I'm baaaaack! Hello, and welcome to the 365 More People Pictures project!
The 365 Day People Picture Project ended on Sunday, August 10th, but I've continued taking a picture of a person every day since then. You know how Forest Gump just took off running that one day, and he just kept running, and running, and running? I'm feeling like that. Before The 365 Day People Picture Project had ended, I knew that I wanted to keep going. I just wasn't sure in what capacity or what sort of duration.
I had a definite plan during The 365 Day People Picture Project. The finish line was clear. The objective was clear - take a picture of a person, every day, for an entire year. We crossed that finish line and I've continued taking pictures every day since then, but I've been undecided if I could achieve another year-long commitment. What if, like Forest Gump, I just declare some day that, "I'm pretty tired...I think I'll go home now"?
Before I even realized what I was doing, I tagged the first photo from year two as: #365MorePeoplePictures. Whether I was ready or not, that hashtag made the declaration for me - I'm back in it! You'd think it would feel easy after already having finished an entire year of taking daily pictures. I confess...I'm going into year two with the same concerns and self-doubt as I started the first project. Actually, to some degree - my self-doubt is even worse this time. Naivety and and the enthusiasm of a beginner carried me through that first year. Determination and the reward of interacting with 365 more beautiful people will carry me through this second year.
Day 1 - Dustin
This is Dustin. We met at the Park & Ride bus station. I asked Dustin the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "my fiancé."
After explaining the project to Dustin and how he was the beginning of year 2, I asked if he had any ideas for new questions I could ask each subject. Dustin suggested, "what brings you here, or what path has led you here." Dustin, answering his own question, then went on to tell me that he's in town, from California, to attend training to be a wind turbine tech.
Last year, I asked people if they had performed an act of kindness. This year, I'm going to ask subjects if they've been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. I asked Dustin if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and Dustin said that it was his first day of training and he noticed how nice and courteous everyone has been.
"I can get along with pretty much anyone, I'm easy going," Dustin said, when I asked him about his best traits.
"To be happy," Dustin answered, when I asked his life's purpose.
Day 2 - Maria and Susie
This is Maria (left) and Susie (right.) They were walking their dogs at Mt. Tabor when we met. We had quite a summer rainstorm and Maria and Susie were one of the few people still out at the park. Although they agreed to let me take their picture for the project, they were both in a hurry to get on about their walk with their dogs, and to get out of the rain.
I asked the ladies about happiest thing happening in their lives right now. Maria answered, "mountain climbing." Susie declared, "friendships!"
Day 3 - Roger
This is Roger. If you followed along from the beginning, Roger may look familiar to you. He was day 61 of The 365 Day People Project. I ran into him again at Mt. Tabor and let him know that I had finished the project and was now onto year two. I'm so glad he agreed to be included in year two! I remember his original day. I was still so new and I had no idea how to shoot in the changing season/weather conditions, but Roger gave me a lot of patience while I fumbled through the process. I'm glad to have a second chance now that I have a little practice under my belt.
I asked Roger the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he paused to compose his thoughts. I was sad to learn that his father is ill, but Roger was forcing himself to temporarily set aside his sadness for his father in order to find something positive. Roger answered, "I'm enjoying more free time this summer." There have been several people in this project who have been dealing with some extremely difficult and sad situations and somehow they've managed to gather strength and find something positive or happy, even when life is giving them some heavy stuff to cope with. It is my hope that no matter what we're facing in our lives, we will always be able to find a glimmer of happiness to help carry us through.
"To make a difference in other people's lives," Roger said, is his life's purpose. I asked Roger what he would like his personal legacy to be, and he replied, "Somebody remembering my contribution when I'm gone." Roger then joked that he's still trying to figure out what that contribution will be.
Day 4 - Sally
This is Sally. She was waiting for the bus when we met.
"My new boyfriend," Sally said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now.
I asked Sally if she had been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. "Daily," Sally answered. Sally pointed out that just that day, several people had been nice and friendly to her, and smiled at her on the train. When we share a smile or acknowledge a stranger, it may seem like it's going to be forgotten within moments. Each smile or moment of kindness counts. If we're on the receiving end of all of those friendly smiles from strangers, we collect them and although we may not remember the specific person who gave us a smile or shared kindness, they do add up to a wonderful feeling of happenings and experiencing kindness leaves us with a feeling that we belong. We matter.
