Hello! Thank you for checking out week 27!
If this is your first time stopping by, this is my second 365 Day Photography Challenge. I successfully completed my first 365 Day Challenge and when it was finished, I couldn't stop! I was so hooked and I hadn't even begun to scratch the surface on everything I need to learn about photography, so I decided to continue for another 365 days streak of taking a picture of a person, every single day, for second year.
Each picture is taken fresh daily. I don't stockpile images.
If you'd like to follow along daily, my instagram username is @missellanea.
Day 182 - Ashley
This is Ashley. We met at the bus stop.
Ashley was all smiles when we first started taking pictures but I decided I wanted to get a few pictures looking more serious. The minute I asked if we could try some without smiling, we both cracked up and couldn't stop laughing or smiling. Ashley had to work at composing herself while we were both fighting back a case of the giggles. I love this project and that it's given me such fun and memorable experiences with complete strangers.
"Going back home to Hawaii," Ashley asked, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now. Ashley has been here for Flight Attendant School and she's graduating soon! This will be her first trip back home in a while.
Ashley works at the mall. A customer came in to her shop and only had enough money to cover their purchase, not including tax. Ashley's recent act of kindness is that she paid for the tax so that the customer could afford the transaction.
"Helping others," Ashley answered, when I asked her life's purpose. Some day, if I ever get on a plane again, I hope Ashley will be the flight attendant. She's going to be perfect in that job!
"I'm hard-working," Ashley said, when I asked her something about herself which she would consider to be a success.
Thank you, Ashley! Good luck!
Day 183 - Rob / 8Bit / Cary Nokey
This is Rob. His full name is Rob Fusari, and yes, you've definitely heard his name before.
I had to attend a meeting after work on Monday. I arrived early at the hotel where the meeting was to take place, and was waiting in the lobby to meet my brother. I had intended for my brother or other family to be the person of the day, but since I had time to kill, I decided I'd just find someone in the lobby so that I could be free to just enjoy the time with my brother.
It's impossible not to notice Rob. His style is amazing and although it's not intentionally attention-grabbing, you can't help but to appreciate that he puts effort into the look he presents to the world. (Even after a day of traveling.) I also noticed another girl with amazing style, and the best eyeglasses I've ever seen. I observed them both for a while, trying to decide who to approach. The girl was on her phone and the call seemed to go on forever, so I just walked over to Rob and asked if I could take his picture for my project. Before I even finished explaining the project, Rob agreed. I was a little surprised by how quickly he agreed to let me take his picture without much explanation on my part, but it's not the first time that someone has been so easily agreeable to letting me take their picture without even really knowing why I was asking for it.
I could tell that Rob and I had some sort of miscommunication. Rob was starting to ready himself to take a picture with me, and when I didn't position myself next to him, he asked, "do you want a selfie with me?" I clarified, "I just want your picture, just you!" Then my brain started to catch up to what was happening. I realized he was famous and I was being an idiot for not recognizing him. I asked, "wait, should I want to take a picture with you?" I then apologized for not recognizing him. Rob said it was good that I didn't know who he was and he seemed genuinely pleased that I picked him randomly.
Rob told me his full name and I knew I recognized it instantly, and it reinforced my thought that he's someone I've heard of, but I just couldn't figure it out, specifically. I knew he was a musician, or in the industry, but we just left it at that and took the pictures. Rob is a natural in front of the camera, and although I was nervous that I had this person in front of my camera who I knew was a big deal, Rob put me at complete ease. Well, as "eased" as you can be when you don't want to blow a picture!
I've been so nervous posting this picture because after checking out Rob's sites, most of his public photos are beautifully styled and professional. Some of his 8Bit/Cary Nokey photos are pretty glamorous, and then here I am...catching him as he was checking into a hotel, after likely having spent the day traveling. It makes me appreciate Rob even that much more. I feel like this isn't a picture of "The Rob Fusari," or "8Bit." I feel like this is a picture of Rob. Just Rob.
After we were finished making the pictures, Rob then told me the very condensed version of who he is and why I've heard his name. Rob casually mentioned that he's a music producer and songwriter, and he worked with Lady Gaga, among others. This is straight from his website, which I looked up when I got home, "Rob is a Grammy award winning, multi-platinum music producer, songwriter and music executive." Rob was pretty humble with his introduction to me. Rob is currently performing as 8Bit, with Cary Nokey, which he explained is pretty underground and he would have been surprised if I would have known him by that name. He was in Portland to do a show with RuPaul the following day. I've since learned that Rob is one of the people responsible for creating the Lady Gaga persona. If you check out his website, you'll learn he's worked with some pretty huge artists.
