Hello, and thank you for checking in on week 50, of The 365 Day People Picture Project. If you're just checking in for the first time, I challenged myself to take a picture of a person, every single day, for an entire year. When I started this project, a year seemed like so long that I couldn't even allow myself to imagine the end. I could only focus on one day at a time, otherwise it seemed an impossible challenge. Now that we're down to only two weeks left in the project, it seems like the past 50 weeks have flown by and I'm not ready for the project to end.
Let's just get down to business, shall we?
Day 344 - Jaisa & Anne
This is Jaisa (left) and Anne (right). Anne and I went to the same high school in Southern Oregon, and coincidentally, ended up moving and living within a few miles of each other in the Northwest! We had no idea we were even in the same town, but my co-worker's son played on the same sports team as Anne's sons, and one day they both connected the dots and realized they had a mutual acquaintance...me!
Jaisa and I were co-workers for several years. Jaisa was 18, going on 28, when we started working together.
Anne has been a project-saver several times this past year. There were several days, especially during the winter months, when I couldn't find a person, or it was just too stormy to go outside in search of a subject. On those days, I'd meet up with Anne and her friends and find a subject at a bar/pub. Were it not for Anne, I'm sure there were days I would have just thrown in the towel!
It was Anne's birthday and I wanted to finally get her picture for the project. Jaisa had politely brushed me off the other times I'd asked her, so this day - I finally got them both!
I asked them both the same questions as always, and amazingly, it was quite the therapeutic session for us all. One that resulted in laughter, tears and hugs. Not only has this project enabled me to connect with complete strangers, but it even aided in reconnecting with old friends!
"My son and his happiness, and his success and well-being," Jaisa said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now. Jaisa is always at the same level - you can't find a more even-tempered person than she. However, when it comes to her son, her emotions are pure, raw, and intense. Her love for him has been evident since the day I first met her, some 19 years ago.
"My Birthday, surrounded by friends and family, and the boys are doing great," Anne said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now. Anne's sons are now both in college and their success gives her joy. Anne was a star athlete when we were in high school, and her sons take after their mama in that respect!
I asked Anne and Jaisa if they had recently performed an act of kindness. I was sort of shocked at how much of an impact this question had on them both. Anne and Jaisa were rather distressed that they couldn't think of an act of kindness. Jaisa, at one point, said, "I really have to think about this, it's serious to me." After much consideration, Jaisa responded, "I opened up my home for a friend's wedding reception." Jaisa was beating herself up that she couldn't think of anything else, but hosting a wedding reception at your house is a huge undertaking and a huge act of kindness. Anne responded, "I'm always nice to people." Anne works from home, so other than her cat and her roommate, she doesn't get to interact with people throughout the day, so the opportunities to perform a physical act of kindness, are fewer for her. When Anne gave her answer, I realized that I have never, ever, heard her say an un-kind word about anyone, and she is always extremely friendly and nice. Both Anne and Jaisa have devoted the past several years of their lives to raising their sons to be nice young men. Raising nice young men and sending them out into the world, is an act of kindness for us all.
I asked them both if they had a personal mission statement, or could define their life's purpose. Jaisa responded, "to be successful and to be a provider for my son's future." Jaisa went on to say that her life exists for her child and her husband. Even though her son is now a grown adult and on his own path in life, she still continues to plan for his future, and she wants to be able to leave him with a sense of security.
"To find my future, to find my happy, " Anne said, is her life's purpose. Anne's focus has been on raising her sons, and on her son's happiness. Now that they're on their own path, she realizes it's time for her to find her own happiness. She's going to allow herself to be open to possibilities. "I want to be in a loving relationship," Anne said.
I asked Jaisa and Anne something about themselves which they would consider to be a success. Jaisa said, "my marriage and my son. I have the most amazing husband and the most amazing son." I pushed my friend for even more, and she replied, "I made it through the school of hard knocks." Jaisa has pushed herself and survived a less-than-ideal childhood, and has gone on to become one fine woman. She carries herself with confidence and class. Anne's answer; "my boys - hands down. They are happy, successful, well-liked people," Anne loves it when she hears people saying positive things about her sons, not even knowing that she's their mother.
