Hello, and thank you for checking in on week 49 of The 365 Day People Picture Project. Can you believe we only have 3 weeks left? I get teary-eyed when I think about the project ending. I know it seems silly, but I can't help it. The tears seem to come from someplace where I don't have the ability to turn off the spigot. Again, it is very much like a marathon. I don't know what it is, but tears just happen and they seem to happen anywhere from around mile 21, all the way through the finish line.
I have a very athletic, manly-man friend who's completed a few marathons and right before my first, he prepared me that there will be waterworks. He told me he cried like a little baby as he was finishing his first marathon! It's just such a labor of love, and you give so much of yourself...the tears just happen. Given my manly-man friend cried, I figured it was ok when I cried too. These project-is-ending tears must be coming from that same well from which the marathon tears flow. The end is in sight. I want to finish strong. Although every cell in my body wants to cross that finish line, I also don't want this feeling to end.
Day 337 - Jami, my Sister
I made another quick trip home to Southern Oregon last weekend and after two, back-to-back, trips home, I've realized I need to make the trip more often. Weeks turn into months, and months turn into years, and it's been years since I had last seen my Sister.
I asked Jami the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "seeing you." We laughed and I persisted because I wanted to learn the real scoop. Jami then said, "the success of my children."
I asked Jami if she had recently performed an act of kindness and she jokingly responded, "I'm ornerier than heck!" Again we laughed. Jami said that she lets people go in front of her at the grocery store, and that she let elders go in front of her in the food line at a gathering we had just attended the day before.
I asked Jami if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot, and she replied, "to have empathy for others, and to grow on a daily basis." Jami went on to say that she's trying to look beyond herself, in attempt to see the perspective of others.
"I never give up," Jami said, is something about herself which she would consider to be a success. She then questioned her answer, saying she's not sure if that's good or bad. Jami and I share that trait and I understand it can be both a blessing and a curse.
Technically, Jami is my half-sister and she lived in California when I was growing up. I can recall two specific pictures which sparked my fascination with photography, before I even knew I had one. One of the those photographs was of Jami. I think the picture must have been taken by my Dad, or one of my Brothers. Jami had the most perfect 70's hair - long with a center-part. I looked at that picture often since I didn't have Jami close in proximity. I looked at that picture so often, my memory of how Jami looked was replaced by my memory of how she looked in that picture. The photograph became Jami, and Jami became the photograph. It's difficult to explain, but maybe you understand exactly what I'm talking about. Before the project ends, I'll share with you the other picture which piqued my interest in photography.
Jami - I love you, and thank you for being in the project!
Day 338 - Isis Estela
This is Isis. We met just walking down the street. I asked Isis the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "just moving here." Isis is new to Portland, having just arrived from Seattle.
I asked Isis if she had recently performed an act of kindness and she explained that she's editing a book for a friend. Wow! That's quite a laborious act of kindness and I'm sure her friend must be grateful! You can read some of Isis' writing on her blog.
"Love, laugh, learn, live," Isis replied, is her personal mission statement.
I asked Isis one thing about herself which she would consider to be a success and she replied, "my life up until now."
Wishing Isis lots of luck and happiness in Portland!
Day 339 - Kaely & Jake
This is Kaely & Jake. They were waiting for a friend to arrive at Mt. Tabor park.
I asked Kaely the happiest thing happening in her life right now and after much consideration, she replied, "the summer and the sunshine!" I'm noticing when people answer, "summer", it's like a catch-all for all of the events, activities, happiness and good times we have during the summer months.
The most recent act of kindness which Kaely could recall performing, was that she held the door open for a person who had their hands full.
I asked Kaely if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot. Kaely explained that while on a recent hike with friends, they spent time defining their personal mission statement and life's purpose. Kaely answered, "to tread lightly, make the most of every day, and to make things easier for others."
One thing about herself which Kaely would consider to be a success, is her involvement with the Forest Grove Farmers Market. Kaely manages the market and she's enjoyed seeing it evolve from a small farmers market, into a large community event.
Day 340 - Andrew
This is Andrew. We met outside of Velo Cult as I was walking by in search of a subject.
"Cooking and moving to Portland," Andrew said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now. Andrew is a chef, in town from Austin, and he'll soon be moving to Portland. While in town, he staged ("tried out") as a chef at one of Portland's most popular restaurants. He knows he won't be working there as they're at capacity, but he's optimistic he met a few excellent connections and his networking will result in a job soon!
I asked Andrew if he had recently performed an act of kindness. Andrew said that he was an Eagle Scout and they're to "do a good turn daily." Andrew's most recent act of kindness is that he complimented a man on his bike, and then struck up a conversation with the stranger. They ended up having a lengthy conversation. Andrew is quite personable and friendly, so I can imagine he maintains the "do a good turn daily" code, simply by being himself.
"Go with motivated people," Andrew replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement. This is such good advice! When you surround yourself with people who make things happen, you can't help but to absorb some of their energy and you'll soon find that you're also making things happen for yourself!
I asked Andrew one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success. He replied, "my knives are sharp." Ha! I don't know much about cooking, but I do know that a good chef takes care of his knives as they're critical tools for their trade. Andrew said he had the sharpest knives at the tryouts!