I would make a horrible journalist, so it's a good thing I've never aspired to be one. I hold back out of respect for the people I've met in this project. Some people have bared their souls to me, and I know it would make for a better read, but I feel like they've shared those things with me, personally. I want maintain their confidence and preserve the intimate moment I had the privilege of sharing with another human being. I'm constantly trying to sift out the things people have shared with me which I think are ok to then share with you, from the things that I just need to hold in my head and in my heart. I've sifted through the conversation with Rob, although I'm sure he didn't tell me anything that hasn't already been said publicly. Since I don't use a recorder and I sometimes scribble notes in my journal so quickly that I can't even read my own writing, I also want to make sure I don't accidentally say something inaccurately.
"Finding myself," Rob answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. "I went 40 years on this earth not knowing who I was. I thought I knew, but then I woke up." Knowing that sort of enlightenment often comes from really shitty circumstances and/or battling addiction, I asked Rob if he was clean and sober. Rob confirmed he was.
One would think that when a person wins a Grammy, it would be the start of the rest of their lives. Rob explained it was sort of the opposite. Success, fame, money, and the Grammy, were actually the start of a couple very dark years, ending in the severing of personal and professional relationships.
It took those dark times and severed relationships for Rob to be able to find himself. Rob had to see and nurture in himself, the potential he saw in so many others. I had never thought of it before, but a music producer, in some ways, is a lot like a care-giver type person. Some people spend so much time caring for others, they neglect care for themselves. His life has been spent helping to build the careers of famous singers. Rob has been a "care-giver" type, but who's been caring for Rob? He's now finally nurturing his own creative side as 8Bit and Cary Nokey.
I asked Rob if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Rob told me that he was recently on a subway in NYC, when a homeless guy approached him with a hard-luck story. Everyone else was avoiding the guy and looking away, but Rob looked him in the eyes and listened to what the guy had to say. Rob set aside judgement and skepticism and just listened to the guy's story. The guy told him he needed $50 for a train ticket and a fresh start. The guy was going to catch a train to where a friend, a free place to stay, and a clean slate were waiting for him at his destination. Rob gave the guy $100, and wished him luck. Rob knew it was a possibility that the guy was lying, but he also felt he had the opportunity to help save someone. As much as Rob extended an act of kindness to the homeless guy on the subway, Rob recognized that it was the guy who actually saved him. The act of simply wanting to help another human being with nothing in return, helped Rob to continue to heal and grow.
When I asked Rob if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose, he quickly answered, "that's easy, I've gotta find peace." Rob went on to explain it's not money, it's not fame...he's searching for peace. "My personal mission statement," Rob said, is "to find peace and to share it with anyone who wants to share." By this time, I was holding back tears. I didn't want to embarrass myself or Rob, but I was genuinely touched by this person I had just met. I didn't even know what to say and my emotions were starting to get to me. "I wish you peace," is all I could manage to say to Rob. Those were the only words I could find at the moment. Perhaps the reason I couldn't find any other words was because that was my sincere hope for him.
I typically don't limit people's answer to the "success" question, but in Rob's case, winning a Grammy was just too easy of an answer. When I asked Rob something about himself which he would consider to be a success, I specified, something other than the obvious. Rob answered, "My biggest success is that I'm still trying. I know that I don't have anything real. I'd really like to find real friends." Wow. I was pretty stunned, and again, he just touched my heart. Rob wasn't dismissing any of his accomplishments, but he had just revealed that even more important than fame and wealth, is to be able to find a real friend. I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him everything's going to be ok. I told him something like, "we can be friends." I think he thought I was being funny, or insincere, but I genuinely meant it. It was perplexing to me why a guy like Rob doesn't have dozens of true friends. He took a moment out of his life and shared a bit of his story with a complete stranger, and he did so kindly, and with honesty. A person like that should have friends. I guess when you work in that industry, you either have fans, or you don't. A true friend would be a difficult and rare find in that business.
I didn't realize it when I first spotted Rob and the other stylish girl with the amazing glasses, but they were together. The girl with the cute glasses, Jayne, came over and introduced herself. She works with Rob. And, just like that, we were finished. Rob was gone. Jayne and I visited for a moment, and I tried to pass along my thanks, via Jayne.
Thank you, Rob. Remember, you now have friends in Portland.
Day 184 - Evan
This is Evan. We met walking down the street.
I asked Evan the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he responded, "I'm pretty happy in general, so it's hard to pick, but being in Portland and being able to hang out with friends."
When I asked Evan if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness, Evan said that he had a good friend who was there for him. The friend was willing to drop what he was doing, meet Evan, and just be there for him. I told Evan about the coincidence, and irony, explaining that the person I met the day before, is longing to find a friend like that and how even though he had fame, wealth, and success, he's just looking for a true friend like the one Evan has.
"Do the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, for the right reason," Evan answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose. Evan's 5th grade teacher shared this ethics motto and it's been with him ever since. Kina’ole is also a Hawaiian word of the same meaning.