Thank you, beautiful ladies, for being in this project!
Day 345 - Dave
This is Dave. He was parked right behind me and we were getting into our cars at the same time. I took the opportunity to ask him to be in the project.
"I just got married," Dave said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I asked Dave if he had recently performed an act of kindness. "Nothing's coming to mind," Dave said. I reminded him that it was an act of kindness that he let me take his picture.
"Never settle for the mediocre," Dave said, is his personal mission statement.
I asked Dave something about himself he would consider to be a success. Dave responded, "I'm a great foosball player." I laughed and told Dave that had he answered air hockey, then I would have challenged him to a game.
Day 346 - Pete, Nathan and Grace
This is Pete (left), Nathan (center), and Grace (right.) We met in the crosswalk as I was walking around, looking for a subject. Knowing there are only a few days left, I pushed myself to take a group photo. If you've been following along, you know how intimidated I am by group photos. Ok, so I was secretly hoping one or two of the group would push one person into being the subject of the day, but all three agreed to let me take their picture, so I just had to make it work.
My new lens, a 50mm prime, is so superior to the kit lenses I've been using. Its superiority and performance actually bring with it even more challenges than before. It's so powerful, on auto or any of the scene modes, it beautifully blurs the background. This is desired for a portrait, but not in a group photo. If not set correctly, a group photo taken with the new lens will result in the person who is closest being in focus, but everyone else will be blurred. The day before meeting these three, I had attended a very beginner photography class and the main take-away from the class, was that I need to push myself. (Yes, I know - pretty ridiculous that I finally took a photography class just days before the project ends.) I need to stop being scared and intimidated and just experiment. Having gained a little confidence from the class and knowing the challenges I was facing with the group and the lens, I was able to properly change settings and get a picture. Yes, composition was lacking, but I was happy to get three people, in the frame, and have them each be in focus. I chose this picture in particular, because Grace's genuine look of happiness on her face, makes me feel happy. I don't think you can look at these three and not feel happiness and fun!
I asked them each the happiest thing happening in their lives right now. Pete responded, "just everything in general. I'm feeling less anxious." Nathan, an artist, answered, "just painting." Grace said, "I just moved into a new apartment." Grace is happy she now has her own room!
I asked Pete something about himself which he would consider to be a success. "work, my career," Pete answered.
I asked Nathan if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot. "focus on art, keep doing art, never stop doing art," Nathan responded.
I asked Grace if she had recently performed an act of kindness. Her recent act of kindness is that she gave a gift of a drawing she had made, to a person she didn't even know very well. She also returned her roommate's act of kindness by making him a cup of tea.
Day 347 - Samir Gonzales
This is Samir Gonzales.
I asked Samir the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "that it's summer!"
Samir's recent act of kindness is that when he spotted someone breaking into a car in the parking lot, he got the license plate number of the suspects and called the police. The police were able to apprehend the suspects a few blocks away!
I asked Samir if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot. Samir responded, "stay happy."
"I've gone through a lot of hard stuff this year and I've gotten through it," Samir responded, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.
Update on the Person from Day 2 - Trenton
This is Trenton. He was day #2 in this project!! We just happened to run into each other!
After I had finished taking Samir's picture and as I was walking back to my car, I spotted a familiar looking person. As we crossed each other in the crosswalk, I asked, "hey, what's your name?" He responded back, "you took my picture!" We stopped to visit and I couldn't help but notice the beautiful baby in his arms. I asked Trenton if he had his baby when I had taken his picture. Trenton said that he learned he was going to be a father right after he had been in the project. It's been less than a year, but Trenton went from being a young man, to being a man and father. It was awesome seeing him and his new little one, and I was struck at that moment, just how much things have changed this past year. Changed, yet, the same. What a cool experience this has been!
Fatherhood looks great on Trenton, and I know he's an excellent Dad.
My husband was day #1 in this project, so Trenton was the first stranger I approached to ask if I could take their picture. Having had such a positive experience with Trenton, set me up with the confidence to carry on. Trenton was nice and seemed interested in the project. Had I been rejected on the first attempt with a stranger, it's possible I may have bailed on this project before I even really got started.
