365 More People Pictures - Week 30

Hello! Thank you for reading week 30 of The 365 More People Pictures project.   I'll soon post week 31, which are the subjects from this past week, and then we're officially caught up!  I've continued taking a picture of a person every day but I managed to let myself get behind in the blog posts.  If you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.

 

Day 203 - Lillie

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This is Lillie.  We met outside of Mod Haus in downtown Vancouver.  You may remember Mod Haus.  Lynn, the owner, was day 119 of my first project.  It's such a great shop!  When you're in downtown Vancouver, be sure to stop in and say hello to these ladies!  They have great style and they'll help those of us who need a little help finding our own style.

The happiest thing happening in Lillie's life right now is that she's an honors student and almost finished with her Associates degree.  Lillie is studying Japanese.  It was both funny and impressive because several times she naturally spoke in Japanese instead of English.   She's clearly comfortable and fluent in the language.

As soon as Lillie got in front of the camera, it was obvious she's done some modeling.  I've said it before, but modeling takes a special skill  and we often underestimate the amount of talent required of models.  Models truly have something special and unique and even my amateur/beginner eye can immediately spot when someone has modeling experience.  I can't articulate it properly and I was going to say that when a model is in front of  your camera, you can tell the exact moment when they turn their model on.  As I was typing the words, I was struck with the thought that it's more like models turn themselves off.  They momentarily disconnect from themselves, take on a new persona, and become this pliable form who is eager to create cool images with a photographer.   I'm still so new and learning, so I haven't really taken full advantage of the few opportunities I've had with the models I've accidentally met in this project.  I've been so awestruck as I watch them transform in front of my very eyes.  Lillie has that something special.

Lillie's recent act of kindness also relates to her modeling as she's recently modeled for a few local shops for free, and in return, a few of her photographer friends have photographed her which is helping her build her portfolio.  Everyone wins.

When I asked Lillie her life's purpose, she responded:  "To grow as a human being, to become more self-aware, to learn from others and hopefully teach something along the way."  Lillie then added, "traveling wouldn't hurt either!"

"I try to be as amiable as I can be...my personality is a success," Lillie answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  Indeed.  Lillie was so sweet!

Wishing you lots of success with everything you set out to do, Lillie!  Thank you!

 

Day 204 - Aaron

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This is Aaron.  We met on the street.  The happiest thing happening in Aaron's life right now is his job.

Aaron's recent act of kindness is that he bought food for some homeless people.

When I asked Aaron if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose, he said that he has a quote he likes to live by:  "What do you do when no one is looking?"

"I have a large friend base from all walks of life," Aaron answered, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Aaron.

 

Day 205 - Zach

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This is Zach.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now is that he just moved in with his girlfriend.

I asked Zach if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. On the receiving side, Zach's best friend helped him move.  On the giving side,  Zach does volunteer work at a soup kitchen.

"Learn something new every day," Zach answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

When I asked Zach something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I have a lot of friends."

Thank you, Zach.

 

Day 206 -  Maurice

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This is Maurice.  He was two people ahead of me while we were in line at Starbucks.  I couldn't hear the conversation but Maurice, the barista, and the person in front of me were all laughing about something.  When I looked up to see Maurice, he had the warmest, most friendly smile I've seen in a while.  I didn't want to bother him, but I just couldn't resist asking Maurice if I could take his picture for the project.

"I'm in the process of writing a book," Maurice answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Maurice if he's recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he thought for a while and then jokingly explained, "I live the life of a hermit."  Maurice is working on his book and he said he doesn't get out much, other than his Starbucks breaks.  However, he said that his daughter visited last month and while she was in town, she did all kinds of nice things to help Maurice.

I asked Maurice his life's purpose and he answered, "right now...just to get that book finished."  Maurice has been working on the book for 5 years, but paused when his wife passed away, and then again when he was dealing with health problems.  I asked when he anticipates its completion.  Maurice thinks he'll finish in 6 months.  Maurice said he should probably say that more often, so that it will become reality.  I agreed and explained it's part of the reason I ask some of the questions I do.  The more we talk of something, the closer we are to making it happen.

When I asked Maurice something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he laughed and said that he would have to go back to his youth.  "I was chosen to be on a particularly good Rugby team," Maurice said.  I think Maurice has many more successes in addition to his Rugby career, and I'm wishing him good luck that he will soon add "finished writing a book," to his list of successes.

Thank you, Maurice!  May the words flow freely and easily for you,  and in the perfect order.

 

Day 207 - John

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This is John.  We met on the street.

"Life itself," John answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  John explained that he's made a lot of changes in the past few months and he's feeling good about things.

I asked John if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he said that he tries to do little things every day.  Doing things for others makes him feel better than being on the receiving end of kindness.

John's life's purpose:  "Constant forward movement.  Constant forward progression."

When I asked John something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he said that it was the way he was able to meet a person and connect with them.

Thank you, John!

 

Day 208 - Matthew

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This is Matthew.  We met at the bus stop.

"I got a new job," Matthew answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Matthew's recent act of kindness is that he helped a man in a motorized wheel chair who had become stuck as he was trying to make it over a curb.

"To love," Matthew answered, is his life's purpose.

When I asked Matthew something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "my happiness, because I'm in charge of it."

Thank you, Matthew.

 

Day 209 - Bruce

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This is Bruce.  We met at the park along the Columbia river on a beautifully sunny day.

"Getting to know who God really is," Bruce answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Bruce has endured a few difficulties the past few years.  He broke and seriously injured his leg, was divorced, and now his injured leg is causing more serious problems again.  Through it all, Bruce has found comfort and strength in faith in God.

When I asked Bruce if he's performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness, he answered, "both."  Bruce was a very shy person and didn't think he had much to offer, other than his skills in construction, but now he considers himself to be an "encourager."  When he was working, before his injury, he would help build and re-build in distressed areas and he would like to return to that some day when he's healed again.  "We are so valuable, we don't even understand it," Bruce said, when he spoke of our purpose to be used by God to contribute to something bigger. He's also been on the receiving end of kindness, finding support in his new group of friends he's met through Church.

"To love and help other people," Bruce answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

I asked Bruce something about himself which he considered to be a success and he answered that he was a successful builder, he's raised 4 kids, and he's maintained a positive attitude.

Bruce and I continued to visit for quite a while and I was so glad to have met him that day.

Thank you, Bruce.

 

Here's the summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from week 30:

  • To grow as a human being, to become more self-aware, to learn from others and hopefully teach something along the way.
  • What do you do when no one is looking?
  • Learn something new every day
  • right now...just to get that book finished."
  • To love
  • To love and help other people
  • Constant forward movement.  Constant forward progression

Thank you for following along, and thank you to each and every subject in this project.

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 29

Hello! This is week 29 of  the 365 More People Pictures Project.  I've fallen terribly behind in the blog posts but I'm still taking a picture of a person, every single day.  I post the pictures to instagram, so if you'd like to follow along daily, my username is @missellana.

Don't worry! Everything is going great. We've been traveling on the weekends as we're considering a big move to a little cabin in the woods. It's a huge change to consider and I don't know if I'm ready for that kind of life...you know, paradise!  The driving time to and from the cabin has been cutting into my writing time and I've fallen behind.

 

Day 196 - Jake

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This is Jake.  We met at a rest stop along I5.   The happiest thing happening in Jake's life is being in the Northwest.

Aside from Jake's service to our Country, when I asked Jake if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he answered, "I do good stuff for people every day."

"To live life to the fullest and do whatever it is to make yourself happy," Jake answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

When I asked Jake something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I'm successful at turning any situation into a positive."

Thank you, Jake! Thank you for your serving.

 

Day 197 - Matt

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This is Matt.  He was waiting for a movie to start at Hollywood Theater.

The happiest thing happening in Matt's life right now is that he's buying a new home.

Matt's recent act of kindness is his volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity.

"Do the best you can, while empowering others to do the same," Matt answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

I asked Matt something about himself which he considers to be a success and he explained that it was his decision to leave his job in D.C. and move to Portland.  It takes a lot of courage to uproot yourself and replant somewhere completely different.

Thank you, Matt!

 

Day 198 - Mary Grace

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This is Mary Grace.  We met on the street.

I was having a horrible day when I met Mary Grace.  This project fills me with all kinds of love, hope, happiness and a general sense of positivity, but those feelings can sometimes get depleted and then I start feeling and reacting in the exact opposite way.

I had been feeling so down that I was ready to toss in the towel on the project.  One part of me is filled with all of these good feelings, but then the other part of me was feeling disappointed, stressed, a little angry, and not in a good place in general.  Then I met Mary Grace and she restored my faith and reminded me of the reasons I'm doing this in the first place.

We're not perfect. We never will be, because we're human.  But if we strive to make forward-moving progress, eventually the moments and days which we spread positivity and kindness, and see positivity and kindness in others, will outnumber the moments and days that we don't.

When I asked Mary Grace the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she answered, "I'm very happy right now!"  She went on to explain that she sold her home in California, she was enjoying some free time, she's healthy, has a great job, and is just feeling grateful.

Mary Grace's recent act of kindness is that she donated money so that a person could take a Zumba class.  Her instructor has set up an anonymous program where people can donate money to help women who can't afford the fees.

