The intention of The Bulls of Durham project is to write a book. To write a book in a year or so. To write a book about a city, it’s history, it’s people. To write a book about a bunch of bull…s. To run wild with the bull puns. These things.
The true intention of The Bulls of Durham project is to get deeply entrenched into the unique, amazing city of Durham, North Carolina and tell its story through the bulls that line our streets, adorn our buildings and explain our collective vibe. There is a history behind each and every bull of Durham and that history has molded and shaped this city. The lofty hopes and intentions of this project are to let all that is Durham shine and beam through the pages of a book that is a pride point for every Bull City business and resident. As well as for all those that have ventured on from the Bull City and still carry a piece of her in their heart.
In earnest, the intention of The Bulls of Durham project is to capture the meaning of Bull City strength and love in a book.
The true bull of Durham is the spirit of the people. The genuine people who make this city what it is today and what it’s shaping up to be. To showcase the Bull City wonder that is on the rise, but forever dirty.
Diving head first into this project, I have already been welcomed by a flood of support from Durham residents from every walk of life. It started with an email (TheBullsofDurham at gmail.com), then an Instagram account, followed by a Twitter account and as of last Saturday (or was it Sunday) a Facebook account. Up next a website. All of this to find ways to connect with the roughly 270,000 Bull City residents.
All that interwebbing is well and good, but the true work (not sure you can call something you love this much work) of creating The Bulls of Durham is getting out into the city and capturing it all piece by piece, human story by human story. It’s this old-timey activity known as getting out into the world, taking a walk and talking to people in person. Sure to be the next big thing for hipsters to wax on about.
Venturing into the downtown area with my trusty iPhone and aged, fuzzy assistant, I stepped out of the parking garage on Chapel Hill Street. Making sure my assistant’s leash was secure before bouncing down to the ground floor and out into the streets, for a good ol’ fashion round of bull spotting. Didn’t want the little guy to get loose while I inevitably got lost in the moment of taking it all in.
We walked around for what seemed like 30 minutes and turned out to be nearly 3 hours. Capturing one bull after another with my iPhone and dreaming a mile a minute about the day when professional photographers get involved with the project. I was enjoying something that cannot be captured on film (iPhone memory) — Durham’s distinct vibe.
Everywhere we ventured there were smiling faces and genuine people greeting us. Sure, many wanted to pet my assistant, but overall many wanted to say hello to me as well and strike up a conversation. That’s Durham. You can try to find another big city with this small town feel. Or skip the fruitless venture and enjoy more time in Durham; you’ve got options.
Going from building to building, street to street, we made our way from the parking garage to cover the majority of the downtown area of Durham, getting one great bull shot after another. With the temperatures rising and his small, 11 year old legs tiring, my assistant let me know that it was time to head back to the car. He was right.
I had gotten enough bull photos to get through the week on social media and more than enough leads to follow for the next several weeks! All that, but we had one more stop to make. I had saved the best for last! We stopped by THE Bull. With the sun beaming through an open patch in the overcast sky and large, looming construction crane in the background symbolizing Durham’s rise, I captured a few great shots of our city’s mascot. My hot, grumpy assistant even got in on it and busted a smile to boot.
At some twist, turn or railroad crossing this became a gratitude project. Thank you to the city goers who greet us during our bull-spotting adventures and every day. Thank you to the gaggle of yogis who each took the time to pet my assistant and share a bit of their day. A special thank you to the lady yogi who opted to thank my assistant for his walk by leg licking, rather than getting upset with him. Sorry! He does that.
Thank you to the um… the city official who opted to shake their head and keep driving as a little lady in a dress hopped over a forbidding sign posted on a fence to get a closer shot of her favorite bull. No names, locations or titles to be mentioned here, wink wink. And no worries, she won’t be doing that again! Unsafe and major scary.
Thank you to the Bulldega Urban Market for leaving out a container of puppy cookies and bowl of water for cute, furry assistants moseying on by. Thank you to church goers who stopped to chat, direct us to the next bull and bless us before parting ways. Thank you to the gentleman who watched traffic while I stepped out into the street to get a better angle of a bull. To the sweet young ladies who asked if I got a good shot, rather than mock me for being splayed out on the cement stoop to get a better angle.
Thank you to the dozens of folks who have reached out via social media to welcome us to the city and offer assistance in this project. Bull City Tees is a great example of this, sending not only information, but an awesome t-shirt, in my favorite color to boot. Thank you Red Collective for your website suggestion! Thank you to everyone agreeing to interviews and leading me towards my next interview.
I helped my assistant into the car, his legs were running low on oomph after all that Bull City walking. I cranked up the AC and drove to the tippy top of the parking garage. Leaving my assistant to cool in the car I stepped out and walked over to the edge looking over much of Durham. Sure, I captured a pretty sweet panoramic shot, and even another from the other side of the roof top, but I couldn’t quite capture the feel of the city. You have to be here to get that and while I fully understand that, I will try my ample best to put that feeling, that vibe, that jenesequa into a book.
The intention of The Bulls of Durham project is to honor this city.
To follow The Bulls of Durham book project email TheBullsOfDurham at gmail.com and say, “Yo Sheila. Please put me on the mailing list.” Also follow the project on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Oh! And now that this website is a thing, you can check back here. Make it your homepage. Tell all your friends. Write home to your mom about it. :::Flashes Bull City hand sign.:::
Oh and treat yourself, your mom and everyone you love to the best coffee mug of all time, which happens to support this here book project. No big deal. But very big deal. Click HERE.
Sheila Amir is a health & nutrition writer who fell in love with Durham, North Carolina and starting writing a book about it.