Hello! Thank you for checking in on week 22 of The 365 More People Pictures project.
These are the subjects from the previous week. We'll catch up with the subjects from the past 7 days very soon! I'm sorry I got behind in the blog posts. I'm happy to report, I was in a workshop all last weekend and am just now getting a chance to catch my breath. I've not missed a daily photo, no worries there. I just got behind on the blog. If you would like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.
Day 147 - Greg
This is Greg. We met at the bus stop. The bus stop has become my favorite, but most challenging, spot to meet people and subjects. The upside is that I can usually always find someone waiting for the bus. The downside is, I never know if I'm going to get just 30 seconds before their bus arrives, or if we'll have plenty of time for photos and the "interview" questions.
"I'm clean and sober," Greg declared, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. Awesome work, Greg!
Greg's recent act of kindness is that he helped a homeless guy get a place to live. (Again, awesome work!) One of the most amazing aspects of recovery is that one goes from a place of sometimes helpless/hopeless despair, to being in a position to be of help and service to others. Greg is now giving back and paying it forward by helping to show other people the way to a new life.
"There are too many ways to succeed, to accept failure," Greg answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement. Greg's mission statement is inspired by Anthony Robbins. Yes! Persistence and perseverance! If we fail one way but keep trying, we will eventually find success. "Success" may look different than our original concept of it, or maybe we end up taking a completely different route by which to get there, but persistence and perseverance will eventually clear the path and lead us there.
I asked Greg something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "my son."
Good luck, Greg!
Day 148 - J.D.
This is J.D.. We met outside of Velo Cult. He was out walking his dog, Betty.
"I'm still emotionally lit up from seeing the Oregon Coast for the first time," J.D. answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. J.D. is from Boston and just moved to Portland a few months ago. I love it when I get to meet and welcome people who are new to Portland! Although, meeting J.D. and Betty felt more like meeting lifelong residents. A man, walking his dog, to a combination bike shop/pub - J.D. and Betty are definitely Portlanders now.
J.D.'s recent act of kindness is that he bought breakfast for a homeless person. J.D. also said that he treats people with respect, and hopes to get some in return, but he gives it freely, regardless.
"Wandering the Earth seeking truth, humility & the answer to the riddle of life," is J.D.'s personal mission statement.
I asked J.D. something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "just being a good listener." He is indeed! We talked for a while when we met...long enough that Betty plopped herself down on the sidewalk for a momentary dog-nap while we visited.
Day 149 - Elsa
This is Elsa. We met at the bus stop. I'm a grounded person, but I believe that anything is possible. Elsa was such a magical person that after we were finished, I walked around the corner and was compelled to triple-check the pictures on my camera to verify the interaction we just had was actually real. Elsa was so fairy-godmother-ish, I wouldn't have been at all surprised if her pictures came out looking like she was swirled in fairy dust.
"Anticipating good things," Elsa answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now. The twinkle in her eyes when she spoke made me believe that by simply "anticipating good things," the good things will surely come.
"To be helpful to people," Elsa answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.
When I asked Elsa something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "oh, everything! All is well!" In that moment, I got the feeling that Elsa has it all figured out. I would imagine that not all has been well for Elsa at every moment in her life, but at that specific moment, it was. This moment, now, is all we really have for certain.
Elsa speaks with an accent but I couldn't detect its origin, so I asked where she's from. Elsa answered that she's from Hungary, and then she asked my origin. When I told her I was from Klamath Falls, in Southern Oregon, she said that she had been there once before. I was amazed at what she then proceeded to say. Elsa said that when she was there, she felt a sense of melancholy. It wasn't a personal feeling, but rather, one that she was absorbing from the town itself. She felt like the area has suffered years of fighting and tension. With those few words about a town she had only once visited, she pretty much summarized the town's history and present. I explained to Elsa that her assessment was accurate, but that there are people working to change that. Together, we hoped for a more peaceful and optimistic future.
Wishing you all those good things, Elsa.
Day 150 - Joaquin
This is Joaquin. We met outside of Sam's. It was actually kind of funny. I approached Joaquin to ask if I could take his picture but before I even finished my spiel, he knew who I was and what I was asking. Joaquin explained that his friend Kate was in the project just a few days ago!
"I found someone that I really connect with and I'm enjoying spending time with her," Joaquin answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
Joaquin's recent act of kindness is that he sometimes buys meals for people, but he felt he's also often on the receiving end of kindness. Joaquin, being a little hard on himself, said that he can be a frustrating person but that people give him kindness and patience.
"To be content with where I am in life, but to always be working toward a goal," Joaquin answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement. Joaquin and I had a nice talk about learning to appreciate what we have, but to also continue to strive toward better. Joaquin is a goal-setter. His approach is basically to dream big, but set small, more realistic, goals. He said he's constantly trying to one-up himself.