When I asked Mary Grace if she has a personal mission statement, she answered, "I try to remember that I want to keep my heart soft and sweet, and to keep it that way, I have to be aware of how I communicate with people and who I allow in my life."  Mary Grace added that she does this by questioning herself: "How do I make my heart bigger?"

I asked Mary Grace something about herself which she considers to be a success and she answered, "I've developed good friendships."

Mary Grace was one of the kindest ladies I've met.  I told her I will think of her and remind myself that I'm working on having a big heart and keeping it soft and sweet.  We had a frank conversation and I confessed to Mary Grace that I'm finding that as I get older, it's a harder challenge to keep my heart soft and sweet.  When we were younger, we didn't even have to try.  Naive and protected by the love of our parents and family, our hearts were soft and sweet and full of love.  I told Mary Grace that life and experiences have hardened me a little, but I will continue to work at  keeping my heart soft and sweet.  When I ask myself, "how do I make my heart bigger?" the answer is simple.  This project.  This project has been the best experience in the world for me and meeting all of these people, helps me to continue to grow.

Thank you, Mary Grace.

 

Day 199 - Maeve

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This is Maeve. We met at the bus stop.

The happiest thing happening in Maeve's life right now is her job, and that she gets to work with fun people, do good things, and make puppets!

When I asked Maeve if she's either recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of kindness, she answered that she has a couple people in her life who are being really kind toward her.

Maeve's life's purpose:  "I am an artist."  Maeve explained that she experiences the world aesthetically and through her art, she tries to reflect back the beautiful and magical things she sees, which may be hidden to others.  Check out Maeve's work here! 

Thank you, Maeve.

 

Day 200 - Lou

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This is Lou.  He was just trying to get coffee at Starbucks but I approached him to ask if I could take his picture for the project.

When I asked Lou the happiest thing happening in his life, he had so many he couldn't narrow it down! I love it when that happens.  He finally just answered, "an accumulation of a lot of different things."

Lou shared two recent examples where he was on the receiving end of kindness.  A co-worker had shared their lunch, and his wife had given him a ride to work.

"To pass onto other people, good intentions," Lou answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

I asked Lou something about himself which he considers to be a success and he answered, "bringing up my kids to the point where they are right now."  Lou thinks they're pretty good people.

I was so glad to have met Lou and I hope he was a little re-inspired by our meeting. He shared that he's been sitting on an idea for a project of his own.  It is an excellent idea, and I hope he pursues it. I won't spill the beans because it's a good idea and I forgot to ask if it was ok to talk about.  I encouraged Lou to start right away, and hope that he does!  His idea would make an excellent book!

Thank you, Lou.

 

Day 201 - 1985

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This is 1985.  "1985" is his DJ Name on the KPSU radio show, Departures. (Thursdays from 9-10pm)   We met at my favorite coffee shop in the Hollywood District, Nectar Cafe.

I had stopped in for my after-work coffee and the barista asked if I had found a person for the day.  I told her I was on my way out to go searching, and she volunteered 1985.  (He isn't just any ol' customer, he's her boyfriend, so she knew he'd say yes!) I would have never known from his great spirits, but 1985 had just had his wisdom teeth removed earlier in the day.  He was such a trooper!

This picture is just from my phone because I learned the hard way that my new camera will let you take pictures even when there isn't a memory card in the slot.  Luckily I realized what I had done and took a few more pictures with my phone.

I asked 1985 the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "pursuing my passion of music and discovering that to be a true form of happiness."

1985 was recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness when a guy at the gas station complimented him on his nice smile.  1985 and I both anticipated that he'd also be receiving lots of loving kindness from his girlfriend who would be helping to take care of him while he recovered from his surgery that day.

When I asked 1985 if he has a personal mission statement, he answered with two quotes he refers to:  "Perfection is a curse" and "There is no finish line."

"Keeping myself in shape and having an open mind and a good heart," 1985 answered, when I asked something about himself he would consider to be a success.  1985 explained he had lost a bunch of weight and he's now keeping fit and healthy.  Awesome job, 1985!

Thank you, 1985,  for being in the project and going with the flow when I discovered my error.  You were so awesome! (especially considering your surgery that day!)

 

Day 202 - Charlotte

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This is Charlotte.  My husband and I had traveled a ways to go buy a little pick-up truck from Charlotte's husband and while my husband and Charlotte's husband did their thing, Charlotte was so nice she agreed to let me take her picture for the project.  I thought this was so sweet.  Buying a new vehicle can be pretty stressful and then I realized I still hadn't found a person for the day.    Charlotte saved the day when she agreed to be in the project!

"My grandchildren," Charlotte answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

I asked Charlotte if she's performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. She said both, but she couldn't really share what they had been.

"To be content with whatever state I'm in," Charlotte answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement.

I asked Charlotte something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she answered, "getting to this point...having the basics, the kids are happily married and we have grand kinds, and we're all alive and healthy."

Thank you, Charlotte!

 

Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from week 29:

  • To live life to the fullest and do whatever it is to make yourself happy.
  • Do the best you can, while empowering others to do the same.
  • I try to remember that I want to keep my heart soft and sweet, and to keep it that way, I have to be aware of how I communicate with people and who I allow in my life.
  • I am an artist - I experience the world aesthetically and through art, I try to reflect back the beautiful and magical things I see, which may be hidden to others. 
  • To pass onto other people, good intentions.
  • Perfection is a curse.
  • There is no finish line.
  • To be content with whatever state I'm in.

Thank you!

Week 30 is coming right up too!  We'll get caught up slowly but surely!

 

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 28

Hello! Thank you for checking out week 28 of the 365 More People Pictures project.  I've been running a little behind in posting, but no worries...I'm still on track for taking a picture every single day.  If you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea .

 

Day 189 - Angela

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This is Angela.

The happiest thing happening in her life right now: "is that everybody in my family is healthy and moving forward."

I asked Angela if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of kindness and she said that she's on the receiving end of lots of kindness and she hopes she's on the giving end as well.

"To strive to find balance and to realize that whatever you're going through is just a moment in time," Angela answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.   Angela had said a few things that lead me to believe she had just gone through a tough situation so I asked her about it.  She said everything is great, but that she had just come from a movie theater which was showing all of the Oscar-nominated documentary shorts and she said that she felt like she had just gone through therapy.  The films were perspective-changing and she felt like she had been turned inside out.  After watching some of the horribly sad films, she realized that life is pretty good.  She was still processing everything in her head when I had approached her on the street.

When I asked Angela something about herself she considers to be a success, she answered that it was her children: "The fact that I've raised good people, good souls, and they have good balance and good moral centers."

Thank you, Angela!

 

Day 190 - James

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This is James.  We met at the bus stop.  James was so surprised when I approached to ask if he'd be in the project.  He said that nobody has ever done anything like that before.

"Taking care of my Son," James answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

James' recent act of kindness is that he gives money to homeless people.

I asked James his life's purpose and he answered, "To be able to take care of my son and make sure he grows up right."

When I asked James something about himself which he considers to be a success, at first he said that he isn't there yet.  Several people have initially answered in the same way, but the point of asking this question is for people to identify one of their current strengths or personal achievements. We're always so focused on our future hopes and dreams, that we overlook our current strengths and minimize what we've gone through to get where we are. Sure, we may have a  long way yet to go - but this is just one more sneaky exercise in gratitude and positivity and I just want people to be able to talk about some positive things, in the hopes of amplifying them.   After encouraging James to think of something current, he answered, "I'm good at understanding people, and I'm focused."

James was so great!  We had a little more time than I normally get to spend with people.  James was willing to let me take several pictures, in a few different places, with a few different settings, and he and even sat down on the curb when I explained I always seem to have great luck when I take a picture of a person when they're sitting.

Thank you, James!

 

Day 191 - Bill

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This is Bill.  We met on the street.

"I'm going to be putting on a show," Bill answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life.  Bill is a comedian and he's going to perform at Velo Cult soon!

When I asked Bill if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he was having a hard time thinking of anything.  He was to the point of giving up, but he was such a nice guy that I knew he must perform kind gestures for people all the time.  I encouraged him to think about even just little things, such as opening the door for someone or being extra polite or complimenting someone.  Bill was certain he had complimented someone recently.  I also reminded him that he was kind enough to stop and let me take his picture.

When I asked Bill if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose, he answered, "To drink life out of a chalice, to achieve everything that I can, that I want to, and...I want to die awake and I want to die in my sleep."  Wow! Think about that last part: "I want to die awake and I want to die in my sleep."  Pretty deep and profound thinking for a guy who is also a comedian.

"My job," Bill answered, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Bill!  Good luck with your show!

 

Day 192 - Colin

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This is Colin.  We met on the street, near PSU.  "I'm about to graduate," Colin answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Colin's recent act of kindness was a donation to his previous high school's  fundraising effort to help a family with a sick child.

"To pursue a career in design while loving those around me well," Colin answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose. I joked with Colin that our "interview" was good practice for all of the interviews he'll soon be facing.  Colin would love to work with the firm where he's currently an intern.

"I've made it through college in 4 years, while working a part-time job," Colin answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

After Colin and I were finished, I had to walk a few blocks back to my car and along the way, I passed several restaurants and pubs and encountered several students.  I didn't actually realize it at the time, but after observing all of the other students I passed on my way back to the car, I was struck by how mature Colin was, compared to all of the other students I encountered.    I was  impressed and amazed by the comparison between Colin, who is just a few months from graduation, and the other younger students who acted much more like high school students than college students.   There was such a difference between the growth and maturation between Colin and the others.  Colin is definitely ready for the world and whatever comes next!

