Nantucket Portraits

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Caleb Kardell

Rob Smith

Tell us about yourself.

I'm from here... born and raised on Nantucket. Brought up in the school system, had a couple beautiful kids... I've settled into a beautiful, small-time carpentry career. I love rock n roll. Just tryin' to make things work. That's me.

Why carpentry?

It was convenient at the time, but turned out to be a calling. I remember finishing my very first day thinking "This is it... this is the job for me." You just get to create anything. At this point, most of my jobs are super fulfilling, small projects for friends or for clients who turn into friends. I'm really lucky in that regard.

Can you shed some light on the music in your life?

I'm not the best musician... it's just one aspect of my life where I get to be communal without any real strings attached. It's just a beautiful, pure form of communicating without needing to talk. My words are not my strong suit, so it's great to be able to meet in the middle and make music.
I just love music. I'm from a family of musicians. My mother is a piano teacher. Growing up, I would hear all these rudamentary melodies drifing up through the floorboards... my brothers and I would absorb all that, so I think that's probably where we derived our sense of melody. Music was always present in our house growing up, always. The dichotomy of it was that we always had to be quiet while the music was being played, because all the music lessons took place after school. So maybe that's where the pent-up, musical, melodic energy comes from.

What inspires you?

The beauty and simplicity of everyday life. Gotta be honest with you. My kids inspire me to be a better person, and to actually think about the lessons that I owe it to them to teach. My friends inspire me, work inspires me... age inspires me, but more in a fire-under-my-ass kinda way... it inspires me to actually do the things I want to do. And confinement inspires me... I like to do as much as is possible to do on one tiny island... within the realm of legality of course.

What's your biggest dream?

The dream is to keep on being intrigued by what I do daily. And I am. Right now, I'm living my current dream. And that's to be in a very fulfilling self-employed position, and to be surrounded by genuine, lovely people. And to be able to appreciate all that. There are some times when I don't appreciate it at all. When you realize that you haven't been appreciating something that you could otherwise be grateful for, it feels amazing. It's very uplifting.

And for all the things I've done and that I do, there's no ambition to make one thing or the other be the main focus. I want to remain diverse.

I'm psyched to be watching my kids and friends and loved ones keep on growing and blossoming... here's a general shout out to everyone I know: keep on rockin and doing your thing! If you want something, act on it in the moment, rather than delaying it for later. That might be coming from a complicated place within me, but so be it. It will fulfill you and keep you going. We plan a lot, and think about things that we want to do... it's nice to just do things and see if they work for us.

Humans of Nantucket, modeled after the famous Humans of New York, intends to portray various members of the island community who share with us their lives, dreams and hopes.

Robert Smith is a local landscape and portrait photographer. He will soon begin building a website to feature his work, and will also shortly provide links to his Flickr and Instagram accounts. He can be reached at 508-221-6926