Hello and welcome to week 2 of the 365 More People Pictures project! This post is actually a review of the subjects from two weeks ago. I'm still taking a picture of a person every day, and I post those pictures to Instagram. If you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellana. I'm not behind in the daily pictures, I'm just behind in sharing them with you here on the blog. We'll catch us up soon!
Day 7 - Jeff
This is Jeff. He was sitting outside on the patio of a Starbucks when I approached to ask if I could take his picture.
It wasn't until I sat down at Jeff's table that I noticed a HUGE backpack sitting next to him. I asked if he was traveling. Jeff explained that he's from France. Jeff is backpacking and hitchhiking from Calgary to Ecuador. Jeff was waiting at Starbucks for his Vancouver USA host, Tabatha, to pick him up for the night.
I asked Jeff the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he responded, "the fact that I'm changing countries."
I asked Jeff if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and right then, Tabatha showed up. They quickly introduced themselves, I told Tabitha that we'd be quick, and then Jeff answered that he's on the receiving end of Tabatha's kindness right now. They had never met, but Tabitha was going to host him for the night. I suspect with the huge trip ahead of him, Jeff will experience kindness all the way to Ecuador.
I asked Jeff if he had a life's purpose. "To find a purpose," Jeff answered. Thinking about Jeff and his Journey to Ecuador, reminded me of Santiago, in "The Alchemist." I imagine Jeff traveling in search of his Personal Legend.
"I just graduated from engineering school," Jeff answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success. With that, Jeff and his newfound friend, Tabatha, were on their way.
Day 8 - Charlene
This is Charlene. Surprisingly, I was having a challenging time finding a subject down at Portland's Waterfront Park. I had already been rejected and had been wandering around for a while when I finally spotted Charlene. She was photographing the Portland skyline. I've always had great luck with photographers and haven't been refused by one yet. Who else would better understand the randomness of a complete stranger approaching them to ask for a picture?
I learned that Charlene is a professional photographer. I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "my son is starting Junior High."
Charlene was on the receiving end of an act of kindness just the day before, when a friend had given her an art print with the saying, "don't ever let anyone take your sparkle." It was a particularly thoughtful and meaningful gift because the friend knew it would remind Charlene of her mother who had passed away. Charlene and her Mom shared a little saying, inspired by Shirley Temple and her mom. Shirley Temple's mom used to say to Shirley, "Sparkle, Shirley, Sparkle." Charlene was given the same loving instructions from her own mom, "Sparkle, Charlene, Sparkle."
After hearing Charlene's great story, I told her that "sparkle" is a bit of coincidence for us both. I explained to Charlene that I'm not a real photographer. I'm just learning and even after taking a picture every day for a year, I still know so little about photography. I told Charlene that in order to compensate for my lack of technical knowledge, I've been approaching photography from an emotional angle. I've simplified things in my mind and my objective has been simply to try to capture a person's sparkle.
I asked Charlene if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot. Charlene said that her personal and professional mission are intertwined - "the art of love." Charlene explained that she "photographs things that show love." When she's shooting pictures, she's mindful that she's capturing someone special. She's capturing someone's wife, girlfriend, or mom... and she's taking those pictures for someone special in their life. She wants the love to show and she wants their someone special to feel love.
"I made my Mom's life happier," Charlene answered, when I asked something about herself which she considers to be a success. Before she passed, Charlene's Mom told her once that the past 27 years had been the happiest days of her life. Charlene knew how much she was loved and her mom knew how much she was loved in return. I loved Charlene's mom's play on words and it reminded me of my own mom.
I loved meeting Charlene and can't help thinking it was meant to be. On days which it has been particularly difficult to find a subject, I always end up meeting someone who leaves a lasting memory and I always end up thinking, so this was who I was supposed to meet today. Charlene and I are similar in a few ways and it's amazing to me that she was a complete stranger, yet we connected immediately.
Wishing you lots of success in The Art of Love.
Day 9 - Matt
This is Matt. I like this picture because I can totally envision it on the back of a book jacket. I don't even know if Matt has plans to write a book, but looking at this makes me think that he has interesting and important things to tell us.
"My new car," Matt responded, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now. I don't know for sure, but it looked like he could have just driven it off the lot that day. She was a beauty!
I asked Matt if he had been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and he was certain that he's frequently on the receiving end of kindness. The most recent thing to come to mind was that his Mom had just bough him kettle corn at the fair. I thought this was such a cute answer. Even as grown adults, our mom buying us treats at the fair is still one of life's greatest simple pleasures.
When I asked Matt if he had a personal mission statement, he answered with his personal mantra -"love, happiness, success and longevity."
"The position I'm in at my job," Matt answered, is a personal accomplishment that he didn't think he'd be able to achieve.
Day 10 - Karefan
This is Karefan. He was waiting at the Park & Ride bus station when we met.
When I asked Karefan about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he responded, "that's a good question." He considered the question for a while, long enough that I was starting to feel sad that he couldn't think of something, but then he finally answered, "coming to USA." Karefan and most of his family moved here from Ukraine this past year.
I asked Karefan about some of his good traits. He couldn't, or wouldn't, answer. Instead, he asked me what I thought his good traits could be. I persisted, explaining I wanted to hear it from him. He finally answered that he's a hard worker. I only talked with Karefan for a few moments, but I think one positive trait is that Karafan is an extremely nice person. Although Karefan speaks english, there's still a bit of a language barrier and he's in a foreign country. I would imagine it would be easy to isolate yourself under those challenges, but Karefan is nice and friendly.