Thank you, Colin!  Wishing you lots of success and happiness!

 

Day 193 - Anthony

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This is Anthony.  We met at Doug Fir.  In a weird coincidence, we figured out that we have a mutual friend, who is actually the husband of the person I was with at the time!

"I have a roof over my head," Anthony answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Anthony's recent act of kindness is that he always has spare change to give to homeless people.  He said that he's always carried extra giving-away money, ever since he was a kid.  I was curious if his parents encouraged him to do so, or lead by example, but Anthony said it was just something he did on his own.

"To create," Anthony answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Anthony is a visual artist: "trying to recreate things how I see them."  Check out Anthony's Instagram - @anthonymeuserart  It's pretty amazing!  His work is paper cut-out pop art!

"I never give up," Anthony said, when I asked him something about himself which he considers to be a success.

Thank you, Anthony!

 

Day 194 - Taylor

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This is Taylor. We met on the street.

"Dance!" - Taylor responded, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Taylor is an architectural dancer.  I confessed that I didn't quite know what that meant, so Taylor told me to check out POV Dance to get a better understanding.  Basically, my understanding is that it's like street dance - dance with structures and buildings and the environment becomes part of the dance.  However it's defined, it's pretty awesome.  One could easily let some serious time slip away by watching architectural dance videos on youtube!

I asked Taylor if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness and he explained that he's currently a Grad student and his professors gave him a lot of extra personal help and attention in his current work.  Taylor feels like, in general, he both gives and receives kindness.

"Being present wherever you are," Taylor answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement.  I explained to Taylor how much I love this thought, and that the time we had just spent taking pictures together, was the only time that entire day where I was able to be fully present in the moment.  For a minute or two, the only thing that mattered in my little world, was Taylor...and creating a picture with him.  It's part of the reason I love this project so much and I keep hoping the present mindfulness that occurs with photography,  will spill over into the rest of my life.  And, I hope that  the person I meet each day is able to let stress and worries slip away for a few minutes and we can just have a little fun together.

"Being generally interested in lots of things," Taylor answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  I started to ask, "you must read a lot" but then I realized he had a book in hand, and my question was answered before I could even ask.

Thank you, Taylor!

 

Day 195 - Christopher

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This is Christopher.  We also met on the street, Downtown.  He was on his way to work.  It is impossible not to notice Christopher.  I was admiring his style so intently, I almost forgot to ask if I could take his picture.  After we took a few pictures, I asked and instructed him on how to do a squinch.  He nailed it!

Before I ever picked up a camera, I was a serious people-watcher. I mean, almost embarrassingly so.  I could be content sitting outside and watching people for hours.  Sometimes, I embarrass myself.   Remember when we were kids and if we looked at someone for longer than what they felt was appropriate, they would say - "take a picture, it'll last longer!"?  Well, I heard that a lot as a kid.  It's pretty ironic now. Although an adult would never say that, but if they did, I would get happy and thank them for "inviting" me to take their picture!

The happiest thing happening in Christopher's life right now is that he just spent time with his family to celebrate his 80-year-old Grandmother's Birthday, who was in town for the occasion.

I asked Christopher if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness.  Christopher said that everyone's been really nice to him.  I have no doubt Christopher is also quite kind, given just the few minutes we spent together.

"To make every day a little better than yesterday," Christopher answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement.

I asked Christopher something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered that he has an art show coming up at the Wolf & Rabbit. 

Thank you, Christopher!

 

Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

To strive to find balance and to realize that whatever you're going through is just a moment in time.

  • To be able to take care of my son and make sure he grows up right.
  • To drink life out of a chalice, to achieve everything that I can, that I want to, and...I want to die awake and I want to die in my sleep.
  • To pursue a career in design while loving those around me, well.
  • To create
  • Being present wherever you are.
  • To make every day a little better than yesterday

 

Thank you for reading this week and following along in the project!  I'll catch us up to the current week (which is the week prior) very soon!

Thank you!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 27

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 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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"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

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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!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 26

Hi there! We're finished with week 26, of the 365 More People Pictures project.

 

Day 175 - Lowell

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This is Lowell.  We met outside the mall.

"I woke up this morning, vertical," Lowell answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Lowell if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Lowell explained that he's been on the receiving end of kindness.  Lowell was homeless for a while, but he now has a place to live.  I'm so glad Lowell has landed on his feet and he received the kindness he needed most.

"I'm still looking, Lowell answered with a grin, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Lowell something about himself which he would consider to be a success, I thought for sure his answer would be related to his military service or his work, as he was wearing pins on his hat indicating both.  Instead, he answered in a thick Southern accent, "I raised 4 kids...they're good Church-going people."

Wishing the best for Lowell, and that he continues to have a place to live and love from his family.

 

Day 176 - Walker

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This is Walker.  We met outside of Sam's.

Walker was such a great subject because he was willing to give me lots of time, and he doesn't seem to mind being in front of a camera.  I had a hard time choosing which picture to share with you!

"A really lovely girl I met," Walker answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Walker said that he was recently the recipient of an act of kindness, in that his sister just took him to the coast for the weekend.  In return, Walker helped her to learn guitar.  I was impressed they were able to achieve progress in weekend of guitar lessons. Either Walker is an excellent teacher or his sister is a natural!  (or perhaps both.)

"To find contentment in simplicity," is Walker's personal mission statement.  I love this!  Walker re-affirmed my objective to continue to purge and rid my life of anything (material) that I don't absolutely need or love.

When I asked Walker something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that he taught himself how to play the mandolin.

Thank you, Walker.

 

Day 177 - Boo

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This is Boo.  She was walking toward me as we walked down the sidewalk.  I almost didn't stop her because she definitely looked like she had places to go and things to do, but I just couldn't resist because she looked like an interesting person. She carried herself with confidence and determination, and she was wearing a motorcycle jacket so she had a little bit of badass-ness about her as well.  She struck me as an authority.  Oh, and I'm pretty sure her motorcycle jacket was an actual motorcycle jacket, as in, her bike was parked down the street.

When I asked Boo the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she said that she was on her way to get her first tattoo!  We were just a few footsteps away from the tattoo shop.  She was going to get her family's crest.  I asked if anyone else in her family had the tattoo and she said that all of her brothers have it, so it was her turn to get it.

"I try every day to be the best that I can be, to take care of my family and loved ones, and to be the best role model I can be," Boo answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement.

I asked Boo something about herself which she considers to be a success and she answered, "I think...the way I raised my son."

Thank you, Boo!

 

Day 178 - Benny

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This is Benny.  We also met outside of Sam's.  He was taking a break before playing in a pool tournament.

"My relationship," Benny answered with huge smile, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. "I'm the luckiest man alive," Benny added.

When I asked Benny if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness, he answered, "Both - that's how I go about my day."  People often can't remember a specific example, but Benny is certain he both gives and receives kindness often.

When I asked if Benny had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, he said that he doesn't really have a mission statement, but more of an actual mission:  "Exploration."  When we met, Benny had just moved from Colorado and had only been in Portland for 4 days, so he's not only exploring the city, but exploring a new career and life here.  As far as his life's purpose, Benny said, "To help people find their potential." "I feel like I'm a good coach and teacher," Benny added. Benny is fulfilled when he helps others to fulfill their potential.

Benny told me that I was the first person to stop and talk with him since he arrived. I was so bummed to hear this, because we're so nice in Portland!  Portland is a friendly place, for the most part.  Benny explained that he had moved from New York to Colorado and he transitioned from being a person who kept to himself in New York, to being a person who talked with random strangers in Colorado.  Benny said strangers just stop and talk with you in Colorado and that's the expectation he had for Portland, but his initial experience left him feeling more like how things were in New York.  I assured Benny that Portland is friendly and he would have many more positive interactions to follow.  Hmmm...maybe we warm up when the weather warms up?

When I asked Benny something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he had a hard time answering the question because he's a humble.  Benny decided that he was successful with change.  He's uprooted himself a few times and even though it's intimidating, he's embraced the changes.  He's also a good pool player.

Welcome to Portland, Benny!

 

Day 179 - Richard

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This is Richard.  Richard was on his way to go buy an umbrella when we met.  It's been pouring here for the past few days.  When Portlanders break down and go umbrella shopping, you know it's raining hard!  (I have a confession. Since starting this project, I've discovered that umbrellas are a fabulously wonderful invention!  I don't care anymore that Portlanders think you're an out-of-towner if you're using one.  I started using one to keep my camera protected and discovered the added benefit of not looking like a soggy muffin when I've been out wandering the streets.  So there.  I admit it.  I use an umbrella and I like it. Phew.  I really needed to get that off my chest.)

Richard was another person for whom I had a hard time choosing my favorite picture.  Although I love it when people are smiling and happy and their photo looks like they were genuinely having fun making pictures with me, when I'm faced with the decision of having more than one good picture to use, I tend to favor the photos which are a little more edgy, tough, and pensive, over the happy/smiling photos.  I've noticed I quite frequently choose more pensive-looking photos that are technically lower quality, over happy/smily pictures which may be more technically sound.  I liked this picture of Richard because he looks a little Rock Star-ish.

