Thank you for checking in on week 25 of The 365 Day People Picture Project! For those of you who are visiting for the first time, I've challenged myself to take a picture of a person every day for an entire year. Usually, right about now, I would tell you that I'm not a photographer. However, I've stopped saying that because I've concluded that it was an excuse for me not to improve. Instead I'll now explain to you that I just got my first DSLR when I started this blog a little over a year ago and I simply didn't know how to use it. I still don't know how to use it properly, but here we are...25 weeks into the challenge.
Given that this is my own self-imposed project, the only real rule I made for myself is that I don't stockpile pictures. Each picture is taken fresh daily. The majority of the people in this project have been strangers, but also included are friends, family, and a few co-workers.
To keep me on track and accountable, I Instagram each picture daily and then do a review of the week, here on the blog. If you'd like to follow along, my Instagram and Twitter username is @missellanea.
Thank you for checking in!
Day 169 - Jax and his Human
I met Jax and his human at Esther Short Park in Downtown Vancouver, Washington. They were going for a walk and I suspect Jax was also on the lookout for squirrels!
When I asked Jax's human about the happiest thing happening in his life, he replied, "my family."
I asked Jax's human if he's performed a recent act of kindness and he said he works with kids, so every day is sort of an act of kindness, whether it's being there to listen to them or joking and laughing with them.
Day 170 - Brent
This week has been extremely busy and filled with many late nights. My fuel after work - COFFEE!
When I asked Brent about the happiest thing happening in his life, he replied, "I just got a nephew." He's enjoying spending time with both his new nephew, and his niece.
I asked Brent if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he wasn't sure if it counted, but he said that he had purchased a baby shower gift for a co-worker. I'm sure this definitely qualifies as an act of kindness and the expected mother would confirm!
Day 171 - Chris
This is Chris at Plaid Pantry. We've had nearly every single Plaid Pantry employee who works the evening shift at the two stores I frequent, which are on my commute home. Guess what? A new store just opened which is also on one of my routes home. This means more subjects!
Chris is full of personality! When I leave his store, my mood is definitely lifted. The first time I stopped at the new store, I pulled into the parking lot and when I looked inside the window, it looked like Chris was dancing. As I paid for my purchase, I asked, "did I just catch you dancing?" He laughed and confirmed that he was indeed, dancing! I liked him from that moment on.
When I asked Chris about the happiest thing happening in his life, he replied, "a woman named Angie." (His girlfriend.) I asked if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he said, "of course, every single day!"
Chris and I visited , since there were no customers, and as I was leaving, he said goodbye with a handshake and a hug.
A few days after taking this picture, I went in his store and noticed he sounded differently when he greeted me. He explained, "I'm speaking in an accent today." Then he continued in his accent throughout the transaction and I was on my way. If life isn't interesting at a given moment, Chris makes it so!
Day 172 - Sharon
Sharon saved us from having a men-only week! I like to have a balance between men and women, but it has actually been quite a challenge to find women subjects. It seems like I see three times as many men when I'm looking for subjects. When I do find a woman, I often just let her pass by if she looks unapproachable for whatever reason. I don't want to interrupt their space if they look like they're on a mission. This project has given me an entirely new perspective and appreciation for people who are in the dating game. I actually feel sorry for guys now. It must take a lot of courage for them to work up the confidence to approach a woman, because I think we often appear to be on a mission or deep in thought, which could come across as being unapproachable.
Although I passed Sharon on the sidewalk and she was walking quickly to her destination, she gave off a nice vibe so I quietly asked, "hi, could I take your picture for my picture project?" She kept walking past me a few steps and when my question registered, she turned back around and looked interested. (well, I don't know if she was interested, but she didn't look annoyed with me!) I explained the project and she hopped right on board!
