Hello! Thank you for checking out week 23 of the 365 More People Pictures project!
Day 154 - Jordan
This is Jordan. We met downtown, Portland. It's a little strange, but I had been shooting the entire day for the street photography workshop, but I hadn't actually taken any pictures specifically for this project. (I'll tell you more about the workshop in a later, separate, post.) Class had just finished, my head was ready to explode with excitement and information, and simultaneously, I was feeling both complete exhaustion and absolute elation. I had just spent the past 2.5 days with an amazing group of people, filling my head with new knowledge and inspiration, and basically felt like I had fallen in love...with photography. I was just wandering Portland on a Sunday evening, trying to absorb and process everything I had just learned, and hoping I could also find one more person to photograph for this project. And then I spotted Jordan! Yes!
When I approached Jordan to ask if I could take his picture, he agreed and then he totally turned it on! He was such an awesome ham! I can just imagine that he and his friends must spend a lot of time taking pictures, because Jordan was more comfortable in front of a camera than anyone I've ever met. He was so funny! I actually had to turn down his volume a bit, just to keep it believable!
I asked Jordan the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "I'm currently conceptualizing a dance party, called "Sway," to happen at the end of February. Jordan is planning this huge event, in Baltimore, in addition to his responsibilities to his job. He's got a full plate.
When I asked Jordan if he's either performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, Jordan explained that he was just on the receiving end of kindness. Jordan's Grandmother died recently and he unexpectedly had to miss work, and stay in his Grandmother's town. Jordan's friend helped him in his absence, by paying for his storage unit rental.
Jordan's personal mission statement is actually in the form of a tattoo he has on his shoulder. It was cold and raining, otherwise, I would have asked him if we could see it. Jordan has a tattoo of an Egyptian Sky Disc, which has a banner of peace and three circles within a circle. The circles represent Art, Science, and Spirituality, and the unification of all three, and being of service to the world. Jordan's job is actually in recruiting for an art school, so he's actually living his mission!
"I've had a lot of experiences that would lead a different kind of person to be more cynical or negative about life and people, but it's actually catalyzed a deep well of compassion and empathy," Jordan answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success. It sounds like Jordan has gone through some difficult times in life, but instead of becoming hardened and calloused, his experiences have expanded his capacity for love and empathy.
Thank you, Jordan! So glad to have met you!
Day 155 - Melanie
This is Melanie. We met at the bus stop. Melanie and I were having fun taking pictures. She was patient with me and let me take several shots. It's a good thing she was so patient with me. Of all the photos we had taken, only one came out.
I ended up with a casualty at the photography workshop I had attended over the weekend...I dropped and broke a lens. I was broken-hearted, not because it was an expensive lens, but because with Eric Kim's help, I was learning how to use it. I became familiar with it, appreciated it, and actually sort of started to love that little sucker. Of all the lenses to break, however, this would be the one. It was the inexpensive kit lens that came with the camera. One thing, one very big thing, I learned over the weekend was that it doesn't matter what you've got to work with, just do it and learn to do it 10 times better than you've ever done before. (Or do it 10 times better than anyone else has ever done. For now, I'm just learning to beat my own self.) That little cheapie lens and I did things we had never done before. I discovered a new appreciation for it. So much so, that I was going to start using it regularly instead of the nicer, more expensive, lens that I have been using. After some tinkering around, I determined that the only thing broken was the auto-focus motor. No problem, I'd just focus manually from now on. Melanie was my first subject after my decision to continue using the broken lens. I was mistaken though. More than just the auto-focus motor had been destroyed. Even with focusing manually, it would still slip out of focus after I thought everything had been dialed in. I'm so glad Melanie was having fun with our little photoshoot, because had she been unwilling to let me take so many pictures, I wouldn't have had anything to show you.
The downside of taking so many pictures is that we ran out of time! The bus came before we were finished with the questions! Melanie answered the two questions I was able to ask as she was boarding the bus.
"School," Melanie answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.
When I asked Melanie something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she first said, "overcoming...", then she paused, and changed her answer to, "maintaining relationships with my friends." I don't know what Melanie has overcome in her life, but I'm so very glad she came through to the other side, and that she has a great group of friends to celebrate with her. She was a joy!
Day 156 - Mari
This is Mari. We also met at the bus stop.
The happiest thing happening in Mari's life right now is that she just got married this past year. And yes, she confirmed that she and her husband are happily enjoying the honeymoon phase.
Mari works in social services. Her profession enables her to perform acts of kindness daily, for which, she feels quite rewarded.
"To be a good person," Mari answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.
"I've gotten through some tough times this past 10 years," Mari answered, when I asked something about herself which she continues to be a success. When we're in the thick of the bad stuff, it's so hard to believe that eventually we'll make it through to the other side. But once we make it and can look back at all that we went through, we're amazed by the inner strength that we never even knew we had.
