Week 14 of the 365 Day People Picture Project feels like it flew by in a flash, even though my goal was to spend more time with each subject in the hopes of learning a glimpse of their lives and sharing it with you. The same friend who had given me the suggestion last week to write more about each person, followed up with me this week with an idea on how to actually implement this. Having reached the same conclusion myself, I knew we were both on the right track. Randy suggested that I should think of a few go-to questions and have them in my mind and at the ready. I told him that I was thinking the same thing and the question that I was going to use for the week would be, "what is the happiest/best thing happening in your life right now?"
I started the week eager to learn about the best thing happening in the lives of the next 6 people in this project. (I didn't get to ask this question of Sunday's subject because, well, you'll see in a moment.) Having a canned question may seem artificial but it's quite the contrary. Being prepared with a question has the potential to lead to a very organic interaction.
Some of the interactions this week were still quite brief, even with my "canned question," but I'm going to continue with this idea as it seems the only logical way to smooth over the interaction I have with each subject. It gives me a little more confidence to be able to interact with each person and because I'm prepared and confident, each subject will also feel confident and more at ease in the conversation. Although the question is "canned," each interaction will be organic and unique to each person.
Day 92 - Dr. Tram
I love that my Dentist is open on evenings and weekends! Knowing I would be seeing the dentist over the weekend, I had been envisioning this picture in my mind since the day I made the appointment. My normal Dentist had the day off and this was my first time seeing Dr. Tram, but she was still cool and paused long enough to let me take her picture.
The shiny, blurry thing in the right corner is a mirror. I'll tell ya…this shot was a lot more difficult in real life than I envisioned it being in my mind! And, for obvious reasons, Dr. Tram and I didn't get to visit much about anything other than the business at hand.
Day 93 - Troy
This is Troy from Kansas. Troy is a new co-worker. I noticed he was at work well after he normally gets off his shift. He was working on some personal things and it gave me the perfect opportunity to learn a little about the new guy. (I think I've mentioned before, we're pretty good about keeping on-task at work so unless we spend time outside of work, we don't always learn a whole lot about each other.)
Troy is a graphic designer. He wanted to move to Portland because of the skateboard and snowboard scene which Portland is well known for. He googled "screen printers in Portland" and then basically began to stalk us! I love his persistence and determination! With so many people looking for work, it is easy for your resume to get lost among hundreds of other applicants.
Troy was persistent, followed up several times and eventually caught the attention of the owner and production manager and he's now part of our team! (Although, not in the art department.) That's the awesome thing about Troy…he wanted to move to Portland and work with us, so he took the one job available which was in the screen reclaim department. Although it is critical to the function of the entire company, it is not a glamorous job and it's one of the most difficult jobs in the entire process of screen printing. But it was a start and it enabled him to make the move.
He's since moved into the Ink Department where he helps mixes the colors for every single job that gets printed. Although he's not yet utilizing his skill as a designer, all of this experience will make him a better and stronger designer in the future. I just love that he was willing to do whatever it took in order to move to Portland. When I asked him the best thing happening right now, he replied "I got a car, a new job, and I'm enjoying Portland!"
Day 94 - "Like a Fox"
This was an off-day. "Like a Fox" was a great subject and he saved the night because he was actually a "plan b." I had been rejected 2 times before finding a great subject. We were seriously on-the-go when I took his picture because he was running late for a dinner appointment. After he left, I realized that every picture I had taken was unflattering. I managed to catch him blinking in every single picture. We laughed because I knew a few of the pictures were mid-blink and he even told me he blinks a lot! I thought I captured a good one, but I was mistaken.
So, I went back on the hunt again. I got my third rejection for the night and was feeling defeated and that's when I found "Like a Fox." He happily agreed to let me take his picture as he was waiting for his bus.
When I asked him the best thing happening right now, he replied, "I just paid off my pre-order for the new Xbox One." (which are due out on November 22nd.) His "Like a Fox" name is actually his online name. I told him I had just heard in the news that due to an error, some people had already been shipped the new Xbox and maybe he was one of those people. I don't think you're supposed to give a gamer that sort of false hope. For a split second, I could tell that he was processing the possibility of whether or not he could be one of those lucky people who received their shipment early.
When I got home, I realized that all of "Like a Fox's" pictures were showing a little glasses glare. I was so bummed! I had one picture which had the potential to be among my favorites so far, except for the darn glare! I don't know how to edit the photo to fix the glare and I'm learning that glasses glare is a big challenge that I need to learn how to compensate for. This was the least problematic picture I had taken. (I really wish I could have shared the other one with you.)
In spite of the glare, I hope you can get a feel for how nice "Like a Fox" comes across. He may be "Like a Fox" in online gaming, but in real life, he's more "like a puppy."
Day 95 - Taylor and John
I have to admit, this was one of the days where I felt like abandoning the project. Training for, and completing, 4 marathons has taught me one thing…I know how to quiet the negative thoughts of self-doubt and when those thoughts tell me that I should stop, I've learned how to push myself to keep going. So, somehow I found myself out on the street and looking for a subject even though I was ready to call it quits.