One thing about himself which he considers to be a success is that he's starting college soon!
Wishing Karefan and his family happiness and success here.
Day 11 - Adam
This is Adam. I met Adam several years ago at Sam's Billiards. He's a tattoo artist and I was happy to bump into him again. I asked Adam about the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he responded, "my daughter."
I asked Adam if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and he answered that his friend has been helping him out with childcare.
"To be honest and creative," Adam answered, is his personal mission statement.
One thing about himself which Adam considers to be a success, is his relationship with his parents and family.
You can check out Adam at Anatomy Tattoo.
Day 12 - Cameron
This is Cameron. He's a new co-worker and were it not for this project, I'm not sure how much time would have passed before we had the opportunity to get to know one another. Our work is extremely busy and intense so we don't get much time to visit.
I asked Cameron the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "change." Cameron recently moved to Portland from San Diego. Cameron has known since he was 12 years old that he wanted to move to Portland. He knew, even at that young age, that San Diego didn't offer him what he needed and he thought there's something unique in Portland which you can't get anywhere else. I know exactly what Cameron was trying to describe. I think I was probably the same age on my first visit to Portland. My mom drove me and another friend here to compete in the Junior Olympics and as we crossed over the Marquam Bridge and I saw the city for the first time, I just knew I wanted to live in Portland. (Ironically, the only other city to excite me in the same way, was San Diego.)
I asked Cameron if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Cameron explained, "basically, Portland is nice." He went on to say that every day he experiences some sort of kindness. Even something as simple as giving someone a cigarette opens the door to having a great interaction with a stranger. It's the little things the people of Portland do which makes Cameron feel like he's experiencing kindness. People stop and say hi, and talk to one another.
I asked Cameron if he had a personal mission statement or if he could make one up on the spot. He lifted his arm and on his wrist I read the tattoo, "PMA." In unison, we both said, "positive mental attitude!" I loved this!!! I told Cameron about my high school volleyball coach, who at random times, would yell - "how's your PMA?" Our response was to be an enthusiastic shout back, "boy am I enthusiastic!" To this day, I give myself, "PMA checks" and yes, in my mind I answer back, "boy am I enthusiastic!" As I'm typing these words, it just hit me. Our Coach's random PMA checks weren't random at all. She would shout that when we were anything but enthusiastic. If you give this a try, you'll find out that it's impossible not to have a spike in enthusiasm after just yelling, "BOY AM I ENTHUSIASTIC!" Go on, try it. See what I mean? Instant attitude adjustment, right? I love Cameron's tattoo and now when I see him, I will stop and check myself for a positive mental attitude.
I wanted to share Cameron's tattoo with you, but as you can see - I'm still fumbling through getting the aperture correct. My new lens is such a high- performer, I have to get it just right or it will blur too much of the background, or too much of the foreground. It's beyond my skill level but I'm learning to be deliberate and to change the aperture when I want to get both the background and foreground. Clearly, I'm learning the hard way as I didn't quite get it on this. I'm getting a good grasp when it comes to taking a portrait of a single person, but I have to work at everything else. They were still cool pictures and if I hadn't told you they were mistakes, you'd might even think they were cool too.
I asked Cameron something about himself which he considers to be a success. "Who I am," Cameron answered, "I don't wan't that to sound braggadocious." Cameron feels like he's able to make it through the ups and downs that life gives us and he added: "We have to adapt. We have to move on. We have to keep going. As long as you're breathing, life will keep going. I refuse to wake up and say, this is it - this is the end."
Aaah... good stuff. I'm really liking our new co-worker! Wishing you lots of success and happiness here, Cameron!
Day 13 - Melvin
This is Melvin. He was sitting outside the mall, looking exhausted, when we met. I learned it was because his wife was still inside shopping.
"I'm alive and healthy and above ground," Melvin answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. This is one of my favorite answers and is parallel to what Cameron had say the day prior. No matter how tough things may be, life will keep going as long as we're breathing. When we wake to live another day, we have the opportunity to get better, no matter how challenging things may be.
I asked Melvin if he had been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and he explained that he tries to be the giver. He helps people out when he can. When he sees homeless people on the street corner, he'll often take them to buy food.
"To live long and prosper," Melvin said, is his personal mission statement. I laughed and told Melvin that he and my husband both share the same personal mission statement. When my husband told me his statement, I asked him to think of a different one because he couldn't steal Spock's salutation. After thinking about it, I realized Spock was onto something! Spock had just about the most succinct, and most perfect mission statement and salutation ever! "Live long and prosper." That says it all.
I asked Melvin something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he responded, "I've been married 23 years." I have a feeling Melvin is one great husband. He happily and patiently went out for air and let his wife continue with her shopping. May you and your family "live long and prosper," Melvin.
Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and the life's purposes of the subjects from this week, and one little nugget which I edited from my conversation with Cameron.
- To find a purpose.
- The art of love - photograph things that show love.
- Love, happiness, success and longevity.
- To be honest and creative.
- PMA - Positive Mental Attitude
- Adapt. Move on. Keep Going. As long as you're breathing, life will keep going. Refuse to say, this is it - this is the end.
- Live long and prosper.
Thank you to the subjects from this week and thank you for following along! I'll catch us up to date soon!