"My kids are growing up well," Richard answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Richard if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he considered the question for quite a while before answering, "I should work on that."  Again, I'm sure Richard spreads kindness in some way...he stopped in the awful weather and let me take his picture.  That's an act of kindness.  It's just really hard for people to think of something specific when we're put on the spot.

"To leave the world better than I came into it," Richard answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

Something about himself which Richard considers to be a success, is his family.

Thank you, Richard!

 

Day 180 - Kayla

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This is Kayla.  We met at a coffee shop.

When I walked into the coffee shop, the barista wasn't at the counter, like usual.  Kayla, sitting at a table in the corner,  told me the barista ran next door and would be right back.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to ask Kayla if I could take her picture for the project.  Kayla agreed, and then the barista returned at that moment.  Kayla told me I should take the barista's picture instead.  Kayla said something like, "She's beautiful and I'm not."  The barista there is absolutely stunning...like the kind of pretty where you seriously can't help but to stare at her, and then you feel like a creeper for staring!  The barista,  standing right there at our table, was trying to figure out what we were talking about.  I agreed with Kayla, that "yes, she is beautiful...but so are you!"  With that little bit of assurance, Kayla was back on board.  Then I got nervous!  The coffee shop is a really challenging place to get a nice picture. I've blown it every time I've taken someone's picture there.  If I blew it with Kayla, I didn't wan't it to impact her self-confidence since it was already a bit fragile.   Kayla is beautiful.  (She just doesn't see it when she looks in the mirror.)

The happiest thing happening in Kayla's life right now is that she now has no roommates! Although she's had great roommate experiences, she's also excited to be living on her own.

When I asked Kayla if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of kindness, she explained that she works in customer service.  Her job is to give kindness.  Kayla also said that she'll sometimes buy coffee or drinks at Whole Foods, not really needing or wanting the drinks, but just making the purchase so she can sit down and use her computer and  free Wi-Fi.  When she's finished, she'll give the items she purchased to homeless people who are often sitting outside the store.  (That's both giving and receiving!)

Kayla is going to school to become a massage therapist, so her life's purpose is: "Making people feel relieved and relaxed, and helping them to feel better about their body."

When I asked Kayla something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "Surviving.  I've been through a lot of crap."

After meeting so many survivor type people, and surviving some crap of my own, it's so clear to me that positive life changes result from the most painful challenges in life.  Making it through to the other side of the crap times in life, increases one's capacity to truly experience gratitude and find joy in simplicity.  When you go through the crap, you have a new appreciation for simply waking to live another day.  ("I woke up this morning, vertical," Lowell said earlier.)  I think when a person reaches the point where they value the beauty of simply surviving and waking another day, then life really begins to happen.  When you come out on the other side of  bad times, then life is filled with hope and possibility.

Kayla was actually the survivor of a car crash. I didn't ask details, but I gathered her injuries were enough to be life altering.  After all that she endured, the accident led her to start living her life's purpose.  Kayla attended college on a golf scholarship but she wasn't going to school for anything she was truly passionate about.  After the accident, she had to go through treatment and rehabilitation which included seeing chiropractor. It was her experience in going through rehab for her accident, that solidified her desire to become a massage therapist.  She always thought she wanted to be a massage therapist, but had she not had the accident, she may have never followed her heart and pursued massage as a career.  She was able to turn a bad, life-altering, accident into a positive opportunity.

Thank you, beautiful Kayla.

 

Day 181 - Alvin

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This is Alvin.  We met in the mall.  I wasn't even looking for a subject at that particular time, but when Alvin walked by, I was compelled to ask if he would be in the project.

"My children," Alvin answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Alvin if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that he's been working with someone who is currently grieving.  The exact phrase he said, made me think that perhaps grief counseling was his job, but Alvin clarified that it was personal, not professional.  Alvin is actually a massage therapist and having just talked with Kayla the day before, reminded me that massage therapists are doing their part to spread kindness. It's much easier to spread kindness when we're not in pain or suffering in some way.

"Don't just aim to please, aim to impress," Alvin said, is his personal motto.

"I'm continuously evolving with family, business and everyday life," Alvin answered, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Alvin!

 

Here's the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week.

  • I'm still looking.
  • To find contentment in simplicity.
  • I try every day to be the best that I can be, to take care of my family and loved ones, and to be the best role model I can be.
  • Exploration.
  • To help people find their potential.
  • To leave the world better than I came into it.
  • Making people feel relieved and relaxed, and helping them to feel better about their body.
  • Don't just aim to please, aim to impress.

 

Thank you for another week!

365 More People Pictures - Week 25

Hello! Thank you for checking out week 25 of the 365 More People Pictures project.  If this is your first time checking in, this is my second personal 365 Day Photography challenge to take a picture of a person every day for another year.  The majority of the people in this project are strangers, but also included are a few friends, family and co-workers.

I got my first DSLR a little over 540 days ago and in attempt to learn photography so that I could have visual content for this blog, I challenged myself to take a picture of a person, every single day, for an entire year. When the first 365 days were finished, I just couldn't stop!  I discovered I loved meeting and talking with people so I challenged myself to another 365 Days. Plus, I was a little worried if I didn't continue another project, I might set down my camera and not make the time or find a reason to pick it up ever again.  I love photography, and challenging myself to a 365 Day Project gives me a very good excuse, and very good motivation, to stick with it.  Plus, I just still have soooooo much more to learn!

I didn't have a clear path set when I started this blog, and obviously the project has now taken over the entire purpose of the blog.  That may change some day, but for now, I'm just loving what I've been doing and all the people I've had the opportunity to talk with.

If you'd like to follow along daily, my instagram username is @missellanea.

 

Day 168 - Amber the Corgi, and Her Human

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This is Amber and her Human.  They were out for a walk at Esther Short Park on this foggy day.

I asked Amber's human the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she said that it was moving out here from Albuquerque.

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"I wish I could think of something deep and meaningful, but I just want to do good in my life and be happy," Amber's human said, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement.  It doesn't matter how the words are constructed, striving to do good and being happy is meaningful.

When I asked Amber's human something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "I'm independent."

Welcome to the Northwest, Amber & her Human

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As I was leaving the park, I looked over just in time to see this man walking out of a dense patch of fog.  It looked like something out of a scary movie!  I was both fascinated and a little creeped out too.

 

Day 169 - Kyle

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This is Kyle. We met at Starbucks.

"This beautiful weather!  I spent the weekend outdoors with my family," Kyle answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  This week was a little bizarre as far as weather goes.  We went from cold and fog so think you could practically feel it, to having sunshine and spring-lik temperatures.

I asked Kyle if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness. Kyle said that he's received help and kindness from his friends and family.

"To not let fear or laziness get in the way," Kyle answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement.  This is so true.  When I think about the goals or accomplishments I've never pursued, the reasons for not achieving success simply boils down to fear. Either the fear of failure, or even the fear of success and all the work that comes with it.  One could argue that's also laziness, but at it's deepest root - I still find fear.  This is an excellent personal mission statement and I've been thinking of it since meeting Kyle, and have questioned myself throughout the week to put both fear and laziness in check.

"Still being alive," Kyle answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

 

Day 170 - Ryan

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This is Ryan. We met at a convenience store.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now is his job as an elevator mechanic, and his new Triumph motorcycle. Ryan told me a little about the program and requirements to be an Elevator Mechanic.  When school/training and apprenticeship hours are completed, an elevator mechanic will have over 10,000 hours of experience.  No wonder it's so rare to be caught in an elevator!

I asked Ryan if he's recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness.  Ryan said that he's always trying to help others. He helps out his ex, even though they're no longer together, and he does little things to pay it forward like buying coffee for random people at coffee shops.  Ryan then said that his Mom wishes he would go to Church more often.  I laughed and explained that I could relate...it's what moms do!

"To live life to the fullest and treat other people the way I want to be treated," Ryan answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement.  I told Ryan that in spite of his Church attendance record, his Mom would be proud that he's living the golden rule.

When I asked Ryan something about himself which he considers to be a success, he said it's his mechanical, electrical, and welding background.  Ryan then added that a few years ago,  he was also ranked 47th in the country for AMA Flat Track Racing.

Thank you, Ryan!

 

Day 171 - Kassie

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This is Kassie.  We met at the bus stop.

"I made really great friends this year," Kassie answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

"To always be your best person so you can set an example for others," Kassie answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement or if she could make one up.  Kassie is going to school to become a therapist and I can tell she's going to be a great one!  When I confessed to Kassie how few hours of the day that I could actually say I'm being my best person, vs. how much I want to be/or am striving toward, she answered in a way that made it feel ok.  She made it seem like we get credit for the desire and our effort to be our best person, even if our progress is imperfect.

I asked Kassie something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she answered, "I'm very motivated."

Thank you, Kassie and good luck with school!

 

Day 172 - Mogwai

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This is Mogwai.  We also met at a bus stop.

The happiest thing happening in Mogwai's life right now, and something about herself which she would consider to be a success,  is that she's returned to school!

When I asked Mogwai if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of kindness, she explained that she's received quite a bit of kindness this past year.  Mogwai was basically homeless but thanks to the help of others, she's now back on her feet and has taking advantage of the opportunity to go back to school. In turn, she's starting a charity organization of her own so that she can help others who were in her situation.

The bus arrived before we finished.  Good luck, Mogwai!