This was another interaction that was simply meant to be. As it would turn out, Taylor is a real photographer! She's even done her own 365 Day Project! She was full of helpful tips and encouragement and meeting her and John was perfect! They were also waiting for a bus so our time was brief but in that short amount of time, Taylor was so helpful and she gave me the boost I needed. I loved watching her talk about photography. I could see the flicker in her eye as she spoke…it's something she's truly passionate about. And, I appreciated that she didn't think less of me, or dismiss me, for being such an amateur.
When I asked Taylor and John the best thing happening in their lives, Taylor replied that she had had a great day because she spent it in the darkroom. John's reply, "doughnuts!" I like John's thinking!
Day 96 - Tony
This is Tony. He was waiting for the MAX train to arrive. This is one of my favorite pictures so far, and if I had snapped it just a fraction of a second later - the lights from the train would have been closer and I would have been able to better capture the "impending" and "temporary" feeling that we were experiencing.
Tony was the second time this week that had to resort to "plan B". After another two rejections, I had found a great subject who was on his way to band rehearsal at his church. Luckily, I checked the pictures after he hopped on his train. I had failed. This time, it was a combination of glasses-glare + blinking failure. Dang, glasses are tough! (Glasses and hats!)
After failing the first subject, I wandered around the MAX and bus stop in search of the next person. I spotted Tony. When I approached him, he was wearing ear phones so I had to work to get his attention to explain the project. He agreed to let me take his picture so I started snapping away.
Knowing that I had to be quick, I asked him questions as I was taking his picture. I was eagerly anticipating his answers to the "what's the best thing happening in your life" question, but first I asked his name and if there's anything I could promote. Just as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I could see the light from the train approaching us. I interrupted my own question and asked if it was his train. He confirmed that it was.
I knew I had a usable picture so I put the camera down and awaited his response as the train pulled into the station. He was still giving me his attention as he slowly started to walk away to board the MAX, when he said, "peace, love and happiness…that's what I want to promote." And with that, he was gone and I was sad. I wanted more time. I wanted to learn the best thing happening in his life right now.
Day 97 - Makenzie
I'm starting to look forward to my Friday routine of meeting my friend Anne at Charlie's. It's still challenging to get a subject, but at least I know I'll be in someplace dry and warm and I'll have a friend close by to be with me as long as it takes to find someone.
As soon as I walked in, I spotted Makenzie. She's another girl who's pretty impossible to miss. I was torn if I should ask her because she was at a table with several friends and right behind her was a table of a few of my favorite subjects - scruffy bearded guys who make for a great black & white. I know I need to push myself beyond my go-to black & white picture of scruffy bearded guy, and I also wanted to have one more girl for this week, so I decided that I would ask Makenzie to be day 97.
I interrupted her table, which is always awkward, and quickly gave my spiel. She agreed to be day 97 and among her friends, I could have several more subjects! We laughed as we tried to decide if she was going to get her picture alone, or with one of her friends.
Makenzie has her own business and it's quite interesting. She's an esthetician and provides in-home waxing service! I should have guessed this as she and her friends are the best-browed group of people in all of Vancouver. (Even her guy friends!) She obviously does great work!
When I asked about the best thing happening for her right now, she replied "working and waxing." She went on to explain that she had just experienced a break-up that very same day, so concentrating on her work is helping her to be happy. Gosh, you just never know what people are dealing with. Makenzie put on a happy face and beautiful smile, surrounded herself with her great friends and was trying to make the best of things, even though she was probably feeling broken-hearted. I loved her style, but I truly admire her attitude and approach to dealing with a sad time for her. She still managed to light up the room, even though she was feeling down.
Makenzie is a class act and a beautiful girl I didn't even do her justice in this picture.
Day 98 - Tim
My friends and I, all 8 of us, made a coffee stop at Brewed this afternoon. Having basically slammed them them with all of our orders, I used the wait as an opportunity to find a subject. I found Tim in the corner of the coffee shop. He was working away on something that looked extremely complex. Even without my glasses, I was able to glance down and see that the paper in front of him had some sort of hand-drawn diagram and complicated notes and possibly even math formulas. Tim said he was in the coffee shop, catching up on some work.
When I asked Tim about the happiest thing going on in his life, his response was quick and certain, "my 1-year-old kid." I don't know what Tim was working on, but he also wanted to promote the importance of supporting local businesses.
That's it for week 14! We're going to hit the triple digits next week! Woohoo! I now often use a marathon as my yardstick for many other things in life. When I compare the progress of the 365 Day People Picture Project to distance of a marathon, basically, we're almost to mile 8. Still a long ways to go, but we've already covered some respectable distance.
If you remember last week, I was pretty touched by Nancy and Stephen. Part of the "risk" of making a connection with someone is that when you do, they leave a little mark on your head and your heart and once you make that connection, it's impossible to sever. This has all been a little heavy for me to process. Making a connection is work…opening up, letting someone in, them letting me in, taking a picture, and then trying to let go. Even though I may never see these people again, I now still wonder about them, and wish them health and happiness.
I'm gong to continue to use the "what's the best thing happening in your life right now," question for this upcoming week. I want to learn about good things happening for people, Even if it is something as simple as doughnuts and Xboxes. I love hearing about people and the ability to find happiness even in simple joys. Can you think of any questions that would be great to add to the list of questions for potential subjects? What are you wanting to learn about them?
Thank you for spending this time with me and sharing in this project! Have you started a project of your own?
If you have been a subject, thank you. Thank you for being you and for letting me take your picture. You've touched my heart. Forever.