I asked Sally her life's purpose and she replied, "working with kids." My co-worker and I had a discussion that it would seem like our "life's purpose" and our "personal legacy" would be the same, but when you break it down, they are actually two separate but related things. In a sense, our personal legacy is achieved by fulfilling our life's purpose. I asked Sally what she would like her personal legacy to be, and she replied, "to know that I did as much good as I possibly could."
Day 5 - Trent
This is Trent. We met just walking down the street.
When I asked Trent the happiest thing happening in his life right now, Trent responded, "thats a really hard question," and asked if we could come back to it.
So, we moved on to the next question. I asked Trent his best traits. "I think about things," Trent replied, "which can also be debilitating," he added. I told Trent that I understood exactly what he meant. It's both a blessing and a curse, I agreed. Trent went on to add, "I'm constantly seeking," and again we both agreed that trait is also another blessing and curse. When we get preoccupied with over-analyzing everything and constantly looking forward to the next thing, or for fulfillment to come from an outside person or situation, then we lose the opportunity of simply enjoying the present moment. Sometimes we can think so much that we think the joy and happiness right out of life. Thinking and seeking are both critical for personal development and enlightenment but it's ironic when you realize that perhaps all of this thinking and seeking is to lead you to the point where you become aware that you shouldn't think so intensely that it prevents you from living the current moment, and that what you're seeking is already within you and around you. We've just been seeking awareness.
When we met on the street, Trent was carrying groceries as I approached him to ask if I could take his picture. He was quick to agree and I anticipated that he would set his grocery bags down right there, but he continued walking. I rushed along side him and asked, "where are we going?" He then stopped next to a little camper parked a few yards away and answered, "right here." Trent explained that he had just arrived back in Portland and he's uncertain about his future here. He's a little stressed, looking for work, and deciding whether or not he's going to settle in Portland. Learning this, I understood why Trent deferred the happiness question and I was hopeful that by time we were finished, he would be able to find some happiness in his situation. I asked Trent if he's been on the receiving end of kindness and he answered that he has friends who take time to talk and listen. He also has friends who are letting him camp/park at their homes while he figures out his next step and if he's going to settle in Portland.
After we were finished with the other questions, we circled back to the happiness question. Trent finally answered, "you're as happy as you let yourself be." I wished Trent luck and told him that I hope he finds happy, and lets himself be. At first, I was sad for Trent. I have a really good feeling about him but I could tell he was struggling. He's going through a lot of change but I just have a feeling everything is going to work out just fine. The beautiful thing about Portland is that it's a really good place to be when you're feeling unsure and uncertain. It seems like you just fall into the right group of supportive and encouraging friends and they help push (or pull) you along until you can find yourself again. I can't wait to bump into Trent again in a few weeks or months, and I just know that the next time I see him, he's going to be quick to share all of the happy things happening in his life. You got this, Trent.
Day 6 - Holly
This is Holly. We met in downtown Vancouver at the Hoops on the River 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Holly was there watching her son play.
I asked Holly the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "my kids, and my love life."
I asked Holly about her best traits and she replied, "loyalty and my sense of humor."
When I asked Holly if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she answered, "sure, lots of things! Last night, my friends treated me to dinner."
I asked Holly her life's purpose and she answered, "to have my kids have a better life than I did." She then went on to explain that what she wants for both herself and her kids, is for them all to be happy, healthy, and to contribute to society.
There are only 6 subjects during this first week since the 365th photo from the last project was taken on a Sunday. We'll continue with the weekly schedule running from Sunday through Saturday. Technically, I'm a week behind in the posting schedule. Although I've continued taking daily pictures, I just had to slow down for a little pause but we'll pick up the pace again soon, and I'll catch you back up to the current day. Remember, if you'd like to follow along with the daily photo, you can follow me on Instagram. My username is @missellanea.
It was my hope to completely re-invent the project for year two, but I've realized it's not going to be a quick transformation. Rather, it's going to be another process of evolution. I'm struggling to come up with new questions but I know everything will fall into place as it's meant to. Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement and I can't wait to see what unfolds this year!
Thank you to the subjects who kicked off the 365 More People Pictures project!