 

Day 173 - Chris

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This is Chris.  It was friday night and I spotted him sitting in his car with the door open, eating carrots.  I initially walked past him and then found myself wondering why he was sitting in his car, eating carrots, on a Friday night.  Then of course that thought was followed by the thought, what am I'm doing, wandering around on a Friday night, looking for a person to take a picture of, when there's an interesting person right there?  So, I turned back and approached Chris to ask if I could take his picture for the project.

Chris was parked outside of Velo Cult and when I asked if he was waiting for someone, he explained that he was waiting for a show to start inside.

"This show tonight," Chris answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.   I learned that Chris is the Editor of Vortex Magazine, which is a magazine about the local Portland music scene.  The concert had been a secret show to which Vortext presented clues during the month to reveal the location.

When I asked Chris if he's recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he was sure he had done something but he was having trouble thinking of anything specific.  He asked if we could circle back.  A few moments later, Chris' friend/co-worker/photographer came out and Chris asked him if he could remember if he's done anything nice.  Chris' friend reached into Chris' little container o' carrots, stuffed one in his mouth and then said that Chris let him have some of his carrots!  Ha!  The two had been working hard and were loading in cases of magazines for the show and hadn't had time to eat.  Chris is a good guy...he doesn't let his friends/co-workers/photographers starve!

"I believe very strongly that collaboration will make all of us stronger," Chris answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could make one up.

When I asked Chris something about himself he would consider to be a success, Chris answered, "I feel like I'm good at bringing people together that share similar values."  I pointed out to Chris how perfectly this trait aligns with his personal mission statement.  Chris agreed, saying he also realized it too, after he answered.

When we were finished, Chris told me a little more about Vortex and gave me two issues.  Chris has created a dream-come-true job for himself. I told Chris I've been wanting for (or dreaming of) a new Portland magazine, and Chris has set out to do just that.  I can imagine all of the challenges he must face in giving birth to a new publication at a time when print is battling for survival, but he's making it happen!  Chris is using this time as an opportunity. He and everyone at Vortex are putting out a really good product and I can't wait to see how it evolves!  You can check out Vortex online, subscribe for whatever you feel like paying, or if you see Vortex when you're out - definitely pick up a copy!

I have such huge admiration for Chris and people like him...people who just make things happen.  Chris may have had a hard time thinking of an act of kindness but after reading his magazine, I realized Vortex is not only his passion, but in a way, it is also an act of kindness.  Chris is helping to promote and give exposure to local bands, venues, and the other businesses and services surrounding and supporting music.

Chris, wishing you and Vortex great success and I hope you're having fun creating it as well.

 

Day 174 - Shelby

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This is Shelby.  She is the daughter of one of my dearest and oldest friends.  I attended her Senior gymnastics meet on Saturday.  I can't even believe this little girl is graduating in just a few short months and I don't know how you parents do it.  It's so hard to let go.  It feels like just a few months ago when my friend announced she was having a baby and I can still remember rubbing my friend's little baby bump tummy when Shelby was just a bun in the oven.

It was difficult choosing the picture to share here.  We made  few that looked just like the adorable bright and sun-shiny little girl that I know and love, and then there was this one.  We were taking these pictures at night, in a little alley between two buildings, so the light and shadows were a little weird and challenging.  Although it was a tough decision, I deliberately chose this picture because she looked more like a young woman than a little girl, and she was split between shadow and light, and that's the kind of bittersweet conflict I was feeling knowing this was one of her final high school gymnastics meets.  Shelby has such a bright future ahead of her, but I was left wondering where all the time went.  I can't even imagine how her parents, or any parents, feel and cope knowing that part of being a parent is letting their child out into the world to go create a life for themselves.  It's both exciting and terrifying, both gratifying and sad.

The happiest thing happening in Shelby's life right now is that she's appreciating each moment that she has with her team.  I loved watching Shelby's team and the love and support they gave to one another.

When I asked Shelby if she's recently performed an act of kindness, she was having trouble remembering anything specific but I know this kid is one good-hearted kid and she's been doing volunteer work for years.  I helped remind her that we had just done a Project Brown Bag mission on Christmas, and then her mom added that Shelby volunteers to coach Special Abilities Gymnastics, she volunteered to be a Bell-Ringer for Salvation Army, and she often gives her teammates rides home.  Shelby questioned her mom, saying she didn't think that was really an act of kindness, but rather just something she should do to help her teammates.  Shelby's Mom laughed and said, "trust me, it's a big act of kindness for the girls' moms!"  I can also remember my friend would take Shelby and her brother to volunteer at a local homeless shelter when they were younger, and they also volunteered for Meals on Wheels.  Earlier this year, while on "vacation," they also went to one of the toughest parts of Oakland and worked with an outreach organization providing services to homeless people.  Shelby has been to some pretty tough places (with supervision) and seen people in difficult circumstances.  I think that her experiences have helped shape her to becoming the loving and compassionate person she's grown to be.

"Surround yourself with positive people," Shelby answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement.  Yes!  So glad Shelby has this figured out at her young age.

When I asked Shelby something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "Maintaining a 4.0 GPA and being a 3-sport varsity athlete."  Shelby is one amazing young woman.  She's smart, hard-working, compassionate, strong and beautiful.

Shelby, wishing you happiness in whatever you decide to do.  I love you, we're all so proud of you, and I'm so happy to have been a tiny part in your life.  Thank you.

 

Here's the summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week.

  •  To do good in my life and be happy.
  • To not let fear or laziness get in the way.
  • To life life to the fullest and treat other people the way I war to be treated.
  • To always be your best person so you can set an example for others.
  • I believe very strongly that collaboration will make all of us stronger.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.

 

Thank you to each and every subject in this project.  I appreciate you and your willingness to share yourself with us.

Thank you for reading!

 

Have a  big week!

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 24

Hello! Thank you for checking out week 24 of the 365 More People Pictures project!

Remember, if you'd like to follow along daily on Instagram, my username is: @missellanea.

 

Day 161 - Garret & Bella

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This is Garret & Bella.

I waited until after the game to go out in search of a subject and I knew it was going to be a challenge to find someone in downtown Vancouver. Everyone would be at home or in a bar celebrating the Seahawks NFC Championship win!  After wandering around for a while, I finally spotted Garret.  Ok, really, I spotted Bella and after admiring her, I noticed she also had a nice-looking human at the end of her leash.

The happiest thing happening in Garret's life right now is that he's moving to Austin soon!  He's transferring there for his work.

I asked Garret if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Garret's first visit to Austin left him feeling like he's been on the receiving end of kindness.  Garret said that in Austin, you can be walking down the street and people will greet you and ask how you are, and they really mean it!  They have a genuine interest in how you're doing. Garret feels like he's already made friends there.

"Try everything once," Garret answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

When I asked Garret something about himself which he considers to be a success, he answered that it was the advancements that he's made at his job.  Garret started from the bottom and worked his way up. He said he started, literally, sweeping floors, and now he's made such progress, his employer is transferring him to Texas!  Way to go, Garret! Wishing you luck and success in Austin!

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I was bummed about the pictures.  I had two adorable subjects, but just didn't manage to show you that.  One downside of this project is that because the original challenge was to have a continuous 365 day streak of taking a picture of a person, every single day, I sometimes often end up posting pictures that I don't love.  Garett is quite good-looking, almost strikingly so, but I failed at conveying that to you.

There have been times I've felt like I've done a bad job of conveying a person's something-special.  Sometimes, I even manage to make a very attractive person look less-attractive than what they really are.

What I learned in the workshop I attended a couple weekends ago, is that we shouldn't show our "bad" pictures to the world.  When I start a new project or new blog, I will do just that. It will be a carefully and deliberately selected collection of images and I will only show, what I think, is my best work.  This project/challenge is a little unique, however, because of the added pressure to go for a continuous 365 Day Streak.  In order to maintain the streak, I've had to share "reality" with you.  I've had to share that some days I can do better than others. You've seen my entire one-step-forward-two-steps-back process.  Although I cringe when I have to post something I don't love, for now, it's ok. It's like you're right along with me and helping me through the learning process.

 

Day 162 - Bob

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This is Bob.

"This...just getting my picture taken," Bob said, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Bob actually has some exiting things happening as he's getting a re-start in life.

I asked Bob if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he said that he had just given money to a street kid at a bus stop downtown.

Bob didn't have a personal mission statement but he's definitely a man on a mission!  Bob wants to be healed enough to start his job search and start working a new job, and then when he finds a new job, he wants to buy a car.  Bob then joked that when he's accomplished that, "then, I'll be looking for a woman."  I liked Bob so much, I called my Mom after meeting him and told her that if she moved up here, I'd "allow" her to date Bob.

When I asked Bob something about himself which he considers to be a success, he answered, "raising 5 kids, pretty much, successfully."  When I questioned his use of the phrase, "pretty much," Bob explained that he had a Son whose life was way too short. He died at age 27, but it was 27 years longer than they expected.  His son battled for his life since birth and they didn't know if he'd even make it out of the hospital when he was born.  Bob's son spent quite a while in the hospital.  Bob and his wife lived close to an hour away from the hospital and Bob would work all day, then he and his wife would drive into Portland, in his old truck, and stay with his Son as long as they could before going home and repeating the journey again the next day.  Looking back, they didn't know how they did it but they just made it through.

Thank you for sharing yourself, Bob. Wishing you good health and good luck on your job, car and lady search.