When I asked Evan something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "What I'm really most proud of, is I seem to always be able to see the bright side, and I like to make people smile."
Thank you, Evan. You made me smile.
Day 185 - Ron
This is Ron. I had another meeting after work and was getting a late start finding a subject for the evening. I headed to the transit station, thinking I could easily find a subject there. I was mistaken. I was rejected by 5 people. However, since they were all standing under the same bus shelter, I like to think of it as one big rejection, rather than several separate rejections.
I wandered over to another bus shelter where Ron was standing and asked if he would be in the project. I was expecting he would also reject me, but he happily agreed.
"My daughters," Ron answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
Ron's recent act of kindness is that he bought coffee for a co-worker who was having a particularly tough day, and then he helped the friend talk through the problem.
"Each day I try to make the world a better place in some small way," Ron answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose. Ron's thought is that if we each do something small to make the world a better place, together, we can make a difference.
"My family," Ron said, is something about himself which he would consider to be a success.
Thank you, Ron.
Day 186 - Jesse
This is Jesse. We met on the street.
"I just got married a couple months ago, and I'm enjoying being newly married," Jesse said, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
When I asked Jesse if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness, he thought for a long time before answering. With a smile, and a hint of disappointment, he said the only specific thing he can think of recently, is that he gave french fries to a co-worker who was hungry.
"To contribute in some way to making our society work better," Jesse answered, is his life's purpose. Jesse added that he doesn't even care about receiving any credit or recognition for it, but he just wants to be able to make a difference.
When I asked Jesse something about himself which he considers to be a success, he explained that he's now able to do what he wants to do. Basically, he's had to do a little battle within himself in order to battle for the greater good. Jesse has overcome anxieties in order to work at effecting social change for us all.
Thank you, Jesse! Congratulations to you and your wife.
Day 187 - Matthew
"I'm dating a pretty girl and I'm in Portland for the first time," Matthew answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I went out with group of co-workers after work on Friday. We met up for happy hour before going across the street to the One Motorcycle Show. I spotted Matthew, sitting alone at a table, looking a little stressed, and clearly absorbed by whatever work he was doing on his computer. I wondered what could be so important that he was working, at a bar, on a Friday night. I later learned that he was a photographer and he was in town covering the One Show for a magazine. Once I learned that he was a photographer, it made perfect sense why he was sitting alone with his MacBook on a Friday Night. Before starting to learn photography, I had no idea that the lifestyle of a photographer means that if you're not currently shooting, you will often find yourself alone at night, editing and processing photos. Matthew was getting in a little work before going back across the street to shoot the One Show.
I asked Matthew if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Matthew said that he's recently done some photography work for free.
"Wet reckless," Matthew answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose. Hmmm....I'm just going to leave it at that.
"I'm young and handsome, and it's easy for me to get laid," Matthew answered, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success. I laughed and congratulated him for giving the funniest answer I've heard so far. I know this comment may make Matthew sounds arrogant, but he was a nice guy and he was just being funny. He told me the story of the origin of his statement and then it all made sense. The other day, Matthew was really stressin' about things and a friend tried to get him to loosen up a bit by telling him he needed to relax...that he's young, good looking and it's easy for him to get laid. It worked! Matthew now knows everything works out.
Thank you, Matthew.
Day 188 - TJ
This is TJ. We met at a coffee shop downtown.
"I can be myself," TJ answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. TJ is from Japan. He's in Portland to attend fashion design school. He's only been in the US a few months, so we worked at making sure we weren't losing anything in translation. I think TJ was saying that now that he's here to pursue his dream, he's happy he can be himself, and be true to his calling.
"I try to smile every day so I can make people happy," TJ answered, when I asked if he's recently performed an act of kindness. TJ said that smiling at people was part of his New Year's resolution.
When I asked TJ if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, he was unsure if he was understanding the question, so he asked instead if he could share his goals and dreams. TJ's dream is to work in the fashion industry. He's learning English now, and he hopes to continue his study in New York, London or Paris.
Instead of asking TJ something about himself which he would consider to be a success, I asked him about something he's good at. TJ answered, "I'm good at smiling." Indeed, he was a great smiler. Once again, we had to contain giggles and giant smiles in order to get a more serious look. This isn't really what I would call "serious," but when you're taking a picture of a good smile-r, who's on a mission to smile at people and make them happy, this is about as serious as it gets.
Thank you, TJ. Wishing you the best of luck in pursuing your dreams!
Here's the summary of the personal mission statements and life's purpose of the subjects from this week:
- Helping others.
- To find peace and to share it with anyone who wants to share.
- Do the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, for the right reason.
- Each day I try to make the world a better place in some small way.
- To contribute in some way to making our society work better.
- I try to smile every day so I can make people happy.
Thank you for following along!
Wishing you a great week!