Week 16 of the 365 Day People Picture Project is now behind us! If you remember from last week, I had the intention to instruct this week's subjects to try Peter Hurley's "squinch" technique. Circumstances were such that I was only able to introduce the "squinch" to one subject this week. However, that one subject was nearly perfect! I think even Peter Hurley would be pleased!
Day 106 - Runner with Dog
I had just finished an easy 7 mile walk when I ran into this guy and his dog. I could tell he was in a hurry but I couldn't tell if he was starting his run or just about to drive away, so I asked, "are you coming or going?" He replied that he was going for a run, so then I asked if I could take his picture for my picture project. He agreed and said, "my wife is a photographer. I understand." I'm always so happy when people "get it" and don't think it's weird for a complete stranger to ask them for their picture.
After I explained the project, he shared that his wife also did her own Project 365. He said she missed a few days here and there, but she did it for an entire year. Her project wasn't limited to just pictures of people. I'm amazed that I've already encountered a few people who've done their own 365 Day Project, or are close to someone who has. It's encouraging and inspiring. It makes me feel like I can make it!
You know by now that I have a really hard time with people-with-dog pictures. Well, I missed this one too. The guy was doing his best to direct his dog and being that his wife has probably taken hundreds of pictures of the two of them, he successfully "posed" the dog. I was so focused on watching for the perfect moment to catch the dog, I didn't even notice that it wasn't a flattering picture of the guy. This was a first - the dog nailed it, but I blew the shot of the human! It's usually the other way around.
I didn't want to delay him any more than I already had, so I didn't ask him the "what's the happiest thing going on in your life" question.
Day 107 - Peter
One of my Instagram friends summed it up perfectly when she commented, "those eyes!"
Peter had just put on his helmet and was unlocking his bike when I approached him outside of a grocery store. After explaining the project, he agreed to let me take his picture. I could have totally mis-read him, but I have a feeling that Peter is a fairly shy guy, so it makes me appreciate him even more, knowing that it was probably a bit of an effort for him to allow me to take his picture.
When I asked him the happiest thing in his life, I could tell he was giving it some serious thought. I wanted to alleviate some pressure, so I told him it could be simple and that one guy said "doughnuts." We laughed and then he was able to tell me his answer…"cats."
Day 108 - John
I had to make a quick trip to my mechanic on Tuesday. It was near closing time so I was the only customer there. When they finished with my car, I asked if one of them would be willing to let me take their picture for my project and they all pretty much pointed to one another, saying "he'll do it" and then everyone scattered except for one guy. I asked the one remaining mechanic if he'd let me take his picture and he jokingly said it would blow his cover with the witness protection program. He then walked away and came back a few moments later with John who following right behind.
Turns out…John is the new guy! I just love my mechanic. Not only are they great to work with, but they even "volunteer" the new guy to help me with my project!
When I asked John about the happiest thing going on in his life, he replied "working here and skateboarding."
Day 109 - Zach
Zach is another co-worker. You met his cousin, Griffin, back on day 79. Until that day, the day his cousin was a subject, we probably hadn't said more than a dozen words to one another. Zach is always working hard and when we do happen to pass one another on the production floor, we usually just exchange a polite hello.
Again, I could have been completely misreading him but I always thought he must be shy, so it means a lot that he agreed to let me take his picture.
I've noticed that I can get extremely nervous when I take the picture of a friend or acquaintance. There have been a few times where I've felt more nervous and uncomfortable taking pictures of friends, than I have felt when taking the picture of a complete stranger.
I started to get a little nervous when we started shooting, but I decided to tell Zach about the "squinch" and asked if he could try it. I gave him the instructions just like Peter Hurley explains in his video. I was put at ease when Zach simply did exactly what I was trying to explain. It wasn't weird for him, and unlike with my girlfriends, it didn't turn into a huge giggle-fest. He just did it. And, he totally nailed it! Zach looks like he could be a model!
My nervousness and insecurity disappeared and his shyness disappeared and the result was a great picture with the perfect amount of "squinch." (technically speaking, I'm sure I've done a hundred things wrong in this photo but overall - I'm pleased with Zach's picture.)
When I asked Zach about the happiest thing in his life, he replied, "skateboarding." I told him that was the same answer given by the person the day before. He also said that he's happy that he moved into a new house. (Zach also sent out a little code message - "SRP")
Day 110 - Mark
I was so happy when I woke up bright and early on Thanksgiving morning. I knew if I hurried, I would be able to get ready and leave the house in time to get to my favorite trail in time for "golden hour."
I was nearly to the trail when I spotted Mark pulled off the side of the road. He had his tripod set up and he was taking pictures of the sun, rising over Mt. Hood. I pulled over and asked if I could take pictures of him taking pictures! I explained the project and he agreed to let me take his picture.
Mark is just now getting back into photography after having taken a break for many years. He took 3 years of photography in high school and loved it and was re-introduced when he got a new camera for Christmas last year.
