Ithaca is People: Hobit LaFaye
What is your name?
That's a pretty unusual name. Where did your parents come up with that?
From the book.
(Laughs) Ah, ok. Pretty obvious! Just thought I'd ask to be sure. So can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I've been in Ithaca about 12 years, I have 2 kids, I work at North East Elementary, and I have a photography business called Shooting Water Photography.
And where were you before you were in Ithaca?
I was in Florida.
A bunch of places, I started in Ft. Lauderdale and kind of worked my way north.
And then what attracted you to Ithaca, specifically?
Um, I wanted to get out of Florida and a friend mentioned it and I just Googled Ithaca and started researching it, and it just looked like a really great town, and so I drove up here and was here for three days, ended up buying a place in Groton... and just fell in love with it.
What do you love about it?
One of the things that really struck me was how family friendly it is. Everywhere we went there was like a little basket of toys in the corner. We went to different businesses like College Town Bagels, and lots of places, and they this was when they still had the Holiday Inn, we stayed there when we came, and the Holiday in had veggie burgers! (Laughs)
Back in the day!
Right?! So that was cool. I mean, especially coming from Florida, it was a complete 180 culturally. And... I just love the nature and the lake, and just kind of the vibe, I guess.
Well, that's good to hear! So what inspires you?
However you want to interpret the question.
Hmmm... Being outside in nature, and other people.
Do you ever take photos that are non-nature based?
I do. I do some band photos, I occasionally do some product photos. Yeah, it just depends on kind of what's happening at the time and what sort of... I don't know how to describe it, like a feeling, or an excitement that I feel when I see something. Like this morning there was that double rainbow, did you see that?
Oh my God, yeah, I mean, I live in Danby and I'm driving down 96B and there's the most brilliant rainbow I'd ever seen. It was a full rainbow, and there was a double rainbow. And I just had my iPhone but I had to pull over to the side of the road. You know, there are lots of things. Like one day I walked from on the Waterfront Trail all the way around to Cass Park and there are some really great cool little sports there and you'd never notice unless you were walking around like the reflections in the water along the canal... and yeah, there's just little things everywhere that are so beautiful or inspiring. You know, people, acts of kindness, things that people are doing...
What is the feeling that you are trying to evoke with your personal Instagram account?
My personal account is actually my business account and so it's kind of showcasing more recent photos that I've been doing.
I'll end with our final question: If you could describe Ithaca in one word what would it be?
Vibrant. We're a very small town but we have so much here. We have a great music scene, it's an outdoor haven. The people are very active and passionate about things that they believe in whether it's fracking or bicycling or anything, really. We just... Ithaca has so much to offer. Especially for a small town. But you don't get the... you have a lot of the advantages of the big city without having a lot of the other problems. I actually left for a year and went to Virginia for a job, and I lasted a year and came back. The traffic, and the crime, and the people were very friendly, but it was funny...I was thinking I was moving to the city with a million and a half people... there was no co-op, there was no kid's yoga classes, there was no... it was just stores. You could go to 5,000 stores, but they didn’t have all these other things that I think are really more important in life. And there's a lot of community here.