Hello! Thank you for checking in on week 35 of The 365 Day People Picture Project!
If this is your first time stopping by, I've challenged myself to take a picture of a person every day for an entire year. I had no idea how to even use a camera when I started this project and I had no real photography experience, other than a few snaps over the years with a point-and-shoot film camera.
The majority of the subjects in this project have been strangers, but also included are a few family, friends, and co-workers. The pictures are taken each day - I'm not stockpiling pictures for use at a later time.
The project has evolved slightly and I now ask a few questions of each subject. I ask the same questions of each subject. Although the questions are the same, I've had wonderfully unique interactions with each and every person in this project.
I post the pictures daily to Instagram and if you'd like to follow along, my username is @missellanea.
Day 239 - Dwayne and Maple
I met Dwayne and Maple down at Esther Short Park in Vancouver. I didn't realize when I stopped them that they were on a mission to meet up with their family at the playground, so I tried to be quick. "My family," Dwayne said is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I asked Dwayne if he had performed a recent act of kindness and he said that he had just given his neighbor's car a jump-start. He also said, "Every day is an opportunity for an act of kindness when you have kids."
In my attempt to hurry our "interview" so that he could meet up with his kids, I flubbed my note-taking. I asked Dwayne if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on-the-spot, and he replied that it would be to keep his family and his own self in good health. (I can't quote this, because this is my interpretation of my hastily written notes and my memory. I'm not sure which is more reliable in this case.) Dwayne said that he also likes a saying which hangs on the family's refrigerator. He couldn't remember it exactly, but it says something along the lines of; "be kind, fairness, compassion, and love."
By this time, Dwayne was signaling to his family that he would be right over. I can imagine they must have been wondering if I were a persistent sales person and perhaps they were strategizing a rescue plan. I asked Dwayne if there was something at which he would consider himself to be a success but I practically answered for him, "being a Dad," he agreed. Dwayne said that he's constantly striving to be a better Dad, to be less self-centered and more compassionate.
Day 240 - Molly
Molly was just starting her Tabor workout and I had just finished mine. Actually, I had finished quite some time before meeting Molly but I had been hanging out and waiting for a subject. Several people had declined me that day and then it seemed like the park was empty for a while. I used to get so disappointed when this would happen. Now when it happens, I actually get a little excited with anticipation because I know I'm going to meet someone extra special. As soon as Molly pulled up, I knew she was the person I had been waiting for!
When I approached Molly to ask if I could take her picture for the project, she seemed interested in the project but she reeeeeaaally didn't want to have her picture taken. When a person doesn't seem to want to have their picture taken, I normally don't persist. When I'm declined, I just thank them and walk away. When I first started this challenge, I would leave feeling quite deflated but now it's no biggie. However, for some reason, I just wouldn't walk away from Molly. I persisted and encouraged her that she would make for a great subject. I'm so glad I did! Once again, Molly did indeed turn out to be an extra special person.
The happiest thing happening in Molly's life right now is that she just returned to school for the first time in 30 years. I jokingly asked Molly if she had any first-day-of-school nightmares and she laughed saying that it is easier to work than it is going back to school! School is a lot more challenging now.
When I asked Molly if she had recently performed an act of kindness, she told me that she had just re-connected with a friend with whom she had been out of touch for 20 years, and is now helping that friend cope and deal with his recent diagnosis of cancer. Molly has fought, and is winning, her own battle with cancer. She's able to say things to her friend that others can't say, because she's been there. Molly is a nice and gentle person, but I can also feel her strength and straight-forwardness. I can imagine that she is a source of great comfort and strength for her friend.
Molly's impromptu personal mission statement - "Be Curious. Stay Open. We're all going to be fine." I'm happy Molly was open to being in the project. She's a kind person and I'm glad we met.
I asked Molly if she could name something at which she considers herself to be a success and she replied, "I'm a good friend." I have no doubt she is.
Meeting Molly was just another reminder that you never really know the battles one is dealing with in their life. Wishing Molly and her friend good health and healing.
Day 241 - Roz
Roz was waiting at the bus stop and of course I approached him when his bus was only a block and a half away. We quickly snapped the picture and we only had time for one question. I asked Roz the happiest thing happening in his life and as he was about to board the bus he replied, "I'm going to marry my fiancé."
Day 242 - Rob
Rob was just arriving at Tabor as I was about to leave.
I asked Rob the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "I just finished making a ukulele!" Now that he's made it, he's learning to play it as well. I couldn't resist telling him about the time I saw a man driving down the street in a Prius and simultaneously playing a ukulele. (True story! Yep, that's Portland!)
Rob's recent act of kindness is that he took a sick friend to get medical care and he now visits him while he's in the hospital.
I asked Rob if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one. He replied, "stay strong and take care of each other."
When I asked Rob if there was something at which he would consider himself to be a success, he replied, "napping!" Thanks, Rob. I now have two things at which I would consider myself to be a success.
Rob is a DJ and you can check him out at Orographic on Soundcloud.
Day 243 - Tristin
This is Tristin. He and his dogs were starting their daily Tabor walk when I approached them. Although I now love the challenge of trying to get a nice picture of dogs and their humans, I could just tell it wasn't going to happen that evening and didn't push it too hard. Tristin later told me they do this walk every day. I was definitely interrupting the dogs and their routine and I'm sure they wanted to get on with their park business. With a little more time and patience, I'm sure we could have got a decent picture of Tristin and both dogs, but I didn't want to slow them down any longer.
