365 Day People Picture Project - Week 40

Hello! Week 40 of The 365 Day People Picture Project is now a wrap!

Day 274 - Mom, Daughter, and Dog


Sunday was Mother's Day and since I'm over a couple hundred miles away from my own Mom, I wanted to find a Mother & Daughter to be the people of the day.

I met these three in the park.  They didn't have much time to spare, as they were just on a quick break from work.

We had time for just one question, so I asked about the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and they both agreed, "moving back to Vancouver."

I wished them a happy Mother's Day and welcomed them back home, and we were all on our way.

And have you noticed that nearly every dog I've met at Esther Short Park, in Vancouver, has that same intense focus on something other than posing for a portrait?   I think there's one distracting squirrel who's ruining all of my shots!


Day 275 - Jen


This is Jen.  She was waiting for the bus.  I looked all the way up the street and didn't see a bus in sight, so I decided to ask her if I could take her picture.  Of course, it magically appeared as soon as we got started.

We had just enough time for one question.  "I have a new boyfriend that I like...so, falling in love," Jen replied, when I asked about that happiest thing happening in her life right now.

I blew everything this day.  When I got home to "develop" the picture, I realized how harsh the sunlight was and how simply turning could have made for a much better picture.  I was so tempted to go back out and find a new person, but I decided to keep this one because I really liked Jen, and also to share my mistakes with you.  The pros always say never to show your bad work and to only share your best images. I'm not a pro.  You've been with me and know I'm just learning, so I just wanted to share that process with you. Just when I start to make progress and learn a thing or two, the weather changes and I get tripped up again.  People who are real photographers are pretty amazing. Until starting this project, I've never fully understood or appreciated all of the hard work that goes into a nice photograph. I think sharing my mistakes,  helps to exemplify the quality work of other real professionals or artists.  Seeing my mistakes helps me to see just how great the work is of other real artists and professionals.


Day 276 - Kevin


This is Kevin.  He was nice enough to stop mid-run so that I could take his picture.

The happiest thing happening in Kevin's life right now is, "taking over a new house."

When I asked if he had performed an act of kindness, he said that he's having his younger brother move in with him at the new house, for very low rent.  He wasn't sure if that counted as an act of kindness, but yes, it does.

Kevin's impromptu personal mission statement is, "to leave it better than I found it, and to give a voice to the voiceless."

I asked Kevin one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success, and Kevin replied, "that I'm happy!"

Are you starting to notice some reoccurring themes here?


Day 277 - Lindsay & Beatrix


High Five!

I met Lindsay and Beatrix as they were finishing their walk/run.  Again, having been tripped up by the sun the past few days, I made it a point to have us move into the shade, but we didn't go quite far enough under the tree to escape the harsh sun.

Beatrix is clearly Lindsay's well trained little pal!

I asked about the happiest thing happening in her life right now and Lindsay replied, "the house we bought on Mt. Tabor."  If Beatrix could talk, I know being in the "taborhood" would be the happiest thing for her as well!

Lindsay & Beatrix's recent act of kindness is that they participated in the "Doggie Dash" fundraiser.

I asked Lindsay if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot.  Lindsay replied, "to do one small thing to better your life, every day."

When I asked Lindsay one thing about which she would consider herself to be a success, she replied, "my relationship with my husband."


Day 278 - Matt, Brooke, and Winslow


I met Matt and Winslow as they were waiting outside of a drug store. I loved the very first picture I snapped of Winslow, but I blew it by not getting enough of Matt in the frame.  Winslow gave me that one picture, but he was finished after that. His focus was on something else.

I later learned that his focus was on Brooke, who had been in the store for all of an eternity.  Well you know, 5 minutes is an eternity for a dog.  We eventually ended up with another cute shot of Matt and Winslow, but when Brooke came out of the store and joined us, I wanted to get the whole family.

Winslow was so excited to be reunited with his mom after the exhaustive few-minute wait, that he just couldn't contain himself!

