North Vernon resident Mikey Webb is following the eye of his camera back to the land of the living and away from years of drug addiction.
“It has been a real struggle to beat my addictions to meth and heroin. I tried four times and I failed four times, but I am six months clean now,” Webb said. “I feel my work in photography has helped me move my mind away from all of that, and I am very grateful.”
Webb recently won a photography contest, and his winning entry will appear in the next volume of the Jennings County Information Guide.
At the request of his followers, Webb has compiled some of his photographic work, which will be on display this month at A Perfect Day Cafe in North Vernon.
Webb, 38, said it was the homeless people on the street who helped him focus on both sobriety and photography.
“I first noticed homeless people after being kicked out of a previous rehab because I failed a drug test. As I walked around the world of the homeless, I thought, ‘Man, this is going to be me if I don’t get this right.’ I have heard that 90 percent of homeless people have mental or addiction problems, and I figured that is where I was headed. So, I tried again,” he said.
Webb checked himself into the Harbor Light Rehabilitation Center in Indianapolis and worked to free himself from the effects of years of drug addiction. As his mind cleared, he took his camera and returned to the streets where he had found homeless people.
“I needed to make sure I wasn’t exploiting them. They were not bad people, but they lived in a very harsh world. I guess I wanted to capture their world to make it stay real,” Webb said.
After returning to North Vernon, he expanded his interest in photography to include local landscapes and architecture.
“Before, I always liked taking pictures of the kids and family, but I had never taken photography very seriously. I decided to get serious and enrolled myself in what I call YouTube University. I spent hours and hours studying the Web for information about photography,” he said.
Webb created a Facebook page to display his photography and has received many requests for his work.
“I couldn’t understand why they liked it so much, but it did make me feel good about what I was doing,” he said.
Webb plans to use his photography to document historic structures throughout Jennings County.
“Buildings fascinate me. People build structures, and then the buildings just stand there silently waiting for life to come through them,” he said.
Webb wants to stay focused on his sobriety for his sake and for his children, Payton and Mikayla.
“I had lost everything, but now I think I have come a long way in the last six months. I cannot say enough good things about Harbor Light, they really helped me, but I think the photography really helped me move forward, too,” Webb said.
“It’s funny the things addicts do along their road to recovery, but everybody can do this in their own way. It is possible.”
WHAT: Public photography display by Mikey Webb
WHEN: Wednesday through March 30
WHERE: A Perfect Day Cafe, 221 E. Walnut St., North Vernon, during business hours most days 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
OF INTEREST: Webb’s Facebook page, “Webb’s Professional Photography”