Hello! This has turned out to be men's week. This is the first time, that I can think of, that every subject has been male. It's always a challenge finding women subjects and now that it's cold and dark, it's a challenge finding any subject, male or female. I'm almost to the point where I need to give in to the need to change the area where I typically search for subjects. It will be much easier finding people if I go to downtown Portland, but I've tried to keep in close proximity of work in order to condense my travel-time home. I just wanted you to know that I didn't purposely exclude the ladies this week. It just happened that way.
Day 98 - Roben
This is Roben. We met in Esther Short Park. Roben has caused me to see things differently, both literally and figuratively.
When I arrived to the park, I started walking in the direction of the square area, near the salmon fountain/sculpture. I've been there several times, but on this particular visit, I could hear someone telling a legend about the salmon. I couldn't figure out from where it was coming, and then I realized it was coming from the actual sculpture. I could see Roben observing the sculpture and headed over to ask if I could take his picture for the project.
Roben agreed to let me take his picture, but he said it was on the condition that he wasn't going to pose. (look at me/the camera.) The fish sculpture was still telling the story, so it was loud and difficult to talk and hear one another. Roben's eyes were fixed on the sculpture and he explained to me that after the story, the sculpture's bells would chime and sometimes the gates open up and the salmon begin to swim. (at least that's what I could hear since once the bells began to chime, it was quite loud.) Roben told me that he likes to watch the bells ring and he tries to guess which one will ring next. I liked watching Roben trying to guess which bell would chime, and that's when this picture was taken.
At first I was bummed that I wasn't able to get a picture of Roben looking at me, but after I prepared the picture for instagram that night and I was able to sit with it a bit, I decided I was glad that Roben pushed me in a different direction. You've figured out by now, I seem to have developed a particular style of portrait and nearly every photo is the same. (You would think that after having taken basically the same picture ever day for the past 465 days, that I would have nailed it by now. There's just so much to learn and I continue to make mistakes each and every day.)
I asked Roben the happiest thing happening in his life right now and I could tell he was searching for an answer. He held a library book tucked under his arm, and he finally answered it was books. Roben explained he didn't really have any family.
I asked Roben if he's performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Again, Roben considered the question for a while before answering, "I'm pleasant to the people I live with." It sounded like Roben doesn't always receive back the kind consideration he gives to his roommates.
When I asked Roben if he had a personal mission statement, or a life's purpose, I didn't actually get an exact answer. Instead, Roben and I just talked and I abandoned the question so that could just listen to what Roben had to share with me. He said he thinks about his life's purpose. At one time, he did volunteer work with kids (in schools) and that was something that gave him purpose. He liked being able to make a difference and seeing when a kid learned or understood something for the first time. After listening to Roben, I said perhaps his purpose is "to be of help to people." Technically, this is my answer, not Roben's. Talking with Roben felt like talking with a teacher. He may not have been one by profession, but he is very much a teacher.
I asked Roben something about himself which he would consider to be a success and I could tell he wasn't going to give me an answer. He either couldn't, or wouldn't. In talking with him, I learned that Roben was a Vietnam Veteran and that he had dreams of riding his bike all across the country. On his first venture on his bike, he made it as far as Mexico, but when he arrived, he fell and broke his leg. He had to come back home to mend but as soon as he was able, he started traveling again. Roben wanted to go back to Vietnam, but instead, stayed in Thailand for a few months and then went onto Israel.
I was glad I met Roben and honored he let me take his picture.
Day 99 - Erich
This is Erich. I had been rejected by so many people this day and although it can get so discouraging, I now get a little excited when I get declined several times because it always means I'm going to meet someone a little extra special. Erich was that person.
I asked Erich the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "going to school to be a fashion designer." Erich gave me a little shot of inspiration. He explained that once he hit 40, he realized he wasn't on the right path and that it was finally time to follow his dreams. Being able to recognize this and make the leap, is something about himself which Erich considers to be a success. As long as we're living, it's never too late to pursue our dreams!
I asked Erich if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been the recipient of an act of kindness. Erich said that his partner is very kind to him every day, and supportive of his return to school.
"To be a hard act to follow," Erich answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose. I love it! Erich was actually ready with his answer and he explained it's been his personal saying for a while. Erich, you are a hard act to follow! Wishing you luck and success in attaining your dream as a fashion designer!
Day 100 - Joe
This is Joe. He was day 100 of the second project! Can you even believe we've been doing this every day for the past 465 days!?
