365 Day People Picture Project - Week 37

Hello! Week 37 of The 365 Day People Picture Project is now complete!

If this is the first time you've stopped by, I'm taking a picture of a person a day, every day, for an entire year.  If you'd like to follow along daily, you can follow me on Instagram at @missellanea.

Day 253 - Debra


This is Debra.  We met at Esther Short Park in Downtown Vancouver.  I spotted her taking pictures of some of the sculptures in the park and figured she looked like a person who would let me take their picture.

Debra was on break from the most awesome job in the universe.  I had no idea this job even existed!  It is Debra's job to attend movies!  Some of her responsibilities are to observe the audience's reaction to movie trailers/previews.  The audience reaction to the previews shown in movie theaters, then shapes the previews which are shown to us on T.V..

Debra was among the most interesting people I've met in this project and she was happy sharing her thoughts with me. If I were a journalist and taking more in-depth interviews, Debra would have been a treasure of a person to meet!  She has well thought-out views on many subjects and is able to articulate those views brilliantly.  I'm not equipped to take such detailed notes, so although I enjoyed hearing her thoughts, I'm just sharing the answers to "the questions."

"The fact that my daughter will graduate in June," is the happiest thing happening in Debra's life right now.

I asked Debra if she had recently performed an act of kindness and she said she couldn't really think of anything, however she had just been extremely nice, near overly-nice, to the person who was working at the Subway from where she had just purchased her lunch.  She's always sure to be polite and thank fast-food workers.

"Being kind-hearted," Debra replied, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on-the-spot.

I asked Debra something at which she would consider herself to be a success and she replied, "volunteering."  Debra has been volunteering in schools for 28 years and still intends to after her youngest graduates, but she's considering the change to give her volunteer time to supporting animal advocacy causes.

When I asked Debra if she had a dream, she first replied, "to start a shelter for homeless cats, and probably dogs too."  As she explained more, she said this was actually her mom's dream and it was a dream of hers as well.  She then went on to say that her true dream would be to free all of the orcas in captivity and return those who are suitable, back to the oceans.  Those who are unable to survive in the ocean would be kept in sea pens instead, which would be a much healthier and humane environment than aquariums where they're forced to perform and sometimes kept in isolation.

Debra is indeed a kind-hearted person and her love for both humans and animals is pretty apparent and beautiful.


Day 254 - Ryan


This is Ryan.  We met at the Doug Fir.

Normally, the back patio at the Doug Fir is a people-watching dream and I've always been able to find an interesting person for the project.  However, when I met my friend there on Monday, we were one of the only people who weren't deterred by the rain.  Just as I was getting concerned that this would be the first time ever that I wouldn't be able to find a subject on the patio, Ryan, our server, agreed to let me take his picture.

I asked Ryan the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "I got to go on stage with Three 6 Mafia last night!"  Ryan had been called up on stage at the show the night before!

Ryan was having trouble thinking of something when I asked if he had recently performed an act of kindness, but he then replied, "walking my dogs."  Yes, his canine kids would definitely agree this is a great act of kindness for them! Ryan may have had difficulty thinking of an act of kindness, but if I had asked about an act of awesomeness, he had that covered with his on-stage appearance with Three 6 Mafia.

I asked Ryan if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one, and he replied, "no rules!"

"Keep making money," Ryan replied, when I asked if he ha a dream or ambition.  When I asked Ryan about one thing at which he considers himself to be a success, he said, "skateboarding."


Day 255 - Loren


This is Loren.  He's an awesome co-worker!

"Getting married," Loren replied, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Loren couldn't think of an act of kindness that he had recently performed.  I persisted because Loren is one of the nicest humans you'll ever meet. I know he's done something but he just couldn't think of a particular "act" of kindness.  "I just don't think of it that way, I guess," Loren said, before giving up trying to identify something.  It makes sense to me why Loren wasn't able to think of a specific act of kindness. Loren's existence is an act of kindness.  He's not able to think of a single act of kindness because he is an act of kindness.  I love hearing him interact with his customers because he is just sooooo nice.  He's so nice and so genuine, his mere presence in our office feels grounding to me.  We're so lucky he's our co-worker.  Loren also performed a huge act of kindness by letting me take his picture for the project. (I'll explain below.)