Day 348 - Tamela
This is Tamela. Tami is my friend's friend, but that makes her my friend too! We met up at Ecotrust's Sundown Concert Series, to see The Builders and the Butchers. The Builders and the Butchers put on another awesome show!
It's been close to 5 years since I've seen Tami. It's sort of ironic that we re-connected at a concert together. Tami is the the whole reason I discovered that I love attending shows/concerts by myself. Years ago, when I couldn't find anyone who could go to a Lucero show with me, our mutual friend suggested I go alone. She told me, "just go by yourself, Tami does all the time!" What? It's possible for a woman to go to a concert in Downtown Portland, all by her self!?! I thought sure, Tami could to it. Tami is Tami. She oozes confidence and she's a totally uninhibited free spirit. But, I didn't think attending a show alone was something I could ever consider myself doing. My love for Lucero out-weighed my personal insecurities and I went to the show alone. I haven't stopped since! I've reached the point now, where I prefer going to shows solo. I'm free to get lost in the music and the moment, without having to be responsible for making sure someone else is having a good time. I will always be indebted to Tamela for showing me that it's perfectly acceptable for a woman to go out in this world and have fun all by herself! It's ok to be a lone wolf.
I asked Tamela the happiest thing happening in her life and she first responded, "I love this question! I ask people this question all the time!" Tami then answered, "my family is my happiest thing; my husband and my dog."
When I asked Tami if she had recently performed an act of kindness, she explained that she's intentionally tried to perform at least 1 act of kindness a day. Most recently, she paid the toll for someone behind her.
"Spread love, hope, and the possibility that you can have anything you want," Tamela responded, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on-the-spot. Tami is the type of person who forges her own path in life. She's always had an entrepreneurial spirt. She's never let fear of the unknown, or fear of failure, prevent her from doing what she wants. If she has a business idea, she goes for it! If she decides things aren't what she wants, she simply changes course.
I asked Tamela something about herself which she considers to be a success. Tamela replied, "my ability to activate and motivate myself and others... I'm an activator!" Tamela is a Take Shape for Life coach and she's enjoying the success of her clients and wants to help as many people as possible.
Thank you, Tamela for being in this project!
Day 349 - Dustin
This is Dustin. I just spotted him when I was walking down the street, in search of a subject.
"A new baby," Dustin answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
Dustin works for a coffee company and his recent act of kindness is that he left two bags of coffee on the porch of his new neighbors! A neighbor who brings you coffee is pretty much the best neighbor in the world.
"Laughter is the key to life," Dustin said, is his personal mission statement.
I asked Dustin something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied, "finding my wife."
Day 350 - Mary
This is Mary. We met at the 3 Days of Aloha, Hawaiian Festival.
I asked Mary the happiest thing happening in her life right now, and she didn't say a word...she just moved her hands to her tummy, rubbed it, and then the source her beautiful glow became totally obvious to me. Mary is expecting another baby!
Mary's recent act of kindness is that she added more time to a stranger's parking meter. She also feels like she's been on the receiving end of other people's kindness because she's received so many gifts.
"Love, loving people," Mary said, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or could think of one on the spot. Mary's mission statement is influenced by her practice as a Yoga Teacher.
I asked Mary something about herself which she would consider to be a success. Mary said that her daughter is a success, but also that she had gone through some challenges but she was able to remain true to herself. She didn't let the challenges change her. "I'm still me."
Best wishes to you and your growing family, Mary!
Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purpose of the subjects from this week:
- To be successful and to be a provider for my son's future
- To find my future, to find my happy.
- Never settle for the mediocre.
- Focus on art, keep doing art, never stop doing art.
- Stay happy.
- Spread love, hope, and the possibility that you can have anything you want
- Laughter is the key to life.
- Love, loving people.
Thank you to each and every subject in this project! This wouldn't exist without your willingness to share a little bit of yourself with us. Thank you! Please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like for me to e-mail your picture to you.
Thank you for following along with me on this project. Your interest and encouragement helped to carry me along when I questioned myself for even starting such an undertaking!
Have a great week!