Loose in Stewart’s Town – by Guy Rhodes

Columbus Indiana

The courthouse square in downtown Columbus, Indiana.

East Chicago-based photographer, lighting designer, and filmmaker Guy Rhodes shot a story in Columbus, Indiana for USA Today.

Here’s a contradictory thought that I’d you to ponder for a few moments: “As a photographer, I thrive on lack of direction.” On the surface, this phrase doesn’t make much sense. After all, how can once excel at anything without direction? How can one come away with anything worthwhile without a plan?

For me, being forced to come up with my own direction or plan when one isn’t provided to me up front (or is very loosely in place) is actually quite creatively freeing. It means that I’m free to adapt a plan I create on the fly as a shoot evolves, molding it to best fit my subject and the story. I had just such a loosely planned shoot recently, and it was for a national newspaper. No pressure, right?

Earlier this week, I traveled three hours south to Columbus, Indiana, to shoot a story for USA Today on the home town of NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. Stewart, who was raised in Columbus and still resides there, has been in the news quite a bit after being involved in an incident at a small race last weekend which claimed the life of a fellow driver. The angle of the story was to gather thoughts (and photos, of course, on my end) on the situation from folks in town who know Stewart personally.

Continue reading and see more photos on Guy’s blog.

Columbus Indiana

David Lynch of Columbus, Ind., walks under the Crump Theatre marquee in downtown Columbus.

Columbus Indiana

Columbus, Ind., Dairy Queen owner Bob Franke talks with regular customers during lunch. Franke was one of NASCAR driver Tony Stewart’s first sponsors in the late 1970′s.

Columbus Indiana

The gates to Tony Stewart’s home on the west side of Columbus.

Columbus Indiana

(From left) Natalie Donner of Columbus, Ind., plays with her son Garrett Donner, 2, and daughter Brooklyn Donner, 5, at a racing-themed playground at Mead Village Park in Columbus, which was funded in part by the Tony Stewart Foundation.

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