Wishing you luck and success, Andrew!
Day 341 - Carl and Max
This is Carl (left) and Max (right.) They were just finishing up their job canvasing outside the library. I was still smiling hours after meeting these two!
I asked the two the happiest thing happening in their lives right now. Carl answered, "hanging out with this other free spirit I met recently." Max explained that although he's currently between employment, he's taking it as a blessing and as an opportunity to find something he really wants to do. I love Max's optimism and that he's finding a silver lining, even in a difficult time. I have no doubt he'll soon find the perfect job!
I asked the guys if they had recently performed an act of kindness. Carl replied, "I gave a homeless person change today." Carl then explained that he's generally a nice person. He smiles at people and tells them he loves them. Max said, "I've been a much better son to my Mother." After talking with the guys a while, and answering their questions about this project, Carl said, "I love you for doing this." Carl genuinely loves people. When he said he tells people he loves them, he wasn't just talking about friends and family. I have no doubt that he tells complete strangers that he loves them, because I experienced it! Part of this project, for me, has been about rediscovering love for people and restoring my faith in people. I'm not quite as evolved as Carl yet, so in response to his statement, I said, "I love the interaction we're having."
I asked the two if they had a personal mission statement, or if they could define their life's purpose. Carl responded, "to be the most wonderful, loving father in the world." Max replied, "whether I fail or succeed, I'd like to make a positive difference in the world."
When I asked something about themselves they would consider to be a success, Carl responded, "I broke my family's cycle of abuse." Max answered, "that I've made it to age 20 without being a very rude and angry person."
I almost didn't approach Carl and Max because there were two of them. You know how I struggle with group pictures - even when it's just a group of two. I'm so glad I set aside my apprehension and approached these two! We pass by so many strangers on any given day, but if we only stopped to interact with some of those friends we haven't met yet, we might just find they will change our lives. Or, perhaps we will change theirs. At the very least, we can start a little ripple of happiness.
Day 342 - Reanna
This is Reanna. She was waiting for the bus when we met.
"I'm a Mom of a 2 year old," Reanna answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.
When I asked Reanna if she had recently performed an act of kindness, she said that she does little things all the time but she was having trouble thinking of an answer. Then it hit her, "I bought a friend a milkshake!"
"Being the best that I can be, not just for myself, but for my Son," Reanna answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or could define her life's purpose. Reanna then clarified that everything she does, is for her Son.
"I'm a good Mom, and the fact that I can see the glass is half-full," Reanna answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.
Day 343 - Ralph
This is Ralph. He was passing time at the park along the Columbia River, while he was waiting to meet a blind date at a restaurant down the way.
When I asked Ralph the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he joked that maybe it was about to happen! He then went on to say that his Dad gave him a musical education when he was younger and it still brings him happiness. He had just played the night before.
I asked Ralph if he had recently performed an act of kindness. Ralph's profession gives him the opportunity to give kindness. He helps people to feel better. He performs body work, massage, and acupuncture.
"Help deserving people," Ralph answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement.
"I've retained my inner child," Ralph answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success. Ralph's date is in for a fun evening with this young-at-heart man!
Ralph was so nice and personable, I'm confident his date was a success. At least on his part! I got a chuckle after leaving Ralph, thinking that if any awkward silence happened during the date, maybe Ralph could fill it by telling his date how he had just been photographed and interviewed by a complete stranger in the park.
I turned a corner with Ralph. This is one of my favorite pictures. Well, I guess we'll see if I've truly turned that corner or if I was just lucky with Ralph. I got a new lens, and finally forced myself out of my comfort zone and changed some camera settings. It's been so intimidating to experiment with camera settings during this project. For one, I simply don't know what I'm doing. Secondly, I'm usually under intense time pressures to get in, get a picture, and get out. People don't have all day for me to figure out my camera, or I've had to race to get a picture before their bus arrived. I also can't afford to fail. I had to get a shot, every single day! All of this pressure and lack of knowledge and practice, caused me to get quite complacent where I was and prevented me from trying to improve. I've been reading and studying so much, it was time I finally implemented some of what I've been learning. I'm pleased with the result and I'm so excited to finish out these next few weeks. I had a little more time with Ralph than I have with most people, but I'm going to continue to push to see if I can get some marked improvement these last three weeks.
Here's a summary of the life's purpose and/or personal mission statements from this week's subjects:
- To have empathy for others, and to grow on a daily basis.
- Love, laugh, learn, live.
- To tread lightly, make the most of every day, and to make things easier for others.
- Go with motivated people.
- To be the most wonderful, loving father in the world.
- Whether I fail or succeed, I'd like to make a positive difference in the world.
- Being the best that I can be, not just for myself, but for my Son.
- Help deserving people.
Thank you to all of the subjects in this project! Thank you for your kindness in letting me take your picture, and for sharing a little of yourself with us.
Thank you for following along another week! Do you have any ideas for me? What would you like to see next? I welcome your input and would love to hear any ideas you may have for the next 365 days!
Wishing you an awesome week!