"Do no harm," Loren answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.

I asked Loren about one thing at which he would consider himself to be a success and he replied, "compassion."

When I asked Loren if he had a dream or ambition and he replied, "to be disgustingly wealthy." Loren said that when he was in his twenties, he had set a goal for himself to make 24 million dollars per month.  He wasn't sure where that figure came from, it's just the figure his younger self set out to achieve.

I've embellished and exaggerated the few times I've said that I've nearly blown or ended the project.  Most of those times, I had been overreacting and there was no serious risk of the project ending once I was able to get my head on straight.  However, Tuesday, the project nearly ended.  For real.  Loren seriously saved the project.

I had gone into work on Tuesday, thinking I would be fine, even though I had been awake most of the night being sick with what I assume was food poisoning from something I had eaten over the weekend.  Although I had stopped being sick, I didn't realize how severely dehydrated I had become.  I made it through a few hours of the work-day but decided I had to go home. I was so dehydrated, my head was foggy and the only thing I could imagine myself doing was getting myself home and to bed.  Nowhere in those plans, could I imagine myself trying to approach a stranger and ask for their picture.  Not only did I not feel well enough to talk to someone, but I just didn't even have enough strength to drive around, park my car, and then walk around looking for someone.  I had just enough strength to get myself home.  In my foggy-headed state, I had convinced myself it was ok to fail at that point.  I had done an excellent job and taking a picture of a person a day for 254 days in a row, was an accomplishment few could ever claim.  See, I think I was near delirium! I would have been ok just ending the project that day!  I convinced myself that I had given it my entire effort.  It was ok.  I was ok with the project ending.   I finally snapped myself out of it and decided to ask Loren if he would take a break with me and let me take his picture before I went home for the day.

Loren was a life-saver!  He hadn't known about the project until then, and I could tell that he really didn't want to have his picture taken. I was barely able to explain the project to him but he's a smart guy and was able to connect the dots from my mumblings of "365 days, must take picture, I'm not well," and he totally understood that he would be helping me out and saving the project from ending.   As it was, I was pretty wobbly and we had to sit down so that I could use the picnic table to steady my hands and camera in order to take his picture.  Loren, thank you for saving the day and the project!


Day 256 -  Blanche 


This is Blanche.  She was waiting at the bus stop and once again, the bus came from nowhere and scooped her away before I could ask Blanche all of the questions.

"The fact that you get up every morning and you're breathing," Blanche said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

There are a few stray hairs covering Blanche's eyes, but other than that, this would be among one of my favorite pictures so far.  Is it me, or do you just get a feel and a sense for Blanche, just by looking at the picture?


Day 257 - Karen


Karen's picture was taken at the bus stop around the corner from where I had met Blanche the day before.  Again, we were in a race against the bus.

I asked Karen the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "being clean and sober."

"I gave money to a homeless person," Karen answered, when I asked if she had recently performed an act of kindness.

I asked Karen about one thing at which she would consider herself to be a success, "staying clean and sober," she replied.

The bus arrived so I didn't get to ask Karen any other questions.


Day 258 - Tiffany


This is Tiffany.  I spotted her the moment I walked in to meet my friends at Charlie's.  Although I spotted her instantly and knew I wanted to ask for her picture, she was with her friends and I didn't want to interrupt.  I spent a good hour scoping out the place for another possibility but I kept coming back to Tiffany and finally just asked her if she would be in the project.

I asked Tiffany the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "the possibility that we may be moving to New Jersey."  Tiffany's husband's job may take them across the country.

Tiffany's recent act of kindness is that she paid for a week's stay at a hotel, for a couple who were temporarily between homes.

When I asked Tiffany if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot, she didn't hesitate when she replied, "indulge in anything at any given time."  Tiffany went on to explain that she's experienced a few deaths recently which have influenced her and caused her to realize that life is too short not to indulge in doing the things we love.  Tiffany is another person who believes so strongly in her mission, that she even has it tattooed on her arm!  The work isn't yet finished but she shared its beginning.


I asked Tiffany if there is something at which she considers herself to be a success and she replied, "I'm a good mom."  She has made it known to her children that there's nothing they can't go to her with.