 

Day 163 - Heath

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This is Heath.  He had barely parked his bike and taken off his helmet when I approached to ask if I could take his picture.

"My relationship is so good...my life is really good," Heath answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Heath's recent act of kindness is that he helped a woman to expand her non-profit organization by networking and connecting her with a friend.  Way to go, Heath!

When I asked Heath if he has a personal mission statement, he answered that he has a personal outlook which he adheres to - "to be grateful for what I have."  Heath then remarked that he feels like he has a lot for which to be grateful!  I mentioned to Heath that what little I've read about positivity and the laws of attraction, is that the simple act of gratitude attracts even more abundance.  When we appreciate and are grateful for what we have, we attract even more for which to be grateful.  Heath said it's working!

When I asked Heath something about himself which he considers to be a success, he explained that he's overcome failures and instead of creating barriers, he's opened new doors.

Thank you, Heath!

 

Day 164 - Sheari

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This is Sheari. We met at the bus stop.  Sheari was so sweet.  We weren't quite finished with the interview when the bus arrived but Sheari decided to skip that bus and just catch the next one.  I couldn't believe that she was willing to do that!  I'm glad she did though, she was a genuinely kind person and I'm glad we met.

The happiest thing happening in Sheari's life right now is that she's about to move to LA!

When I asked Sheari if she's recently performed an act of kindness, she explained that she works in social services.  Sheari's life is devoted to serving others.  It's her hope that when she moves to LA, she'll be able to work with and serve the people who need it most - skid row.

"To leave the world a little bit better than I came into it," Sheari answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement.  You're already doing that, Sheari!

When I asked Sheari something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "my independence." Sheari left her small town and her Country to pursue her passion helping others.

Thank you, Sheari!  You're making a difference.

 

Day 165 - Jules

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This is Jules.

He was part of a crew filming near my work.  I was a little nervous about marching onto a set to see if I could find someone to be in the project, but since they were taking up practically an entire block, they couldn't expect that people wouldn't need to walk through the area.  Remembering that I had just spent an entire weekend learning to be more confident, I decided to just go for it!  Plus, I was hoping they were filming Grimm and that I'd get a glimpse of some of the action.  (Jules told me it was a commercial but considering the huge production, I wonder if he was just telling me that to keep things a bit of a secret.)

When I asked Jules the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he answered, "my career is picking up!"

Jules' recent act of kindness is that he gave a friend her big break by getting her into the industry.

Jules' personal mission statement is: "Work to learn. Learn to play. Play to live."

When I asked Jules something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "my community."  Jules clarified, his community of friends.

Jules has a really good squinch!  It was actually cool to look back through the photos and see what a difference it made when he squinched.  I gave up trying to direct everyone to squinch because it's really hard, and some people just can't do it at first.  And, often times we would end up laughing so much that it became a distraction.  But, I could tell Jules had squinch in him.  I didn't even have to go through the whole spiel about a squinch.  I think Jules must have heard of it before because all I had to do was demonstrate a squinch, and ask him to raise just his lower eye-lids, but not to the point where he would look like he was glaring or mad at me.  He nailed it!  I love it when I'm able to contribute some direction because then it feels like we actually created the image together.  I didn't take a picture, we created it.

Thank you, Jules.

 

Day 166 - Shawn

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This is Shawn.  We also met at the bus stop.

"I have a really good job that I like," Shawn answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  In a really strange coincidence, Shawn and Sheari are co-workers!  The world is definitely getting smaller.

Shawn's recent act of kindness was a bit of a surprise.  Shawn recently put out a fire on the patio of a bar/restaurant!  The bucket they have set out for cigarette butts caught on fire.  He explained this was the second time he had seen this happen there, so he was calm and knew exactly what to do.

Shawn's personal mission statement is a quote by Kurt Vonnegut:  "The wreckers against the builders, there's the whole story of life."

When I asked Shawn something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I'm legitimately happy."  Shawn recognizes that he truly happy with life and knows that not many people can say that.

I was so glad to have met both Shawn and Sheari.  They work for an organization which I've intended to check out for a few years and after meeting them both in a matter of a few days, I've recognized it as a sign that I need to attend and participate in some of the community events they offer.  Meeting Shawn was also like meeting a friend who I should have had in my life all along.

Thank you, Shawn!

 

Day 167 - Tabatha

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This is Tabatha.  She was on break from her job inside the mall when I approached to ask if I could take her picture.

"I got a job," Tabatha answered enthusiastically, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

When I asked Tabatha if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she said that she's been on the receiving end of kindness. Tabatha explained that she's received a lot of help from her friends recently; one friend is letting her stay at their house, and another friend got her the job she has now.  I hoped to encourage her a little by telling her that her friend must believe in her to recommend her for a job.  I have no doubt Tabatha is doing great, judging from as much enthusiasm and appreciation she has for her job.

"I want to do good and help others," Tabatha answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement.  Tabatha then asked me if that's what everyone says.  Everything else aside, no matter how the words are packaged, the answer is yes.  One of the most common objectives of everyone in this project boils down to this one statement.  We are all the same - we want to do good and help others.  We're all connected in this way.

When I asked Tabatha something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "I'm very family oriented. I'm the glue that holds my family together."  Wishing you and your family lots of love and happiness.  It's a tough job, being glue.

Thank you, Tabatha.

 

Here's the summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • Try everything once.
  • To be grateful for what I have.
  • To leave the world a little bit better than I came into it. 
  • Work to learn. Learn to play. Play to live.
  • "The wreckers against the builders, there's the whole story of life."  
  • I want to do good and help others.

 

Thank you for following along another week, and thank you to every subject in this project. If you'd like a copy of your picture, please don't hesitate to email me.

Thank you!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 23

Hello! Thank you for checking out week 23 of the 365 More People Pictures project!

Day 154 - Jordan

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 22

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

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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.

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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.

Welcome, J.D.!

 

Day 149 - Elsa

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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!

365 More People Pictures - Week 21

Happy New Year! We're finished with week 21!

I'm excited to tell you that I'm finally taking a real photography class next weekend!  Well, it's not even really a "class."  It's more like a life-changing opportunity to learn from one of the greats!

It's pretty intimidating, actually.  Instead of wading in gradually,  I'm diving in head-first and will attend a workshop being taught by Eric Kim.  Eric Kim is one of the most well-known street photographers and bloggers in the world.

I'm nervous and intimidated because I'm lacking in some very basic skills.  It's like taking a cooking class from Gordon Ramsay when you've never learned how to boil an egg, slice tomatoes properly, or make gravy.  The beautiful thing about Eric Kim, is that he is as much a teacher as he is a photographer and writer.  He has a genuine desire to teach anyone who has a genuine desire to learn.

I'm looking forward to expanding my mind and my skills, and sharing with you soon.

 

Day 140 - Christie

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This is Christie.  We met at the bus stop at the Mall.

The happiest thing happening in Christie's life right now is her work on a documentary film about Portland in the 70's, the music scene back then, and the murder of the father of her daughter.  A documentary sounds like such a challenging undertaking and I can't wait till it's finished.

I asked Christie if she's recently performed an act of kindness and she explained that she helped a woman and her son get off the streets and into a home.

Christie's life's purpose right now is, "to reach people for Jesus, finish the movie, and singing."

When I asked Christie something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "I'm a survivalist."

Thank you, Christie!  Looking forward to seeing you you push your film through to fruition, and wishing you success!

 

Day 141 - Alex

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This is Alex. We met just walking down the street together.

"My job," Alex answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Alex's recent act of kindness is one that he performs at least once per week.  He sees an elderly homeless lady frequently, and at least one time per week, he gives her $5.  She always thanks him and tells him it will help with her electric bill.

Alex's life's purpose is "to find happiness, be open to all types of people, and to be a good person in general."

I asked Alex something about himself which he considers to be a success and he answered, "my work ethic."  Alex went on to explain he inherited it from his father, who inherited it from his father.  We talked about how our parents can have such a strong influence on our work ethic and explained I also inherited my work ethic from my Mom, who never called in sick.  Alex is 2.5 years into his apprenticeship program to become an electrician and he's not called in sick once.

Alex, thank you!

 

Day 142 - Bradina

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This is Bradina.  We met on the sidewalk.  When I approached Bradina to ask if I could take her picture, she agreed, but then got this look on her face like, why did I just say yes?  She explained she just got off work from her job as a dog groomer.  I know I wouldn't feel at all camera-ready after having bathed just my one dog.   She had been grooming dogs all day, so I appreciate her willingness to let me take her picture even after such a hard day's work.

When I asked Bradina about the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she said it was a hard question to answer. When people say that, it's usually for only two reasons - either life is so great that they can't choose the happiest thing happening in their lives, or the other reason is that life isn't so perfect right now.  Bradina paused and then answered,  "I have a job and a home, and it's my birthday tomorrow."

Bradina's recent act of kindness is that she had just alerted a woman driving by that her tire was flat.  It had just happened.  Bradina heard a noise and then saw the woman's flattened tire.

When I asked Bradina if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, she wasn't able to give an answer, saying "it's a dilemma of mine, currently."  We circled back to the question at the end and she answered that her purpose in life is, "raising my son to be a loving and caring gentleman."  Something tells me she's already doing a great job of that.

