A young North Carolina photographer and journalist who is spending a year traversing America to document and tell the stories of everyday people, ran into heartbreak when the he stopped in Jackson, Mississippi. Friends called 3 On Your Side to tell us of his plight.
Theron Humphrey's entire collection of photographs and stories were stolen from his truck New Year's Eve. It began with a wild idea, in fact that's the name of Humphrey's web site loaded with faces and stories from across the country.
He told us, "I had the idea to travel to all 50 states in one year and every single day I would meet one new person and celebrate their life and their story. The idea of the project is how do you actually love your neighbor. So I came to Jackson."
On New Year's Eve, this is where the nationwide project ended after 157 days across America, 15,000 thousand miles documenting heritage, culture and everyday tales of life. All of tools necessary for the project were stolen from his truck on Millsaps Avenue.
"Not only did they take my camera and laptop and my iPad which is painful to lose, but those things are ultimately replaceable but, the saddest part is they found both of my external drives which has every single photograph that I've taken in the past 5 months. We learned word on the street has it, that about six thousand dollars in stolen equipment was sold for $40 bucks and some crack." That was not confirmed.
His idea was simple, straightforward, weave little pieces of Americana together and the hospitality state was included. "I'm not going to be able to publish a book of the past 5 months and I'm not going to be able to have an exhibition to do large scale prints."
Now his story is one of coping, one of hoping, to carry on.
"It's been heartbreaking lost this life's work because every single day in my life's work was about meeting other people."
Humphrey hopes to continue the trek saying he's a man of his word. Devoted to finishing the project he sank heart and soul in.
"It's been a good reminder in 2012 that my material possession can't define me. And even the work I created with my hands can't define me because it's gone. So if that was my ultimate measure of who I am as a man that would be lost."
Not lost altogether, just another chapter in the book to be passed on down through the generations.
Humphrey's new Jackson friends are hoping people will help by making small donations to replace his stolen equipment. You can find the PayPal link on www.thiswildidea.com
Copyright 2012 WLBT. All Rights Reserved.
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