Featured contributor

Wade Griffith

Remember the young Texan poet from the School Days theme? Here’s who he grew up to be.

Wade Griffith has been published in three Pictory themes, and twice provided the cover photo. While I knew he had a knack for visual narrative, I had no idea the stories he had up his sleeve. Now, I’m not saying this interview is full of tall tales — I grew up in Texas, so I’m aware that mosquitos are the size of small birds, hot days melt the tar off of telephone poles, storms blow over buildings, and life just tends to be more colorful — but you should read them and judge for yourself.

What are your favorite things to photograph?

My portfolio is incredibly diverse, as I love to photograph almost anything and everything. I guess if I had to pick one thing to photograph it would be interesting people. I also love to travel and shoot tiny forgotten towns. I’m probably not the first one to say this, but if I could just get paid to travel and take pictures — that would be the dream right there.

Dylan Sneed and his band, who I photographed for three days while they recorded their album.

What’s the best story you don’t have a photograph for?

During high school I was with a bunch of friends on the outskirts of Palestine, Texas, when our car broke down. A buddy and I walked to a nearby shack of a home and asked the nice Harley looking guy if we could use his phone. Right about then two vicious looking dogs (one a pit bull) rounded the corner and I jokingly asked if they bite. He replied, “Yes, I’d run.” So we did. My friend was smart and ran back towards the safety of the car but I panicked and ran across a field of tall grass and muddy water. Palestine has two prison systems and also nearby was a crew of prisoners working in a cemetery. When the guards saw a young guy in a white shirt and khaki pants running across a field from a dog, they assumed I was an escaped convict and took off after me in a truck. They pulled up next to me and told me to jump in. Once inside, they realized that I was not a prisoner, but divulged that they’d thought about knocking me down with the truck door and letting the dog get me. Awesome. Anyway, I’m glad to be alive to tell that ridiculous story today. But everyone has a story like that right?

What do you do for a living?

I’m a professional photographer living in Dallas. For ten years I was an art director for a local design firm, but I’ve always loved taking photos. I realized I wanted to do photography for a living after a few people started to offer me money for my work. I’m currently in my second year of running my own successful photography business, and I love it.

My first commissioned work ever, a piece called “Pop Tops” for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Pops Series.

We’ve read about a few of your adventures across Texas (Discovering the Valentine diner, growing up in a small town, fajita-eating). Tell us two more.

When I was little, I looked up to my older brother in the Army, so I would often dress up in camouflage and shoot cans off a fence with a BB gun. One day while I was shooting cans, my buggy little sister decided to play hop-scotch right in front of me and refused to move. Long story short, I “accidentally” shot her in the knee. She cried and I got in trouble, but she never played hop-scotch on my shooting range again.

My sister, who’s since forgiven me, with my mom.

A photo of my sister and I from the yearbook.

A more recent adventure happened about seven years ago. My wife and I had just gotten married and I wanted to take her back to South Texas to show her where I grew up. One night we stayed in Con-Can, TX which is a little river community with cabins and a general store where you can rent inner tubes to float the Frio River. We rented a hillside cabin and stayed inside because of a bad storm. It rained all night and when we woke up the next morning water was coming in beneath the door and starting to cover the floor. We looked outside and the river had risen about 30 feet covering all of the cabins below us already. We gathered up everything we had as quickly as we could and headed for the general store at the very top of the hill. We huddled around with everyone else in the encampment that had evacuated their cabins. We knew things were bad when we saw an upside-down boat and a refrigerator float by, and then watched as a government helicopter flew over and dropped a diver in a wetsuit into the water. That sent everyone into hysteria. On top of all this, I was the only person there who didn’t have some kind of Bigfoot truck — as a Jetta driver, I knew I was definitely going to die first. But the rain stopped and the river went down and we were all able to leave eventually. And in the end, my wife was happy that I could take her back to where I grew up to witness the worst flood they’d had in 30 years.

Someday I’ll tell you my stories from the Panhandle, shown here.

Close out this interview with an image for us to remember you by.

I’ve been a member of Flickr almost since it started. It’s a great online photography community where I have made many friends and learned from the photography of so many talented people all over the world. Of all the photos I’ve posted, one has been the most popular with the Flickrites by far. It’s a picture that I took of Cloud Gate, or “The Bean” sculpture, in Chicago. To date it has been viewed 23,663 times, 478 people count it as a favorite photo, and 146 comments have been left. So there it is: you never know what people are going to like, but they obviously enjoy big shiny objects.

My most popular Flickr photo.

Check out more of Wade’s work.


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