"My relationship with my girl," Joe answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I asked Joe if he had recently performed an act of kindness. He wasn't sure if this would count because it's family, but he said he had just driven out to Damascas to help his Dad. Yes! Everything counts! I just really wan't people to consider for a moment either the kindness they've shared with others, or the kindness they've received from others. It doesn't matter if it's family, friends or complete random strangers. It's nice to be able to think about something positive and the more we reflect on kindness, the more it will spread.
"To live for enjoyment and to help others do the same," Joe answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.
"I'm pretty successful with how I treat other people," Joe replied, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success. Joe is right about this!
Day 101 - David
This is David. I met David and his brother while they were out on a little "urban hike."
"Love," David answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I asked David if he had recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been the recipient of an act of kindness. David explained that a auto body shop didn't charge him for storage or diagnostic services, even though David opted to have the repair work performed elsewhere.
"To live my life to it's fullest potential, David answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.
When I asked David something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I have wonderful family that I love very much." He then questioned himself out loud, wondering if he could say that family is his success. I loved it when his brother answered for him, agreeing that David is very much a part of, and contributor to, the love of their family. It made me teary-eyed watching and listening to the brothers interact.
Day 102 - Jon
This is Jon. Before he could even clarify the spelling on his name, I had a feeling he was a Jon and not a John. Have you noticed you can just sort of tell?
The happiest thing happening in Jon's life right now is that he just got a new full-time job.
Jon's recent act of kindness is that he gave $10 to a homeless man. He sees the man frequently and the man never asks for money, but on one of the freezing-cold days, Jon was concerned for him and offered the man $10, hoping he could purchase something to give him a little warmth. Jon was hesitant to give the man money because he didn't want to offend him, but the man was appreciative of Jon's kindness.
"To bring positive to the negative," Jon answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose. Jon's profession is social work, so he's able to bring positive to the negative in his work-life, and his job is also an act of kindness.
I asked Jon something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "the people in my life - I have a good circle of friends." I have no doubt Jon's circle of friends is loyal and large. In just a few short minutes, it felt like we were friends.
Day 103 - Eli
This is Eli. He's friends with one of my customers, Marcus. There are a few exceptions, but typically I keep my work quite separate from my life and only a few of my customers and co-workers even know about this project. It was absolutely pouring out and I'm so glad that Marcus suggested, basically insisted, that Eli be the subject for the day.
I always get nervous when I take pictures of people I know. That's totally backwards, isn't it? Most people wouldn't even consider asking a stranger for a picture and wouldn't have a problem taking the picture of an acquaintance, but I've now taken more pictures of strangers than of people I know. When I'm taking the picture of someone I know, I feel extra pressure to perform...and most often, I blow it.
I asked Eli the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered that he was happy to be going to Eugene for the game and to see his best friends. He and Marcus were going to hit the road as soon as they were finished with me.
Eli was the recipient of an act of kindness that same day. Eli just started his new job a month ago. Earlier in the day, his co-worker who also started the job the same day as Eli, brought him a cookie from Starbucks to celebrate their one month anniversary!
"To be happy and to make everyone I surround myself with happy as well," Eli answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.
I asked Eli something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "things don't come easy to me, but I'm willing to go work hard to get them."
Thank you, Eli!
Day 104 - John
This is John. We met in the parking lot at the head of one of my favorite little hiking trails.
"My daughter is home from college for Thanksgiving," John answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
John wasn't able to recall if he's performed a specific act of kindness, but he explained that the people around him do nice things every day.
"My mission in life is to enjoy as much of the outdoors as possible," John answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose. John totally looks like Mr. Outdoors-y. It had been pouring down rain but he hadn't let the rain deter him from his run. He's living his mission in life. I asked John if he was training and he said that he had just finished a 50K (ultramarathon) a couple weeks ago!
I asked John something about himself he would consider to be a success and he answered, "my years as a teacher has been a success - impacting children's lives." John has been teaching at the same school for 20 years!
The subjects from this week have shared the following personal mission statements and life's purpose:
- To be of help to people.
- To be a hard act to follow.
- To live for enjoyment and to help others do the same.
- To bring positive to the negative.
- To be happy and to make everyone I surround myself with happy as well.
- My mission in life is to enjoy as much of the outdoors as possible.
Thank you to every subject in this project!
Wishing you a happy week filled with thanks and gratitude!