I got an instant read on Tiffany that she's both an excellent mom and a nice person, but she's also a pretty great Blazers' fan too!

Day 259 - Arash and Ben


This is Arash (left) and Ben (right).  They were both pretty adorable and funny!  I had been wandering around the park and Vancouver Farmers Market area for a while, but just hadn't found the right person, then I ran into these two.  They're opposites in personality, but the perfect complement to each other.  Arash is outgoing, outspoken, and confident, and Ben is a little on the bashful side.

When I first stopped them, Arash agreed to let me take his picture before I had even finished explaining the project.  He jokingly said he didn't want Ben in his picture and playfully stepped to the side and gestured for me to take his picture, solo.  I snapped a few pictures of them together and explained, ironically, that I was getting a nice picture of Ben, but I wasn't capturing a nice picture of Arash.  Arash was shocked!  Of all of the people in this entire project, Arash is the only person who confidently said that he was quite photogenic.  He was a complete character!  He has more confidence than about three people combined, but somehow, it comes across as sweet instead of arrogant and annoying.  Again, Ben is the opposite and much more soft-spoken.

I asked the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and Arash replied, "moving to San Diego to go to college."  Ben replied with silence and a bashful smile.  Arash replied for him, saying, "he's happy he got a new co-worker."  Arash and Ben used to be co-workers at the Farmers Market but Arash is now working for one of the vendors in the market and Ben now has a new co-worker to fill Arash's vacancy.

I asked the pair if they had recently performed an act of kindness.  Arash tries to perform an act of kindness every day and help people when he can.  Ben had recently given someone food.

"If you do good in this world, good will happen to you," Arash replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or could think of one on the spot."  Ben's response to the question - a bashful smile, and silence.  He tried so hard to think of something and Arash tried to help him by asking if there's something from the Bible he could quote.  I could tell Ben has a lot going on in his head and I'm sure after I left, he could think of a half-dozen possible mission statements, but I know I just caught him completely off guard.

I asked the guys if there is something at which they would consider themselves to be a success and Arash replied, "life."   I couldn't help being amused with Arash's response, given that he's just getting started in life.  I playfully asked, "how do you know you're successful, you're just getting started?"  To that, Arash replied, "I feel like a winner!"  I agreed, saying if that's the kind of attitude he begins his life with, then I'm certain he will indeed, be a winner.

Somehow, Arash manages to ooze confidence, but he's not at all arrogant.  He's confident. He has the confidence that one can only possess before life beats them up a little. I truly believe Arash's attitude and confidence will take him far and carry him through any bumpy spots in the road he may encounter in life.  I have a friend who was told, by a doctor, "you're cute, your life will be easy," and she somehow internalized that.  For her, life has been easy, even when it hasn't been.  It's like that little comment made by her doctor (who was just trying to encourage her to loosen up a little because she was wound quite tightly as a teen) implanted her with a roadmap and an assurance that "life will be easy," and it became self-fulfilling prophecy.

We could learn a lot from Arash.  Our world and our life becomes exactly what we think and believe.  If we feel like a winner, we'll be winners.  "Fake it till you make it," Arash also added in the conversation.

Ben's response to the question about something at which he would consider himself to be a success - more bashful smiles and silence.  I prompted him, asking if he's a good friend.  Arash, again speaking for him, confirmed he's successful at being a good friend.  Arash then added that "he's a good Christian!"  As our "interview" was coming to an end, Ben said, bashfully, "I like video games. I'm good at video games."  Yes!  I was so happy he said something!   It's difficult to say good things about ourselves, so I was happy Ben was able to answer this question!

I had fun meeting these two, and I think they did too. I think even Ben was having fun, even though he was a bit shy at first.  I wished them both good luck in life and was on my way.

Our take-aways, complied from the personal mission statements of the subjects this week, are:

  • Being kind-hearted.
  • Do no harm.
  • No rules.
  • Indulge in anything at any given time.
  • If you do good in this world, good will happen to you.

I'm unable to adequately express my thanks and appreciation to those who have been subjects in this project.  Thank you for sharing a piece of your lives with me and with this project.  I'm so thankful for your kindness.

If you're reading this right now - I'm thankful for you as well!  Thank you for following!

Wishing you a fabulous week!  Go feel like a winner!