The happiest thing happening in Tristin's life is that his partner just returned from her trip to India.
When I asked Tristin if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot, he decided on, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
I asked Tristin if there's something at which he would consider himself a success and he explained that he cuts old bottles and repurposes them to be glasses. I was hoping he had a website or etsy shop where we could see his work, but right now he's just doing it for himself and friends.
Have you noticed how many men in this project have identified their relationship as being the happiest thing happening in their life? I'm learning men are a lot more sensitive and sentimental than we give them credit for.
Day 244 - Annie
I had a hair appointment in NW Portland on Friday evening and I was looking forward to finding a subject afterward. Most of the pictures in this project have been taken in the same few parts of town, and are of people I've met or run into during my typical day-to-day happenings. It's fun when I'm able to explore and search for subjects in a different part of the city.
My hair stylist's shop is in a busy part of town but once again, the moment I stepped out in search of a subject, it's like the sidewalks cleared of all life and I was left there without any options.
I wandered around for a while and after being declined by a person, I decided to head back toward my car. On my way back, I spotted Annie. Again, I was struck with the thought - oh, this is who I'm supposed to meet today!
Annie had all kinds of style happening but the two things that caught my eye were her metallic silver wedge booties and her hair. When I approached Annie, it seemed like she had a lot on her mind and places she needed to go. I asked if I could take her picture for the project but she was hesitant to agree. I told her I was certain she would say yes because she's wearing metallic silver shoes. I think that logic worked! If you're the kind of person who likes to wear metallic silver shoes, you're probably the kind of person who would be open to letting a complete stranger take your picture for her little project.
Annie is another one of my favorite pictures so far. In addition to Annie being beautiful, the lighting was in our favor as it was early evening and the sun was setting.
I asked Annie the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "I'm happy I serve Jesus."
When I asked Annie if she had performed a recent act of kindness, she said yes but I had to inquire to learn more. She explained that her friend was just diagnosed with cancer and Annie is going to take care of her friend's daughter. I was saddened to hear of Annie's friend but imagined that her friend must find some relief in knowing her daughter is going to be loved and cared for.
Annie had difficulty finding a personal mission statement, saying that, "I'm just grateful." I could tell she wanted to articulate that into something more, and together we sort of talked through things and agreed that "to live a life of gratitude," is just about one of the best mission statements one could have.
One thing at which Annie would consider herself to be a success is "teaching preschoolers the word of God."
I knew the very first picture I had taken of Annie was a "yes" picture, but I took a second just to be sure. I will figure out how to articulate this into words for you, but for now, I can only say that it's been a rare but exciting and satisfying feeling when I know we made a good picture. I'm not yet able to explain the feeling when the subject and I are connecting. If we're connected and in sync, I'm somehow able to press the button just as the subject's internal light begins to flicker which is identifiable by the sparkle in a person's eyes. If you can time it just right to catch a person's sparkle, I don't think it matters what camera you're using or what your experience is as a photographer, it's going to be a beautiful picture.
Day 245 - Johnny
This is Johnny. We met outside of the Portland Expo Center. We had just gone through packet pick-up for the Race for the Roses which is on Sunday.
I knew immediately I had a challenge - caps make shadows, especially when the sun is shining. It didn't matter. Johnny's Rose Festival Cap is one of the first things I spotted on him, so I just went for it! In this case, I'm ok with the shadow.. It makes me want to look a little deeper to get a better peek of Johnny's eyes.
The happiest thing happening in Johnny's life right now is that he's running two races, two weekends in a row! Wow! He's doing the Race for the Roses Half Marathon this weekend and then he's running another race next weekend too!
When I asked Johnny if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he replied, "I try to do something every day." Johnny said that he likes to interact with people. Johnny drives for a living and he jokingly said he hasn't flipped anyone off all year! That's actually a pretty big accomplishment if we're all being honest.
I asked Johnny if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one. He said he would borrow the quote, "Train. Race. Beer."
"I've been married for 12 years," Johnny replied, when I asked about one thing in which he would consider himself to be a success.
Wishing you good luck and fast times, Johnny!
Our take-aways from the subjects this week are:
- Keep your family and self in good health.
- Be kind. Fairness Compassion. Love.
- Be Curious. Stay Open. We're all going to be fine.
- Stay strong and take care of each other.
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- Live a life of gratitude.
- Train. Race. Beer.
Thank you for reading this right now! If you've been a subject in this challenge - I can't thank you enough. I appreciate you and I'm sure when we met, I didn't do an adequate job of showing you my appreciation. Thank you for your time and for sharing yourself with us. If you would like a copy of your picture, do drop me an e-mail and I'm happy to e-mail you back with your picture.
If it is your routine to read the weekly review on Sunday morning, I'll be doing a half-marathon as you're sipping your coffee and checking out the people for the week. If only I could take my camera along on the marathon! We'd really have some fun then!
Have you given it any more thought about a "Meet someone Monday" challenge in the vein of "Throwback Thursday," - where we could share pictures or stories of a stranger you met during the week? This has been such an amazing and life-changing experience, I just want other people to experience it too!
Thanks again for your continued encouragement and for following along in this process.
Have a fabulous week!