Ironically, she told me that she had just taken the picture of a random stranger walking down the street. She works in fashion, so she does this quite often! I asked if she asks people if she can take their picture, or if she does so stealthily. She's stealth-like!. (It's kind of fun to think that you could be walking down the street and serving as inspiration to someone.)
It turned out that Sharon works for a company, Looptworks, which is both a customer and vendor of the company where I work. Looptworks is one of my favorite Portland businesses. I love their products and their entire philosophy of up-cycling.
Day 173 - Sean
This is Sean. It's been ages since I've seen him, but I've known Sean for several years. He works at an old favorite happy hour destination of my co-workers. I spotted him outside on break as I was wandering the streets looking for a subject. Nothing like having your break interrupted by someone who wants to take your picture! I was happy to say hello, and happy he obliged in letting me take his picture.
I asked Sean about the happiest thing happening in his life and he replied, "my four children."
Day 174 - Yuri
I met Yuri on the sidewalk. The bus had just scooped up all of my potential subjects from one of my favorite go-to spots and as I turned around to go search elsewhere, there stood Yuri. After we had been talking for a while, he told me the reason he let me take his picture is because he knows what it's like to approach someone to talk with them, and have them look at you like you're crazy. He said he's a reject of society. I appreciate that he didn't want me to feel rejected and allowed me to take his picture.
Although our interaction was brief, I could tell that he's extremely intelligent and his mind is complex. He speaks in a way that I would describe as poetic. My note-taking couldn't keep up with his speech, so I finally gave up trying and just allowed myself to completely engage.
Yuri told me that he's not a happy guy but when I pressed him for the happiest thing happening in his life, he responded that he's happy to be moving back to California soon.
Yuri was deep and intense, but we also joked and laughed a little. It was important to me to show you a picture that conveyed him looking happy. I guess his declaration that he's not a happy guy was like a challenge to me to get a happier-looking picture. This was proving to be difficult, as his pictures were also coming across as intense. I could see his sparkle when we were talking, but once again, I was struggling to catch it. I finally asked Yuri to please smile and look at me as though he could see my eyes. Once again, he made some sort of remark that he's not one to smile. I finally told him to just fake it and to smile at me with his eyes. I told him the act of just faking it might even make him happy. My awkward and uncomfortable request worked. If even for just a moment, Yuri's smile was genuine and I was able to catch it. For just a moment, I think he was happy.
After thanking Yuri and saying goodbye, I re-played our conversation in my mind and analyzed it like you would analyze a movie with a good plot-twist. I determined that I just couldn't process it and decided I didn't want to. What was most important to me was the hope that Yuri was happier when we concluded our interaction. He may have had to fake his happiness, and he did so at the request of a complete stranger, but for that moment, his smile was genuine.
Day 175 - Runner at Lacamas
My co-worker friend, Kacey, has officially decided to walk the Race for the Roses Half Marathon with me in April, so we headed back to Lacamas to get in some miles.
We had just finished our 9 miles and I was about to begin my search for a subject when we met up with this man in the parking lot. He said hello and asked me how much I walk. He said, "I see you every weekend!" I laughed and told him we had done 9 miles. We then told him about Kacey's decision to do the half-marathon, and how up until last weekend, her furthest distance had been a 5K. I asked how many miles he had done and he told us he did 9 miles on his own, and 3 with his dog.
We talked some more about training and I asked if he's done any marathons or half-marathons. He did his first half-marathon this summer. He then went on to tell us that he's "not a runner." I laughed inside. I didn't want to break the news to him that he was most definitely a runner, considering he put in 12 miles this morning.
He and his pup had just enough energy to visit with us and let me take his picture, but he was pretty spent after that. I asked about the happiest thing happening in his life and he replied, "too much to answer." I hoped that meant he has lots of happiness in his life.
If you've been a subject in this project, I just want to thank you for your time and for letting me take your picture. I hope that since our interaction, you've thought of many more happy things in your life and happiness will continue to be in abundance for you. Thank you!
Wishing you happiness this next week!