When I asked Joaquin something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I've been in rough spots in life but now I have a roof over my head, clothes on my body, and most times, a full belly.
Thank you, Joaquin! Wishing you continued success.
Day 151 - Ben
This is Ben. I've decided to call him Hollywood Ben.
"Just being alive," Ben answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
Ben's recent act of kindness is pretty amazing. Around Christmas, Ben gave $20 to every homeless person he encountered that day. He estimates there were 30 - 40 people in the Hollywood District alone. What's remarkable about this isn't that he did this because he's a wealthy guy with pockets full of $20's. Ben said he's not in a position to do this, but he just happened to be in a position to do it on that specific day. Ben said that he wished it wasn't about money and that he tries to spread kindness every day.
"To bring happiness into the world, and my own happiness is a by-product of that," Ben replied, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.
When I asked Ben something about himself which he considers to be a success, he answered that he didn't know yet because he's a constant work in progress. Ben is an artist. He said he didn't set out to be a success. He just wants to create.
Wishing you lots of luck, Ben!
Day 152 - Jord Vader
This is Jord. We met downtown. Jord was such a cool dude, I only wish I had a recorder! There's no way I was fast enough to keep up with him by just scribbling notes in my journal! Words flow out of Jord like a river. So much so, I was expecting him to start rapping at any moment!
I asked Jord the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he said that he was on his way to go hang out with his girlfriend.
Jord shared so many brilliant and poetic thoughts, but his personal mission statement can basically be summarized as, "to live in kindness." Jord's thought is that if we could all wake up each morning and tell ourselves, "don't be an asshole today," then we could change the world. I confess...I did this two days in a row, and I had two really good days! (I managed not to be an A-hole both days! I need to keep up with this mantra. Jord is onto something.)
The answers to my questions all sort of blurred together with Jord, but in a beautiful way. I decided not to worry too much about having specific answers to the questions I asked, and just tried to go with it. Jord's recent act of kindness and something about himself which he would consider to be a success are basically his way of life. Jord said he doesn't measure success with money, and explained, "I just enjoy being here and pursuing my higher calling. I feel a sense of a greater good around me, expect more goodness out of myself, and that I am helping us with this battle by believing that good shit can, and will, happen."
Keep being you, Jord.
Day 153 - Julian
This is Julian. We also met downtown Portland.
You'll notice this is a different style than most portraits in this project. I took this picture while out shooting during a street photography workshop being taught by Eric Kim. I intend to share my experience with you in more depth, but I will just tell you I was under stimulation-overload when I took this.
Eric Kim and my partner in class, Chee, were with me at this very moment!!! The look is completely different because I was shooting with a different lens and I was working on a more candid, street style. I actually hadn't even intended to get Julian. I wanted my partner, Chee, to get the shot. Chee was working on approaching strangers, whereas that's one of the few strengths I have when it comes to photography. (I was working on basic photography skills, gaining more street confidence, and learning a more candid approach.) Julian just looked like the perfect person for Chee, but Julian was so awesome and patient, we both had our opportunity with him. (And talk about nervous! Eric Kim was watching over us the whole time! I couldn't even think!)
When I asked Julian the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he said, "This! This is the happiest thing happening in my life right now!" I love that Julian was flattered, rather than annoyed or intimidated by the three of us and our impromptu photoshoot! Obviously, Julian has great style and a person who puts that much thought and consideration into their look, appreciates when others appreciate them.
Julian's recent act of kindness is one he performs frequently, but one he doesn't really tell people about. He often goes to buy food for homeless people he sees on his way into work. Yes, it's true. Julian is as sweet and kind-hearted as he is handsome and stylish.
We had been talking about fashion when I asked Julian if he had a personal mission statement. Julian said that he likes the quote, "fashion is forever changing, but your style is you."
I asked Julian something about himself which he considers to be a success and he answered, "who I am, where I came from, and how I've gotten to where I am." Julian said that a year ago, he wouldn't have predicted where he is now or the job that he has. Julian is excited and optimistic that in a year from now, he'll be able to look back and see even more progress.
Thank you, Julian! Wising you the best!
Here's the summary of the perusal mission statements and life's purpose of the subjects from this week:
- There are too many ways to succeed, to accept failure,
- Wandering the Earth seeking truth, humility & the answer to the riddle of life.
- To be helpful to people.
- To be content with where I am in life, but to always be working toward a goal.
- To bring happiness into the world, and my own happiness is a by-product of that.
- To live in kindness.
- Fashion is forever changing, but your style is you.
Thank you to each and every subject in this project, and thank you for following along!
See you very soon with the subjects from this week!