Hello! Thank you for stopping by to meet the people from week 33!
Day 224 - Oliver & Jaka
This is Oliver and Jaka. We met at the bus stop.
I've found it best to split up the questions when a group or couple is the photo of the day. You'll notice that I still really shy away from couples and groups. Before starting this project, I didn't pause to think about shooting a quick little snap of a group or couple. It was fun and you just want to capture the moment. And really, it's easy to take a cute picture of a couple or group with a camera phone or point & shoot. When you're first learning a DSLR, sometimes you'll want to throw up your hands, shouting, "I give up! My iPhone is easier!"
One thing I learned quickly as I started to dive into educating myself about photography and when I got my first DSLR, is that it's actually very easy to take a bad picture or ruin a picture of a group or couple. As you begin to learn more about composition, things that never used to bother you, become nagging challenges to overcome. Little things such as differences in height or lop-sided gaps or negative spaces between people now jump out at me and I get bummed when I don't catch them during the shot. It sticks out so much now, it can prevent me from enjoying a photo. Now, I can't just simply shoot a quick little photo of my girlfriends and be happy about it. Now, I look at the picture and see all of these things I should have done differently. Of course it happens with single portraits as well, but with couples or groups, the challenges are multiplied and for that reason, I've been a bit intimidated by couples and groups. The only way to improve is with practice, so I'm forcing myself to rise to the challenge. Plus, it's always great talking with a group of people!
When I asked Oliver the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he looked over at Jaka with adoration in his eyes and simply answered, "Jaka." Awwwww.
When I asked Jaka if she recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she paused and then answered, "I think....you." Yes! She was so right! I love it when people catch that they're in the middle of performing an act of kindness simply by taking the time to talk to me, a complete stranger, and allowing me to take their picture and share a little of their lives here with you.
I asked Oliver his life's purpose and he answered, "to write a film that will change at least one person's life." It sounds like Oliver has been quite prolific and he's created several films. The next step, which is even harder than actually birthing an idea and giving it life, is then figuring out how to share it with the world. I wished Oliver good luck, and can't wait till we can all see one of his films!
When I asked Jaka something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "having an attitude of gratitude, and I feel that we're all equal."
Oliver and Jaka were such a sweet and loving couple and I'm so glad I set aside my fear of couples/groups and allowed myself to meet them!
Wishing you both love and success!
Day 225 - Deontae
This is Deontae. We also met at the bus stop.
I'm running a bit behind, but when I asked Deontae the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he answered that he was happy he would find out the following Wednesday, if he got the job for which he had been hoping. Deontae was a great guy, and I hope he got the job. Maybe I'll bump into him again and find out the good news!
I asked Deontae if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he answered that he gives money to homeless people. He explained that he's been there before and knows what a difference a few dollars can make.
When I asked Deontae his life's purpose, he answered, "to get married, have a family, move overseas, and pursue a career in architecture." Deonatae's ambitions are both grand and simple at the same time.
I asked Deontae something about himself which he would consider to be a success and when he answered, his entire face lit up. "Being happy-spirited...it's gotten me far in life," Deontae beamed. I loved witnessing his happy spirit and I just knew that if he shined like that in his interview, the new job is his!
Wishing you great luck, Deontae!
Day 226 - Aaron
This is Aaron. We met on the street.
The happiest thing happening in Aaron's life right now is his home, and building a garden with his partner.
When I asked Aaron if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that in general, he's a friendly and nice person. Although you can't tell in the picture, Aaron has really long hair, and just as he was answering this question, another "fellow long-hair" walked by and made a comment and gestured to their matching long locks. Aaron complimented the man on his hair and I cracked up watching the instant connection the two formed.
"To be of service to others," Aaron answered, when I asked his life's purpose. Aaron does this by bringing his Midwest hospitality to the Northwest and sharing his friendly disposition. He really is a friendly guy. When I approached Aaron, it dawned on me that once again, my memory card was at home in my laptop. I usually always carry spares but I had been completely off-routine for several days and working out of three different camera bags. (which is just asking for trouble.) Aaron was so cool and easy-going. He explained he had time to kill before his movie started and would wait if I wanted to run to buy a new memory card at the Rite Aid across the street. His chill demeanor helped me to keep chill too. I walked back to my car to get my wallet and in the process of doing so, I remembered I DID bring spare cards!! Hanging out with Aaron was just like hanging out with a friend who goes with the flow until things sort themselves out. I was glad to have met Aaron.
"I don't suck at life," Aaron answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.
Thank you, Aaron. Thank you for being so friendly.
Day 227 - Lou
This is my friend, Lou. Yes, you've seen him before in last year's project.
I met with Lou, and my friend Debbie, and by time we finished with what we were doing, it was way too late to go out in search of a subject. Lou was nice enough to make his second appearance in the project. Plus, I'm really glad he did, because now I can share some of his band's pictures too!
I asked Lou the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "a new venture!" I'll share more about that in the future.