"I made a career for myself," Bradina answered, when I asked something about herself which she considers to be a success.  Brandina said that she hadn't imagined herself becoming a dog groomer.  She started out assisting and bathing dogs, and then discovered that she has a natural talent for grooming.

Thank you, Bradina! Happy Birthday!

 

Day 143 - Ian

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This is Ian.  He was in a bit of a hurry, but stopped long enough to let me take his picture for the project.  It was also freezing!  I like this picture because it makes Ian look badass.  As I was about to take the picture, Ian asked, "do I have to smile?"  I told him he didn't have to smile if he didn't want to.  This may be his tough-guy look and I know I'm blowing his cover - but in real life, he was about as sweet as could be.

I asked Ian the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he said, "I just proposed to my girlfriend...and she said yes!" They were just engaged about a week prior.

Ian's recent act of kindness is that he gave money to a homeless person.

"Do the best you can and try not to hurt anyone while you're doing it," Ian answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

"Getting the girl in my life," Ian said, is something about himself which he considers to be a success.  Awwww.  Wishing you and your fiancé the very best!

 

Day 144 - Curtis

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This is Curtis.  We met at the little park along the Columbia River.  Although it was cold, it was a beautiful day and I was surprised to see so many people starting out their new year strolling along the riverfront in the cold.

When I spotted Curtis and approached him to ask if I could take his picture for the project, he agreed without hesitation.

I asked Curtis the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he said, "to live to see another year, good health, and to be in retirement."  Curtis went on to say that he's just so thankful for a lot of things in his life.

Curtis told me that he had come to the river to think about things and sort a few things out in his mind. Curtis was concerned that he couldn't articulate an answer as well as he would have liked.  I could tell his mind was elsewhere and I explained to Curtis that I totally understand the feeling...I retreat to the trails/lakes/rivers myself, and I know how jolting it can be when you're deep in thought and then a person comes along and you have to force yourself to come back to the present moment and interact.   I was happy Curtis shared a little of his time with me.

I asked Curtis if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Curtis said he's a giver -he helps his friends, family, kids and grandkids, and his ex-wife.

When I asked Curtis if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, he answered that his mission is, "to be rich and pass wealth onto my children and grandchildren so they don't have to struggle the way I did, and so they can become contributors and not takers."  I could see love manifesting in physical form, right before my eyes.  At that moment, I could see in Curtis' expression just how much love and hope he had for his children and grandchildren.  It was as though I could see the love he had for his family, and the dreams he has for them, spill from his heart to become revealed by the look on his face and the sparkle in his eyes.  I could just feel the love he has for his family.

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Something about himself which Curtis considers to be a success, is that he's successfully raised three daughters who have all three graduated college, are married and raising families of their own, and he has a son who is still in college now.  Curtis went on to remark just how good his daughters were growing up, and how he never had to worry about them being "renegades."  They were good girls and didn't get into any trouble.  I had to hide the tears that were forming in my eyes.  I was wondering about Curtis' kids, and hoping they knew how very much their father loved them.

After we finished with the picture and interview, I thanked Curtis for letting me interrupt him and for being in the project.  I commented that he picked a great spot to come and gather his thoughts.  I love this spot on the river - you can stand on the Washington side of the river and look across to the Oregon side, and soothing action is all around you...planes, trains, automobiles, and boats.  Somehow, instead of being overwhelmed by all of the movement; cars driving across the bridge, planes flying overhead, trains pounding down the rails, the river flowing by and transporting boats along with it, you can find peace there.

I hoped Curtis was able to sort out whatever was on his mind.   After leaving him, I was struck with the thought that Curtis has already passed on immeasurable wealth to his family in the way he gives them his love.

 

Day 145 - Chris

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This is Chris.  We met at one of my favorite trails.  Chris was about to unload his mountain bike and hit the trail when I approached to ask if I could take his picture for the project.  Chris agreed, and then laughed a little, explaining that he had just come from a dentist appointment and his mouth was still numb.  We took a few pictures so I could make sure I got one where he looked most natural, and not like he had just come from the dentist.

The happiest thing happening in Chris life right now is, "going to college."

I asked Chris if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Of course, Christmas was just last week so he answered, "giving and receiving gifts."  Chris also added that his brother let him borrow his bike while he's home from college.

I asked Chris if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose and he answered, "to get through college and find something that I like."

When I asked Chris something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "that I made it to college!"

Thank you, Chris!  Wishing you success in school and whatever comes next.

 

Day 146 - Susan

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This is Susan.  We met at the trail.

"My health is good and my children are fine," Susan answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

Susan's recent act of kindness is that she does volunteer work at the free clinic.

I asked Susan if she has a personal mission statement or life's purpose and she answered that her purpose in life is "to watch my children grow up, doing well."  Susan said that's the main reason she doesn't want to exit life early.

"I'm 73 and still working," Susan said, when I asked her something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  She had also just finished walking 5 miles with her dog!  (I think she said 5 miles.)  I told Susan that my mom is her age and she's still working as well, and that she thinks it keeps her young.  Susan agreed and told me to tell my mom that she's right!

Thank you, Susan!

Here's a summary of the personal mission statements or life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To reach people for Jesus, finish the movie, and singing.
  • To find happiness, be open to all types of people, and to be a good person in general.
  • Raising my son to be a loving and caring gentleman.
  • Do the best you can and try not to hurt anyone while you're doing it.
  • To be rich and pass wealth onto my children and grandchildren so they don't have to struggle the way I did, and so they can become contributors and not takers.
  • To get through college and find something that I like.
  • To watch my children grow up, doing well.

Thank you for following along, and thank you to all of the subjects in this project! We're learning so much from you, and appreciate that you shared yourself with us.

Thank you!

 

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 20

Hello! Sorry.  I got a little behind with the blog post from the previous week.

This is week 20 - which was Christmas week, and we'll catch up on Sunday with the subjects from this past week.

Day 133 - Andy

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This is Andy, my Step-Sister-in-Law.  We celebrated Christmas with my husband's family a few days early.

"Family time, and lots of it," Andy answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

I asked Andy if she's recently performed an act of kindness and she explained that she delivered dinner to a family whose mom had recently passed away.   Andy takes turns with a few other families and provides meals to this family, who lost their mother so very young in life.

When I asked Andy if she has a personal mission statement, Andy answered, "it's pretty simple; to be a good mom, good wife, good daughter, and a good friend."

I asked Andy something about herself which she would consider to be a success, and she could have easily answered that she's successful at being a good mom, good wife, good daughter and a good friend.  Andy answered, "being able to juggle home, child, work and fun."  Andy feels like she's able to somehow able to fit it all in, and still manages to have enough time for fun.

Thank you, Andy!

Day 134 - Spencer

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This is Spencer.  When I asked Spencer about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he first said that it was a tough question.  He then answered that he was looking forward to hosting a Christmas get-together with a bunch of his orphaned friends who don't have family in the area.

Spencer's recent act of kindness is that he helped a friend get a job!

"To feed people and promote equality," Spencer said, is his life's purpose.  I told Spencer about Kate, who was a subject just a few days prior and explained how much their life's purposes were aligned.  I met Spencer less than a block away from where I had met Kate, so I hope their paths will cross and they can join forces in doing the great work they're doing. Spencer used the phrase, "unorganized philanthropy" to explain the unconventional methods he's employed in helping to make sure people are fed.  I love meeting and learning more about people like Spencer, Kate, and all of the other do-gooders we've met in this project.  They inspire me to want to do more, and to aim higher.

"I'm still standing," Spencer said, is something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Spencer!

 

Day 135 - Michelle

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This is Michelle.  We met at the bus stop...yes, that bus stop. The one that gives me so much grief!  Again, I was challenged by the spot and failed to do Michelle the justice she deserved.  She reminds me of a classic movie star, but with modern style.

We only had time for two quick questions before the bus took her away.

"My new boyfriend," Michelle answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

Michelle said that her life's purpose "is to contribute to the greater whole."

Thank you, Michelle!

 

Day 136 - Leslie

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This is Leslie. We work together.  It was Christmas Eve and although we got off work early, I was concerned about trying to find a subject on the holiday.  I'm so glad Leslie agreed to be the person of the day!

When I asked Leslie the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she answered with a huge smile, "I met a guy."  We've only worked together for a little while, but long it's been enough for me to know that he's one lucky guy!

Leslie's recent act of kindness is that she donated to her friend's fundraiser to help her friend meet her financial goal so that she'll be able to study abroad.

"To give back," Leslie answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

When I asked Leslie something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "I'm motivated!"  I see a bright future for Leslie.  She is motivated and determined and because of that, I often forget that she's still quite young. She has the maturity of someone at least a decade older.

Wishing you lots of success, Leslie!  Thank you!

 

Day 137 - Janet

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This is Janet.  She's a friend of my friend, Debbie,  and now she's my friend too.

"It's Christmas and my family is all together," Janet answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Janet said she's having a great time with her kids and grandkids, and the icing on the cake is that her son just graduated art school and already has a job offer in his field!

This picture was taken on Christmas day.  If you've been following along for a while, you probably remember me mentioning Project Brown Bag.  A few years ago at a Christmas gathering, our friend Debbie presented us all with brown bags.  We thought she had violated our rule that we were no longer exchanging gifts - but when we opened the bags, they weren't gifts, but rather, they were sack lunches.  Debbie went on to explain her vision that we would all carry around "brown bags" to give to homeless people and people in need.  She hoped that through our efforts, our other friends and our friend's friends would also do the same and that our little ripple could create a big wave of help to people who need it.  We also get together a few times a year in a more organized effort to distribute brown bags.

