The Story Behind the Photo


John 1

Spring, 2009 | Santa Fe, New Mexico

Every image has a story behind it. 

The ringing of his spurs carried over the roar of motorhomes and cars whizzing passed his worn-out cowboy boots as he crested the hill outside of  Santa Fe. The horses trailed close behind the man as they strolled together in peaceful solitude. A smile rolled across his shadowed face as I stuck out my hand to exchange pleasantries. “It’s nice to meet you, Joe. I’m John.”

Our abrupt meeting under the New Mexican sun that day was the last leg in a near seven-month journey across America for John Wayne Haynes, his two Appaloosa horses, Misty and Harley, and his two dogs, Sheila and Little Rudy. A journey that took him through Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico after leaving his home in Hudson, Michigan on October 2. “I have always been a horseman,” John said as he patted Misty’s brow. “It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do.”

“You know I still have my kids up in Michigan but I wanted to relocate down here,” John said while Sheila jumped on him looking for attention. “I sold off everything except for what is here on my horses and headed out. My brother and sister live in Santa Fe so it’ll be nice to be close to them again.”

I snapped a few photos during that brief encounter, including the one seen above, not knowing it would lead to such an amazing story over the next year.

If you’d like to read more of the story behind my time spent with John Wayne Haynes, feel free to pick up my book I Said Hello.



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