When I asked Lou if he's recently performed an act of kindness, at first he couldn't think of an answer and then it finally hit him - he and Debbie are responsible for our whole "Project Brown Bag" movement, in which we give out brown lunch bags filled with snacks to homeless people we see on street corners. Were it not for Debbie and Lou, it would be really easy to slip out of the habit of carrying "brown bags" in our car. (Sometimes weeks can go by before I refill my stock, but Debbie and Lou always send us away with more brown bags to hand out.
"When you leave the world, leave it a better place," Lou answered, when I asked his life's purpose.
"My leadership abilities," Lou answered, when I asked something about himself which he considers to be a success.
Lou just formed a new band, "Vasoline." They do primarily Stone Temple Pilots covers. Lou has been playing with his former band for several years. It was mainly a bunch of guys who got together for fun. I was bummed to hear they were moving on, but happy to hear Lou was starting a new band and he was going to be the lead singer! Lou sang with his old band every once in a while, and he was good, but I didn't know what to expect with his new band.
They had their first show just a couple weeks ago and I was completely blown away! I was so happy and impressed with the band, and especially Lou! I had no idea that he had a total rock star hidden underneath his laid back, low stress, soft-spoken demeanor. He killed it! They all did! It was so awesome! I got pretty wrapped up in taking photographs and the lighting, or lack there of, was a huge challenge so sometimes I was pretty engrossed in my camera. Later, on my way home, I got goose bumps just thinking about how great they did. The sound was excellent and you would never have guessed this was their first show!
I was so proud of Lou and his new band, and can't wait to see & hear 'em again!
Day 228 - Courtney
This is Courtney. We met at Starbucks.
I love this picture! When we attempted a "serious" picture, both Courtney and I cracked up and couldn't stop laughing and smiling. This was one of the in-between pictures and I just love it! Some of my very favorite photos are the "in-betweens" I've caught when I've just kept shooting in-between "real" photos. Knowing this, I now know to keep shooting the "in-betweens" and I can just "feel" when an "in-between" shot is really going to be the shot I was looking for.
Recently, I tried to shoot a large family portrait and even deliberately set up an "in-between" shot by staging a fake posed shot, followed by a pause before the next "posed" or deliberate shot. During the in-between, if you can manage to say something funny or get people to do something silly, or ridiculous, the in-between will likely become the money shot. It wasn't working for my large group photo, probably because I tried too hard. With Courtney, we were genuinely having a fun time and I was lucky enough to capture it. She's a beautiful girl, and I was just happy to spend a brief moment, on a warm sunny patio, talking to a complete stranger who felt more like talking with a friend.
"My daughter," Courtney answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.
When I asked Courtney if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of kindness, she gave me a what-a-coincidence-look and held up the book she had been reading. Courtney is going to school and has hopes of becoming an art therapist. Kindness will be her profession. On the receiving end, she recently received help completing all of the necessary paperwork for her to be able to return to school.
"Letting go of resentments and accepting that we are all one, to be the best mother and person that I can possibly be, and to leave a positive imprint," Courtney answered, when I asked her life's purpose.
When I asked Courtney something about herself which she considers to be a success, Courtney answered, "I think I give good advice, and I'm a loyal friend."
Thank you, Courtney! Wishing you the best of luck and success in school and with your daughter!
Day 229 - Scott
This is Scott. We met walking down the street. Scott was in town, from Michigan, for a Martial Arts convention. This is a deliberatly serious-looking picture, but when I stopped him, I could immediately tell that he was pretty much a teddy bear. Scott was in a hurry to find the studio hosting the event, but was nice enough to stop and give me the time to take his picture.
"Being a Dad," Scott answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
When I asked Scott if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he said that he gave money to a homeless person, and also that he bought his kids presents to bring back home to them.
"Be a good dad, be a good person," Scott answered, when I asked his life's purpose.
When I asked Scott something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that he recently got and accepted a job offer to teach full time. "Teaching is what I'm best at," Scott added.
Thank you, Scott! Good luck!
Day 230 - John
This is John. We met on the sidewalk. I think he had just gotten off work.
The happiest thing happening in John's life right now is that he's met a lot of new friends at WSU.
When I asked John if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness, John explained that he works at Starbucks and he feels like serving coffee is one way in which he's also able to serve the community. John gives kindness in his friendly service and he feels like he's the recipient of kindness on a daily basis. John explained that some of his customers are now more like friends.
"To bring laughter into the world," John answered, when I asked his personal mission statement. John loves to make people laugh because it gives them an outlet to express a side of themselves that they suppress.
One thing about himself which John considers to be a success, is "being diligent with college." John explained he was the first in his family to graduate from High School and go onto College! His family must be so proud!
Thank you, John! Good luck!
Here's the summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week.
- To write a film that will change at least one person's life.
- To get married, have a family, move overseas, and pursue a career in architecture.
- To be of service to others.
- When you leave the world, leave it a better place.
- Letting go of resentments and accepting that we are all one, to be the best mother and person that I can possibly be, and to leave a positive imprint.
- Be a good dad, be a good person.
- To bring laughter into the world.
Thank you to every subject in this project! Thank you for sharing yourself with us. Please remember, if you'd like a copy of your photo, please drop me a message and I would love to email it to you!
And thank you for following along!
Have a great week!