Every once in a while, one has the fortune of meeting someone that not only inspires you, and challenges your ideas of what is “safe” and what is “normal”. But who also leaves behind this lingering sense of “there’s adventure out there to be had”. So go out and have it. You lazy mashed potato.
A couple of months ago I decided to start a small photographic project where I would embark on finding as many guys with beards as I could, and photograph them. It was a simple idea with no real thought put behind it. I just remember saying to myself, “Let’s see where it goes”.
One late February afternoon this year(2015) I was driving home with my 3 year old son Levi in the seat beside me. We were listening to his favourite song on the radio and singing along to it. Like we all do. And then I saw it. The near blinding hue of the most glorious ginger beard I had seen yet. The “Bearded Man” was traveling in the opposite direction on his bicycle. I just had to get this guy to be a part of my Weirdo’s with Beardos project. Yup. That’s what I decided to call it. I sped to the end of the road so that I could turn the car around and chase this dude down.
Now, names play an extremely important role in a person’s life. A bad one can lead to endless playground beatings. And a good one can lead to many great things. Some of the lucky ones are born with great names. Such as, Tony Hawk, Freddie Mercury, Charlton Heston, Bob Geldof, Vanilla Ice, Slim Pickens and Dick Butkus, just to name a few. This “Bearded Man” was one of the lucky ones. His name is Ian Mcnaught Davis….. Say Whaa? Just how excellent is that name?
It didn’t take much convincing and the next day Ian came to my house and we shot some photos for the beard project. This is when Ian started to tell me the very exciting story of how he ended up in Klerksdorp that day.
Ian is a fantastic writer and photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa. He has written for the likes of GQ and Men’s Health Magazine and many more. He told me how he had quit his job at Men’s Health Magazine to ride his bicycle. All the way from Cape Town to Uganda. That’s not safe, nor is it normal. Well at least not to me. But it is one hell of an adventure. The only thing Ian need was a bicycle that could handle an epic journey such as the one he was planning. And on one afternoon while on his lunch break he found said bicycle when a Turkish fella rolled in on his steed. The Turk had just arrived at the finishing destination of his own journey. He had ridden all the way to Cape Town from Turkey. So Ian eventually bought the bike from the Turkish guy and is now riding it back up through Africa.