A Man Cave Gone Right
A Celebration of Love, Friends, and FamilyFor Goodness Sake V Gallery
“Orlando is about as far away geographically as we can be from a US neighbor. However, the hurt and harm done there resonates deeply with myself, the staff of the Venue, and likely most of our readers. We have a lot of questions there may not be answers to, like, ‘Why did this happen?’ and ‘Where did this desire for violence stem from?’ We each have an opportunity, however, to not be a proponent of hate and violence and to instead spread, embrace and celebrate love and acceptance.
I recently met a man doing just that, and it is now a good time to share his story. Ty Ballinger invited the Venue to see his version of a man cave, wherein he spends time with friends and family surrounded by positive affirmations and images of love. By the end of our visit, we were both in soulful tears thinking of the state of the world today.
Please read our story, keeping in mind and heart the victims of the recent shooting, their families, and all those across the world affected by acts of hate and intolerance.”
~Shawn Erin, Venue Magazine
A Visit With Ty Ballinger
I almost hesitate to tell you what I saw in Ty Ballinger’s man cave. I had been told on several occasions what to expect – several rooms filled with photographs and their captions, but that in no way prepared me for what was to come. I hesitate, because I wish everyone could experience the surprise and pure adventure of his space.
From the moment I walked into Mr. Ballinger’s man cave my heart was dancing. Actually, my whole body was, as he turned up the swing music and whisked me around the dance floor.
My heart activated, he began to tell me about his project I was there to see.
Mr. Ballinger has taken four of his favorite picture books, dissected them and re-organized them linearly throughout three rooms: first a smaller room with coffee, water and a guest book, next a hallway filled waist-high with boxes of a late professor’s books, and finishes in a large garage space lined with church pews and an exercise bike. The photographs are all uniformly framed and hung with their captions attached to the image.
It is a project of love. Love of Mr. Ballinger’s and love of all the image’s subjects, photographers and publisher. All of the books, save one, is part of a series inspired by the M.I.L.K. (Moments of Intimacy, Love and Kindness) project of 1987. One book focuses on love, the next friendship and finally love. Seventeen thousand photographers submitted 40,000 photos representing moments from 142 countries and were paired down by Geoff Blackwell to 100 of the best per book.
I have never seen these photographs in book form, so I don’t know the impact that might give, flipping pages to reveal the next astounding photo; however, to see them all at once, giving each attention as I meandered passed, was powerful.
We live in a world where newspapers sell best with the worst news on the front, where hardships and human rights issues are splayed out sarcastically between acquaintances, and where love is often seen as a power struggle between two people fighting to not give up their own Self.
These photographs show the other side of humanity. They show the other side of wars and walls. They show the other side of a relationship long-accustomed to compromise. They show connections across cultures that include laughter, tears, times of silence, times of reverence and most importantly they each and every one show love. Recognizable love in so many forms. Recognizable love surviving conflict which most of the subject’s family did not. The type of love that makes life beautiful again.
In Mr. Ballinger’s man cave, walls not lined with photographs are covered in inspirational quotes and original paintings, including several by Martha Flores, of Wenatchee.
Mr. Ballinger is a long-time resident of Moses Lake, a charter member of the staff at Big Bend Community College where he worked at Athletic Director, boys’ basketball coach and Student Activities Coordinator, and he now runs a business with his son selling Schaeffer Oil, an industrial lubricant. He hosts friends and family in his man cave to dance, discuss philosophy and share love. By the end of our visit we were both of us in tears.
He welcomes all of you to view his gallery, as well. If you are interested, please send your name and phone number to [email protected] and we will send your information along.