Hello! Here's the review of week 8. Sorry for the delay. I got off-schedule last week in order to cheer on my friends running/walking the Portland Marathon. I'll work on a (sitting out the) Race Report and share the fun with you soon.
Day 49 - Samson and Delilah and their Humans
This is Samson and Delilah and their human parents. They were out for a stroll along the Columbia River when we met.
My heart melted when I saw these puppies walking toward me and wanting my attention. Ok, I confess. I totally leapt off the bench on which I had been sitting and all but begged their humans for permission to pet them. After a little bit of puppy-lovin, I asked Samson and Delilah's humans if they would be in the project.
I asked the couple the happiest thing happening in their lives right now, and puppy-mom answered for them both, "having the puppies and just finishing vacation."
I asked puppy-dad if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and he explained that the whole vacation they had just taken, had been paid for by someone else.
I asked Samson and Delilah's mom if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, and she answered, "I hope to share the love of Jesus Christ."
I asked Samson and Delilah's dad something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "raising two kids who were both outstanding Marines." (They're both home safe and now resuming their lives.)
Day 50 - Jason
This is Jason. He happened to be walking right by my work as I was about to go out looking for a subject for the day.
"My friends and family," Jason answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I asked Jason if he's recently performed an act of kindness. Jason explained that he was recently the Best Man in his friend's wedding, and with it, came a lot of work. We joked about how much responsibility comes with the role of Best Man or Maid of Honor, nowadays.
I asked Jason if he had a personal mission statement. Jason is another person who tries to live by the golden rule, answering, "treat other people how you want to be treated...and things should work out."
When I asked Jason something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I love my job. I love what I do." Jason likes the path he chose in teaching, even if it meant less money, he's happy to be doing what he loves.
Day 51 - Toby
This is Toby. We met at a bus stop.
"The new season of Scandal is starting," Toby answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. Toby had given the question serious consideration before answering, so I figured this must be a really good show, but one I've never seen. When it comes to TV-watching, I've been living under a rock. I later saw that the Scandal premiere completely blew up twitter and it sounds like a must-see show. Thanks for the tip, Toby!
I asked Toby if he's performed an act of kindness and he said that he volunteers at a soup kitchen once per week.
"To live with intention and to make the world more positive," Toby answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement. Toby so eloquently said the words I've been unable to articulate for myself. I love Toby's mission statement and told him I'd like to adopt it for part of my own.
I asked Toby something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "successfully writing for a living." Toby is a freelance writer, and if you've ever read The Portland Mercury blog, you've probably read some of Toby's work.
Day 52 - Jeff-Lee
This is Jeff-Lee. We met at a bus stop.
I asked Jeff-Lee the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "Bikram Yoga, Jiu Jitsu, and college."
I asked Jeff-Lee if he had recently performed an act of kindness. He explained that he tries to do kind acts, of varying degrees, all the time, but what was coming to mind was that he recently helped a young woman who was unfamiliar with the bus, get to where she needed to go. Then later that same day, he saw her again on campus!
"To be love. To share. Sharing is caring," Jeff-Lee answered, when I asked if he had a life's purpose.
The bus arrived before I could ask Jeff-Lee any more questions.
When I got home to prepare the pictures for Instagram, I was disappointed in what I had done. Jeff-Lee is quite handsome and has all of the features with which I've found I've had the most success when photographing. (typically males with a beard, expressive eyes, and a strong facial feature, or angles.) I had all of the elements which should have made for a great picture. I should have done much better.
As the weather and sunlight changes, I've been facing new challenges to learn how to change the camera settings in order to get a decent picture. During the first project last year, I shot on auto (yes, auto!) and with a flash. I wasn't really learning the technical aspects of changing camera settings. This year, I'm challenging myself to grow and improve and often times, that means getting worse before you get better. I really wanted to get a beautiful image of Jeff-Lee, but I learned more from not getting it right, than I would have had it been perfect.
I was also struck with the realization that how I'm feeling definitely influences the look and feel of a picture. Again, I experienced this a little last year, but now that I'm starting to make some baby-steps forward, it becomes even more apparent when a shot is blown. This is both frustrating and amazing! It means improvement is being made! It means there really is something inside of me that contributes to the look and feel of an image. I get it! I get it! It means it's not just the camera! There is a part of me going into each and every picture. If I'm carrying around stress and anxiety from my work-day, it's going to show.
I've always known a real photographer is responsible for the creation of their images. They are artists. Having had several off-days the past few weeks, has made me realize that I've been putting myself into these pictures as well. It hasn't all been a fluke! Both good days and bad days, how a photographer is feeling will show in their work. (I'm not talking simply about the technical camera settings. I'm talking about the emotion.) This was a great reminder to be fully present when I'm meeting a subject and taking their picture. I just need to set aside work-stress and enjoy the brief moment I get to spend with each subject of the day.
Day 53 - Jeremy
This is Jeremy. He was sitting outside on the patio at Whole Foods.
I asked Jeremy the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "meeting the girl I'm with right now." Jeremy explained he wasn't doing anything too special before meeting her, but having her in his life is giving him inspiration to better himself. "She keeps me grounded," Jeremy added.
I asked Jeremy if he's recently performed an act of kindness. Jeremy answered, "I try to do a good deed every day." Although I didn't ask, I've learned from this project that whenever someone answers with a reference to doing a good deed daily, they've usually been Boy Scouts/Eagle Scouts. Jeremy's recent act of kindness is that he gave some street kids a few dollars. Jeremy explained that he went through a time in his life when he was traveling and living on the streets and since he's been there before, he wants to help when he can.
I asked Jeremy if he has a personal mission statement or a life's purpose. Jeremy answered, "my mission in life is to honor the people who came before me, to do what's right in the world, and contribute to a better society." Jeremy doesn't want to just sit back and maintain status quo. Jeremy wants to make a difference.
"I just got a degree in Liberal Arts," Jeremy answered, when I asked something about himself which he considers to be a success. I loved listening to Jeremy's story about wanting to make his Mom proud. I'm sure she is!
Day 54 - Paddy
This is Paddy. We met at a bus stop.
The bus arrived right away, so we only had time for one question.
I asked Paddy the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "I just got tattoos on my feet!" For a moment, I thought I could read the look on Paddy's face that he was trying to calculate if he possibly had enough time to quickly remove his shoes to show off his new tattoos before frustrating the bus driver and other passengers. And no...we didn't have enough time for that.
Day 55 - Clements
This is Clements. (What a great name!) We met at a bus stop in NW Portland. I look forward to the rare days when I'm in a different part of town, because I'm excited about the people I'll meet there. Another goal I have for the project, is to venture out of my normal go-to neighborhoods and parks.
Again, the bus arrived after just one question.
I asked Clements the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "I paint and I'm just about to start a new project."
Here's the summary of the wisdom we received from the subjects of week 8.
- I hope to share the love of Jesus Christ.
- Treat other people how you want to be treated...and things should work out.
- To live with intention and to make the world more positive.
- To be love. To share. Sharing is caring.
- My mission in life is to honor the people who came before me, to do what's right in the world, and contribute to a better society.
To each person who has been a subject in this project, thank you for sharing yourself with us.