photos from this trip will be part of the City Hall exhibit.
One time, Walker and friend Jerry Craddock randomly knocked on the door of a home in Nashville and ended up having a one hour conversation about life with a 93-year old woman who told them that she drinks beer daily and still smokes cigarettes. She also talked about the struggles of growing up during the Polio epidemic in Nashville and having a son who died of Polio. He took her picture before he said goodbye.
On a couple of occasions, Walker searched out the dirtiest motels he could find and randomly knocked on doors. As the door opened, he asked to photograph everything and everyone in the room just as they were. Amazingly, every door he knocked on agreed to the project; many telling him stories that seem too unreal to be true. You can see the photos that very few photographers have ever been allowed to capture at the City Hall exhibit.