I enjoyed visiting with him and hearing about his accomplishments. He won 3 awards last year in the Clark County Fair and he encouraged me to look into making a submission. (I'm not ready for that, but I appreciated his advice and encouragement.) I felt bad that I may have been interrupting Mark's time and space, but he seemed pretty welcoming and even gave me a few pointers.
When I asked Mark the happiest thing going on in his life right now, he didn't hesitate when he replied, "photography." He's enjoying it after being away for a while.
I was going to share a picture of Mt. Hood and the sunrise that we were watching/shooting, but my photos were not worthy of sharing with you.
I did get this shot just a few miles down the road from where I met Mark and I think it's worthy of sharing with you. My favorite little trail is the 7 miles (3.5 mile out-and-back) along this beautiful lake. Several of the subjects in this project have been runners whom I've met at the trail head.
The next day, I headed down the same road where I found Mark on Thanksgiving morning and there he was again, shooting Mt. Hood and the beautiful sunrise. It made me happy knowing that he was doing something that made him happy.
Day 111 - Vera
After seeing Mark on the side of the road again, I continued on down the road to my second favorite lake trail which is where I found Vera. It was an absolutely beautiful morning and Vera was fishing. I observed her cast her line and the way the light hit her, I could only make out a silhouette. I was on my way to do another loop around the lake when I thought that I should ask if she would be day 111. I was hesitant to interrupt her because she looked so peaceful, and also because my camera was back at my car. My grandma was a fisherwoman and I think she often fished alone when she was alive. I thought, for my Grandma, I really needed to ask Vera if I could take her picture.
When I approached Vera and gave her my spiel, she told me that I'd have to slow down. She explained she's Russian and her English isn't so good. It took us some time, but she agreed to let me take her picture.
When I asked Vera the happiest thing happening in her life, again, she reminded me that I needed to go a little slower. So, I simplified the question and just asked her, "what makes you happy?" Vera replied, "my children" and "the natural," as she gestured to the beauty around us. I know she meant that she liked spending time in nature.
Vera hadn't yet caught anything that morning. After we had taken the pictures, she decided to pack up and head to a different spot around the lake. I don't know if she caught anything later, but I vote her the best-dressed fisherwoman in the entire state!
Day 111 Bonus - Alice
I ran into Alice as I was leaving the park. We stopped and visited for a while. She told me about her walking group, which I tried to invite myself to join, but she said it was for seniors. (but anyone is welcome!) Sounds like a very impressive group of seniors! They walk every morning and 4 of their members are in their 90's!
After talking a few minutes, I explained the picture project to Alice and that I had just taken a picture of Vera, but asked if she would be willing to be my bonus for the day. Alice agreed.
Alice is retired but she was a librarian for many years. I asked how many books she's read. She's read so many that she's lost count but she has averaged about a book a week for several years.
Between walking and reading, Alice is about as sharp as it gets! She asked more about the project and I explained that I post the pictures once a week on my blog. She asked the name of the blog. Having forgotten my cards, I explained that it is a play on the word miscellanea, but with 2 S's. She immediately said, "oh, it's "Miss Ellanea!" I was impressed! I think it takes people a few moments for miscellanea to register as "Miss Ellanea," but she caught on in an instant!
I asked Alice the happiest thing in her life, she replied, "my grandkids and my walking group." Alice has 14 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I enjoyed meeting both Vera and Alice and hope to run into them again some day.
Day 112 - Jenavieve
I didn't get to meet my friend Anne tonight, but instead, I met Scott, from day 83. Between the two of them, I no longer have to worry when it starts to get late in the evening and I still haven't found a subject for the day. They both help me out when I find myself in a bind.
I had messaged Scott to find out his location and when he responded back, he told me he had already found someone…a birthday girl.
When I arrived, Jenavieve was outside and we struck up a conversation instantly. I hadn't realized that she was the person Scott had already lined up, and she didn't realize I was the person who Scott had told her about. I guess it was just meant for Jenavieve to be day 112, even without Scott's assist.
When I asked Jenavieve the happiest thing going on in her life, she replied "family and friends." I really needed a recorder to accurately quote everything else. I couldn't take notes fast enough to keep up with all of her great insight. Jenavieve also feels blessed that the right people have been placed in her life, right when she needs them the most. She went on to say that "you never know when you're going to meet someone who could change your life." I agreed, as I've become well aware of this in the 112 days I've been doing this project.
Jenavieve is right-on in her thinking. The people I've met through this project have changed my life and we're not even half-way through yet. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be allowed into people's lives and to then be able to share that experience with you.
If you've been a subject in this project, thank you for letting me take your picture. I feel indebted to you.
Thank you for following along so far. It's been a fun journey and I'm glad you're joining me. Every morning, I wake up wondering who I'm going to meet & shoot that day. A few friends have shared with me that they also look forward to seeing who I'm going to meet. Hearing that others are sharing in the curiosity is just about the greatest feedback and encouragement that I could ever hope for.