If you’ve paid much attention to the Inflated Story of Noah, you realize one my book goals was to make everything as large as life. Even though I haven’t come up with a 300-cubit ark, my arks are big… for balloon sculptures. After all, I have to be able to transport them. Hopefully illusions of distance and a bit of imagination are enough to help the ark feel real.
I lived in Pensacola for several years, but, in one of life’s ironic twists, I came to Pensacola to photograph balloons before I ever imagined calling it home. A dear friend and former college roommate lives in Pensacola, and that afforded me the perfect opportunity to photograph sandy beaches (that could be photographed to feel like deserts) and oceans (that could disappear in the distance to look like a flood). Many kind people have helped me in getting balloon sculptures posed and photographed over the years, but—other than friends offering a place to crash—I was alone for the first version of the ark.
While most of the arks centered around the ark itself and sky scenery (clouds or a rainbow), I wanted this version of the ark to involve animals and people loading the ark. It gave me a chance to incorporate some classic small balloon sculptures into the book, which I thought was a nice throwback to simpler balloon animals. On the way to the ocean, I picked up a tank of helium to help float foreboding balloon clouds above the ark. Through the day I carried the ark to different places on the beach to create the illusions I had planned. Perhaps my favorite Pensacola shot came at sunset when I was able to get a terrific photograph of a miniature Noah and his miniature wife looking out from the ark with vibrant colors in the background.
Pensacola made sense for Ark photos because, at the time, it was along my route between my life in Texas and my family in Georgia. With the Pensacola photos wrapped up, I finished my trip to see family and took a few bonus photos in Thomasville.