I asked Matt and Brooke the happiest thing happening in their lives right now.  Matt replied, "Brooke and Winslow."  Brook replied, "everybody that I care about is healthy."

I asked Matt if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one.  He was having trouble, but I pushed a little, and he settled on, "everybody changes."

When I asked Matt and Brooke if they could name something about themselves which they would consider to be a success, Matt again stalled a little in his answer but Brooke offered up that, "he grows really good plants."  Being that this is Portland, I laughed and asked if it was ok (legal) to talk about his plants.  Matt then explained that he's a botany student and he's been able to successfully grow a rare, tropical, carnivorous plant which is extremely difficult to grow.

Brooke's success is that she's doing things that she enjoys, and she's successful in her job.

Winslow, Sir-Licks-a-Lot, is successful at being the best doggie kisser in the world.

I should mention, it's been really important of me to get flattering photographs of people.  I explained to Brooke that I thought I had captured Winslow right as he was giving her kisses and it was so cute, but that of course she was making the squinchy-face we all make when we're the lucky recipient of our dog's lovin' kisses.  She was ok with it.

I know the quality and technical aspects were off with both Beatrix from the day before, and Winslow from this day, but these are two of my most favorite pictures!


Day 279 - "Blackwell"


I named this guy "Blackwell," because we met as we were walking outside of Blackwell's Pub.  When I stopped "Blackwell" to ask if I could take his picture, he was agreeable, but uncertain.  He wanted to defer giving me his name until after I had asked the questions.  After our pictures and "interview," "Blackwell" asked for my name, gave me a hug, we wished each other well, and we were on our way.  It wasn't until I got home that I had realized I hadn't learned his name!

The happiest thing happening in Blackwell's life is the growth of his career, and he's excited about the next phase in his life, settling down, and buying a home.

The rest of our interaction is not actually "quotable," for the reason that it was like we were just a couple of friends talking.   It was less interview-like, and more like we were just having a conversation.  Blackwell is open and frank and he shared so much, I wasn't able to write everything down word-for-word.  I'll just share some of our conversation.

When I asked Blackwell if he had performed an act of kindness, he replied that he'll do anything he can to help a person who's trying to help themselves.  He explained that he has an acquaintance who recently went into treatment.  The growth and progress the person has made in just a few weeks in treatment is actually apparent in their physical appearance.  Entering treatment, however, meant that the person has been off work for a few weeks.  Blackwell gave the person some money to help him out until he's back on his feet again.

I asked Blackwell if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.  When I saw that he was having trouble thinking of a personal "mission statement," I explained that we could think of the question instead, as what is your life's purpose?  Blackwell  then listed so many things I couldn't even keep up!  He wants to take care of his family. He wants to raise a a child in an environment different from what he was raised in.  He wants to live a simple life. He would like to give back what he's learned and he wants people to value what's inside and in their hearts, instead of  the "things" in life.

When I asked Blackwell if there's something about himself to be a success, he replied, "myself!"

I sometimes forget to ask, but I do like to ask people if they have anything they would like to promote - such as their own blog, website, art, music, business, etc.  I remembered to ask Blackwell and although he didn't have anything we could link to here, he said he'd like to promote for people to "slow down."  Life passes us by fast enough.


Day 280 - Willy


I met Willy at Mt. Tabor Park.   He was just peddling into the park.  I had finished my stair workout and decided to sit down and wait for a person to come by so I could ask to take their picture.

The park is entirely different on the weekend than it is during the weekday happy hour.  During the weekday, the park is filled with tons of walkers, runners and cyclists.  Saturday, although there were lots of people, it felt as though I couldn't find a subject.  There were lots of large groups or families and I didn't want to interrupt their time.  A few individual people passed by, but I just didn't feel they were approachable for whatever reason. I had been waiting so long that I finally told myself I was giving it five more minutes and that was it!  I knew that within five minutes, I was either going to find my cue to leave and search elsewhere, or I would meet someone particularly special.  Willy came by at about 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

Just as the day before, talking with Willy felt familiar.  Again, it was as though we were old friends, catching up, not complete strangers who just met.  We said so much in just a few minutes, I couldn't even keep up.  I end up reaching a point where I abandon my effort to take notes, and just enjoy the conversation and the person before me.

