Georgetown, I want to tell you that I had the esteem pleasure of meeting a renown photographer, Simon Hare. He was right here in our little town! I stopped in at The Cottage, on Front Street and talked with the owner, Susan Brannen during this time.
"He must be the photographer; the one holding the camera,” I said motioning in Simon’s direction. I’m observant like that.
The Cottage is next to Alfresco’s, in Jimmy and Chip Daniel’s old furniture store. I wandered in and the place was jumping. Not just with customers but with people excited to meet Mr. Hare and have their picture taken.
“He’s offered a free photo shoot today," Susan explained, “And we’re happy to have him here.
But why such a generous gift? As it turns out, Susan and Simon have an unusual story about how they met. Simon’s own nine-year-old son sells his seashells, driftwood, and wind-chimes in her store. This little salesman is the one who forged this friendship between shopowner and father. As a return courtesy on behalf of his son, the famous photographer has agreed to a free photo shoot.
Originally, Simon is from South Africa. He’s since moved to the United States and has lived in San Francisco, Miami, and Chicago before finally settling in McCleanville. He’s photographed many famous people along the way, including, but not excluding, our very own President, Donald Trump (while he was just a celebrity and not as the president).
I did speak to Simon for a few minutes and was honored that he allowed me to take his picture; even approving of my amateurish shot of him in the store.
“Are you a naturalized citizen?” I asked of him.
“Yes, I’ve been American longer than I’ve… not been,” he said with a chuckle.
Jokingly, I commented, “That makes you a true African-American.”
With another laugh, he agreed, he’s truly an African-American. He talked with me about his son’s endeavors and how he stays on top of it. “I wanted him to learn something useful,” he said of nine-year-old Tristian.
“How long have you been doing photography?”
“I’ve been doing it about 20 years,” he answered. “I finally decided to settle down and get out of the hectic lifestyle of fashion shows and ads. I like McCleanville. It’s a nice friendly little town.”
For what its worth, I’m glad to have him as our neighbor and look forward to seeing some of his work in local spots. Welcome to Georgetown, Simon, and on behalf of the town, we look forward to meeting up with you again sometime in the near future.