Mari, wishing you and your husband a lifetime of happiness!
Day 157 - Shane
This is Shane, another person I met at the bus stop. And, I'm really sorry...but I did it again. We totally ran out of time. We only had time for two questions before Shane's bus arrived.
"My 2 year old son," Shane answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
When I asked Shane something about himself which he considers to be a success, he answered, "my family."
Thank you, Shane!
Day 158 - Kimmie
This is Kimmie. I was having such a hard time finding a subject this day that I finally had to drive to the park & ride station, hoping for sure I'd be able to find a willing subject there. It was pouring rain, and I had been rejected so many times that night. I was almost ready to call it quits because the people who had declined me, did so in a not-very-nice way. I was ready to halt the 365 project and go in a completely different direction, inspired by everything I had learned in the street photography workshop over the weekend. Then I reminded myself that without fail, every time I've ever had a hard time finding a subject, I always end up meeting someone extra special. Kimmie was that extra special person and I can't help but think it was meant to be.
"My sobriety," Kimmie answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.
When I asked Kimmie if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, Kimmie explained that right now, she's on the receiving end. Kimmie is new to recovery. Addiction had taken her to the point where she had lost everything in her life. Everything. Some of the things/people needed to go but other things/people, she's working to reclaim. A woman has taken Kimmie into her home and is helping to mentor her through recovery. Kimmie has been strong enough to know that she needs help.
I asked Kimmie if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose and Kimmie responded, "To be the best mother I can be. To be independent. To give my children the life I never had. To change the cycle so they don't have to struggle like I did."
When I asked Kimmie something about herself which she considered to be a success, Kimmie again answered, "my sobriety."
Kimmie and I then continued to talk while we waited for the bus to arrive. It felt like we were meant to run into each other. Kimmie admitted that she had been having a tough day and had potentially put herself at risk earlier, but she was able to maintain sobriety for another day. I'm glad I was able to be an ear...Kimmie just really needed to be heard that night.
Keep up the good work, Kimmie. I know you can do it.
Day 159 - Ryan
This is Ryan. We met walking down the street.
When I asked Ryan the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he said it was a tough question but decided that it was having a 3-day weekend.
I asked Ryan if he's recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Ryan said he feels like he's always on the receiving end of kindness, but his job in employee benefits enables him to be on the giving end. When people come to him, not understanding something, they're grateful when he can help explain things and clarify any confusion they have.
"To have as meaningful of life as possible, without having to work too hard for it," Ryan answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose. Ryan clarified that he doesn't, in any way, mean that in a lazy sort of way. Rather, we discussed the importance of actually living the life we work so hard for.
"Yesterday was my 13th anniversary working for the same employer," Ryan answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.
Thank you, Ryan!
Day 160 - Zachary
This is Zachary.
When I asked Zachary the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he answered, "being in a relationship with a woman I've loved for eleven years." The way Zachary answered, something about the tone in his voice, made me realize the relationship was new, but his love has obviously been long-lived. I wondered if Zachary's lady hadn't known that he had loved her for so long. I explained my curiosity to Zachary, and he confirmed that the woman has always known he's loved her, but the timing has always been off. They've been the best of friends for the past 11 years, and they would sometimes go months without speaking with each other, but they would always pick right back up where they left off. They've never had the chance to actually be with one another because they've always been with other people, or just in a friendship with each other. Timing finally worked out, and now they're together.
Zachary said he likes to perform random acts of kindness, and one thing that is important for him is looking in and taking care of his brother. I didn't ask details about Zachary's brother, but Zachary said that he tries to help him do basic things around the house. He said it doesn't feel like he's helping, but when he sees his brother's struggles, he realizes even just helping him around the house is helping is brother in a good way.
"Be better than you were yesterday," Zachary answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose. Zachary explained that in the past, he's always had to have competitors or competition to motivate him to do better. Then one day it dawned on him that he needs to stop worrying about being better than anyone else, or using competition as a motivator. He decided he just wanted to be better than he was yesterday.
I asked Zachary one thing about himself which he considers to be a success, and he answered, "my education."
Thank you, Zachary!
Below is the summary of the personal mission statements and/or life's purposes of the subjects from this week:
- Art, Science, and Spirituality, and the unification of all three, and being of service to the world.
- To be a good person
- To be the best mother I can be. To be independent. To give my children the life I never had. To change the cycle, so they don't have to struggle like I did.
- To have as meaningful life as possible, without having to work too hard for it.
- Be better than you were yesterday.
Thank you to every subject in this project. I appreciate you! And thank you for reading another week!