Rowing through the Subconscious
It’s that simple. Sherarts, a newly retired photography professor from St. Cloud State University, has stood in the exact same spot on the shores of Lake George and taken one picture there almost every day since Jan. 14, 2002.
He walks the same 15-minute route from his St. Cloud home to the southwest corner of the lake.
The 75-year-old man has captured seasons changing, families of ducks and construction projects. He notices the small changes around him. Back at home, Sherarts downloads the picture onto his computer and uploads the image to his Flickr account, a photo-sharing Web site.
“It’s a mindless ritual,” Sherarts said one morning before his trek to the lake. “This is one thing that gives order to my
Sherarts lacks order in other aspects of his life, he said. For example, his college office was always messy during his 43-year tenure at St. Cloud State, he said. Piles of papers, books, negatives and student projects filled his office. He joked that he found newspaper clippings from 1970 stuffed into his desk.
At home, Sherarts and his wife of 23 years, LaVona Sherarts, relaxed in their cluttered and welcoming kitchen recently. Both are dedicated artists. LaVona Sherarts, 75, showed off her hand-painted envelopes waiting to be mailed to her friends. Her mail art is sprinkled throughout the home. Some of her husband’s pictures hang on the walls.
They live in an artist’s world, and fellow artists will understand why Ted Sherarts makes those daily walks to the lake.
It’s really quite simple.
Sherarts doesn’t know why he does it, and he doesn’t have a good reason to stop. Taking a picture of Lake George is just something he does.
“Artists take things a little further than a normal person would,” he said. “Every day I think, ‘I have to find a reason to stop this,’ and I haven’t.”
His fascination with snapping the lake started innocently enough. The winter in 2002 was warm, he said. One morning, while walking to work, he noticed Lake George had not frozen over, and ducks were swimming in a hole in the ice.
He intended on photographing the ice hole until it closed up. That never happened, and Sherarts never stopped taking the photos.
Some days, Sherarts groans when he thinks about photographing the lake. Sometimes he doesn’t go until 10-11 p.m., but he still goes.
“It’s something he does every day,” LaVona Sherarts said. “It’s been going on for so long, I’d be worried if he stopped.”
Indeed, his followers on Flickr would miss the pictures. One virtual admirer from California made a video of a year of Lake George photographs. Another admirer drove up from Winona just to see the lake.
His camera has witnessed it all during the seven years.
LaVona Sherarts joked that some day she’ll have to pave the steps her husband takes to Lake George.
By that time, Ted Sherarts said, he might have figured out a good reason to stop.
“I think when they bury me will be the reason,” he said.