When I asked Willy about the happiest thing happening in his life, he replied, "lots of learning going on."  As soon as Willy said that, I got the feeling that his response was an optimistic outlook of, perhaps, some not-so-happy things.  Seeking clarification, I asked if he was a student.  He then explained that he wasn't a student, but that he now has a new awareness of things.  Again, seeking clarification, I questioned if these were bad things and explained the reason I was asking is because I, personally,  seem to learn the most when I "learn it the hard way."  He laughed and agreed that yes, life is like that. It's easier for us to learn the hard way, and through bad things, because life presents the lesson to us immediately!  He's experiencing both good and the bad, but he can appreciate the clarity and directness of life's lessons which are delivered the hard way, or when we experience something negative.    It's like life is telling us...here's this bad thing that happened, and here is the lesson you were to have learned from it.  See how "easy" that is?

Willy's job has a co-worker recognition program and Willy's recent act of kindness is that he acknowledged and nominated some of co-workers for a job well done.

When I asked Willy if he had a personal mission statement, or if he could think of one on the spot, he said that he hadn't defined a personal mission statement...and he's thought they were a little funny.  Pushing for an answer, I re-phrased the question and asked about his life's purpose.  Thinking it would help him to narrow down the response, it actually broadened it.  Willy went on to say that he doesn't even know or understand his life's purpose.  He's fascinated, and basically in awe, of the hugeness of it all.   Willy's face lit up when he began talking about the possibilities of his life's purpose and at the same time, I could see that it was both liberating and perplexing.   Willy is so respectful of life and he said he knows that he can't even begin to understand the meaning of it all.

Willy and I talked some more, and still trying for an answer, I tried to present the question from  a third perspective.  I asked how one could go about reaching their goals. (Thinking this is essentially parallel to a mission statement or determining our life's purpose.)  Willy responded that in order to reach goals, "you identify your goals."  Yes!  My head is still all twisted thinking about our conversation.  I agree with Willy in that it feels nearly impossible to define a personal mission statement or life's purpose, but Willy's response of, "you identify your goals," makes things all so cyclical.

Does our life's purpose or personal mission statement define us, or do we define our life's purpose and personal mission statement?  Do we become who and what we declare ourselves to be? Or do we wander and discover our life's purpose as though it's been there all along and the universe is just waiting for us to happen upon it?  Are we active in determining our life's purpose, or are we to be passive and just discover it?   What I do know, is that identifying goals and developing a personal mission statement, has brought me the closest to feeling like I'm either on the path, or near the path, of discovering, or defining, my life's purpose. We have to have definiteness of purpose and amazingly, we do have the ability to define and shape our purpose.  Identifying goals, and laying out the outline of our lives, such as by defining a personal mission statement, are the steps needed to fulfilling our life's purpose.  I could have talked with Willy for hours!

Although I didn't ask, I would be willing to bet that Willy must be a creative person (artist, musician, or both) and one who has a number of different talents.  It's been my experience that people who are skilled and gifted in several different areas, are often the ones who find it challenging to chose or declare one set path.  They're so talented, their options are unlimited and they're keeping them all open.

When I asked Willy something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he said that he's been successful of escaping the burden of being forced to be a particular type of person, and that he's not governed by external ideas such as being what is considered cool, or popular, etc.  He's just who he is.


I'm not going to summarize this week's personal mission statements since I didn't get the opportunity to ask two of the people from this week, and because we were basically freestylin' with Blackwell and Willy.

A huge thanks to each and every subject in this project. I appreciate your time and your kindness! If you would like a copy of your picture, please send an e-mail and I would be happy to e-mail you!

Thank you for following along for another week!

Have a good one!