Washington, DC based photographer Eli Meir Kaplan has had an idea brewin’ in his head ever since he discovered a man outside of a Starbucks in Silver Spring, MD, who he likes to refer to as Boombox Mike.
It was a typical Sunday for Eli, grocery shopping at his usual store in a nearby suburban strip mall. As Eli approached the store, he noticed a man sitting outside blasting a boombox. This man was Mike Baird, an electronics repairman. Eli introduced himself, sat down to chat, and made sure to snap a photo for his Instagram.
Then, I saw him out there again a year later with a different boombox that had a turntable on it and I thought, “Okay, let’s do this!”
With no particular goal in mind, Eli gathered a few Canon 5D Mark III’s and a single LED light. It made sense to film Mike at his mother’s house, which doubles as his repair shop and home. Mike uses the nickname “blasters” when referring to his boomboxes and often personifies these and other objects, a quirky trait that he picked up from his mom.
At Mike’s place, Eli observed his unique repair process. First, Mike restored the boombox in his basement, and, immediately following, he tested the finished product with some tunes and a few sweet dance moves.
I was thinking the whole time, “This is gold!” I couldn’t believe it was actually happening.
After confirming that the newly repaired blaster was operating properly, Eli and Mike then ventured to the same store where they first met. As they cruised through the aisles, Eli noticed that not a single person was amused by the sight of a man in a store shopping with a boombox in his cart, that is, if you don’t count Eli!
Once filming in the supermarket wrapped, Eli sat down with his editor John Cunha. Eli shares with us how impressed he was with John’s ability to piece together the story and include quotes from Mike, which contributed to the flow of the film.
While the video has not gone viral yet, Eli has shown the film to a number of people who enjoyed it and found something very intriguing about the content. One person who’s opinion Eli was unable to acquire is that of Mike’s mother, who unfortunately recently passed away. He’s confident though that she would have loved the chance to view a film about her son and his beloved “blasters.”
Though Eli did not encounter any challenges with this project, he has often found himself asking the question, “How am I ever going to meet someone as incredible and different?” To him, Mike’s a hidden gem, so carefree and passionate. Sometimes, having a compelling story and hobby is all it takes to create a unique project.
Eli is thrilled to have a great video under his belt and to have met someone as intriguing as Mike. His enthusiasm for this project has inspired him to continue seeking out new and interesting people to feature in his future films. Until then, Eli continues with his usual Sunday routine in hopes of running into Mike again soon.
See more of Eli at elimeirkaplan.com!