This was our third year spending Christmas day together, distributing brown bags, hot cocoa, soup, coats, blankets, hats and beanies to homeless people in Portland.   Janet and her daughter and granddaughters joined again this year, and knowing that Janet had just spent the past few hours handing out food and clothing to homeless people, I was well aware of her recent act of kindness.  But, I also know Janet's beautiful heart and I knew she must have performed another act of kindness.

Oh, and before I tell you about that - Janet also organizes a big canned food drive at Halloween.  She's the Clark Griswold of Halloween and she goes all out  decorating her house.  Practically the entire town swings by Janet's house to check out the halloween decorations and the annual dance performance of "Thriller."  In return, all of the visitors bring canned food which Janet collects and then donates to the Food Bank.  The woman is pretty amazing!

Janet's other recent act of kindness is that she struck up a conversation with a woman at the mall who was in line with Janet while they were waiting their turn to purchase Joe's Carmel Corn.  They started talking about how much they loved the popcorn and how long they had been customers.  The woman could only afford to treat herself to a small size, so after the woman made her purchase, Janet then secretly bought her another bag and proceeded to try to sneak it to the woman in the mall.  Janet wasn't stealth enough, and the woman caught her trying to slip her the popcorn. The woman was so thrilled and touched by Janet's kindness that she hugged her.  Janet, in turn, was completely touched by the woman's hug - she felt like she was actually the recipient of the act of kindness and not the other way around.

When I asked Janet if she had a personal mission statement, she answered, "to make life yummy!"  Janet explained this is a saying of the Sweet Potato Queens.  Until talking with Janet, I didn't know that the Sweet Potato Queens are a national organization with local chapters.  I just thought it was something Janet started in little ol' Battle Ground, Washington.

Janet explained to me that when she was in school, the girls were weighed and measured and then selected for the Portland Rose Festival princess court based on those measurements.  That sounded horribly superficial when she explained it, but back then, she said there were weight limitations on parade floats, so there was actually a reason why the girls could only be a certain weight.  Janet didn't fit the criteria and wasn't considered for the Rose Festival court.

The experience stuck with Janet and she decided she didn't like it, and she wanted to do something about it.  Janet said, "we're always waiting and waiting and waiting...waiting for someone to ask us to the prom, waiting to get married, or waiting for someone to tell you you're good enough to be a queen."  Janet decided that any woman who wanted to be a queen, could be a queen!  Janet needed her queens to be seen, so she entered a float in the Battle Ground Harvest Days parade, and filled her float with any woman who wanted to be in the parade.  They were all queens!

After doing some research, Janet discovered the Sweet Potato Queens and realized her ideas were in line with the mission of the national organization, and now she heads the local chapter of Sweet Potato Queens.  I love how Janet is always building up other people!   We all need someone in our lives like Janet - someone who tells you you're a queen and then builds you a float to ride in the parade.  And, if we're not fortunate enough to have a Janet in our lives, I hope we learn to be like Janet by building people up and helping to coronate anyone who wants to be a queen!

When I asked Janet something about herself which she would consider to be a success, Janet answered, "My kids - all three of them."

Thank you so much, Janet!  You are a good person and I'm glad to know you!

 

Day 138 - Mason

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This is Mason.  He's the son of my friend, Anne.  Mason is such a handsome young man and I'm so mad at myself I totally blew the lighting on this.   Luckily, I know I know that someday down the road, I can get a do-over.

"Having a long relationship with my girlfriend," Mason answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.   Mason is in college and still dating his high school sweetheart!

I asked Mason if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.   Mason's fraternity just raised $2000 for ALS/The Steve Gleason Foundation.  On the receiving end, his grandmother gifted him with plane tickets so he could fly to Florida to watch his brother, who plays football for Southern Oregon University,  play and win the NAIA football championships!

I asked Mason if he had a personal mission statement or about his life's purpose.  Mason answered that right now, his purpose in life is "to get good grades, graduate, family, and success."

Something about himself which Mason considers to be a success, is that he's maintaining a 3.5 GPA in college!

Wishing you the best, Mason!  Thank you!

 

Day 139 - Matthew

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This is Matthew.  We met outside of a strip mall.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now is that he had just found out that his sister and nephew are moving back home!

I asked Matthew if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he explained he tries to be giving.  He had recently given money to a homeless person.

"Live today like it's your last day," Matthew answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement.

One thing about himself which Matthew considers to be a success, is that he's able to connect with people and make friends easily.

Thank you, Matthew!

 

Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To be a good mom, good wife, good daughter, and a good friend."
  • To feed people and promote equality
  • To give back
  • To make life yummy!
  • To get good grades, graduate, family, and success. 
  • Live today like it's your last day

Thank you!  See you very soon when we catch up with this week's subjects!

365 More People Pictures - Week 19

Hello! We're finished with week 19 of The 365 More People Pictures Project!

I've reached a decision that my new objective is to continue the project until I complete a 1000-day streak of taking a picture of a person every day.  Some days, I've felt like I could just continue doing this until I'm a little old lady, and some days I've felt like I needed to be done. Now.

1000 days.  I can do that.

 

Day 19 - Harold

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This is Harold.  We met in downtown Vancouver.  Harold and his brother were in town to volunteer for the Vancouver Winter Brewfest.  Having just finished their volunteer duties, Harold and his brother were on a quick scavenger hunt of downtown, in search of coasters from a few breweries.  Harold's brother collects them. Harold agreed to let me take his picture while his brother circled the block in search of breweries and coasters!

"Being out with my brother," Harold answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Harold's profession has been an act of kindness.  Harold works as an ICU nurse and he's retiring soon.  If I remember correctly, he is now probably officially retired in the week since we met.

When I asked Harold if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, he joked that it was to annoy his brother.  He revised his life's purpose to be, "to annoy as many people as possible."  (what a character!)

At that point, his brother re-appeared from his walk around the block and Harold said, "he really is my brother, you know."  I think he read the look on my face that I was trying to determine if they were actually brothers, or if he was calling him "brother" as in, a close friend.   They're actually both!   Harold explained that their mother is Korean and their father is Irish.  He joked that instead of the brothers receiving an equal blend of traits from each parent, Harolds's Brother takes after their mom, and Harold takes after their dad.  Their physical appearance my differ, but the brothers are so funny and quite the comedic duo and they are definitely two peas in a hilarious pod.

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I asked Harold something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "surviving 4 combat tours in the Army."

Thank you, Harold and brother!

 

Day 127 - David

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This is David.  He was on break from his job as a cook when we met.

"Football season," David answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked David if he's recently performed an act of kindness.  David explained that he does small things every day.  His current roommate hasn't been able to pay rent in a while but David is letting him stay while he gets back on his feet again.  David also told me something that brought tears to my eyes.  There's a homeless man who hangs out by David's work and David often invites him over so that the man can have a place to shower, get warm, and have a meal.  David is a very generous person.

"To be a good person to everyone around me," David answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.  David is living his mission.  Thinking about David's kindness as I write this, again, I'm overcome with emotion just thinking about what a good person he is.

"My skills as a cook," David answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success. David has been a cook for 17 years!

Thank you, David.

 

Day 128 - Nicholas

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This is Nicholas.  We met at a crosswalk as we were about to cross the street.

I asked Nicholas the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "my relationship with my sister."  Nicholas is helping his sister through a situation right now and it's strengthening their relationship.

I asked Nicholas if he's either performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  He said he's been both on the giving and receiving end.  Nicholas explained that he has a really good group of friends who have always been there to listen and care, and he's always there for them in return.

"I want to make art," Nicholas answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

"My sense of humor," Nicholas replied, when I asked him something about himself he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Nicholas!

 

Day 129 - Matt

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This is Matt.  We met in the parking lot of Starbucks.  As I was going to my car, Matt approached to ask me  if I had jumper cables.  I told him I was pretty certain that I had them in my trunk and was happy to see that I did indeed have jumper cables and could be of assistance. Matt offered to pay me for my time and I told him I didn't need any money, but I asked if I could take his picture for my project when we were finished.  Matt agreed.  We got his SUV started in no time!

"My son was just born 1 month ago," Matt answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Matt if he's recently performed an act of kindness, a specific example wasn't coming to mind but he tries to be kind all the time. He's also particularly helpful to his co-workers.

I asked Matt if he has a personal mission statement or life's purpose and now that his son is born, his life's purpose is, "to be a good dad and provide for my family, and to make sure my son is proud of me."

Something about himself which Matt considers to be a success is that he's a skilled craftsman, and his ability as a carpenter.

Thank you, Matt and best wishes to you and your family!

 

Day 130 - Bobby

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This is Bobby at Portland Shoe Repair.  We met his friend, Marc, back on day 312 of the first project when I had just peeped my head into the Shoe Repair shop to ask if I could take someone's picture for the project.

Thursday, Marc and I just happened to run into each other on the sidewalk so we stopped to visit for a moment.    Not having found a subject for the day, I asked Marc which one of his friends or relatives would be in the project.  Marc laughed and walked me into the shoe repair shop and pretty much just informed Bobby that he was going to be the person of the day.  Bobby agreed.

It was so cool watching Bobby work.  He continued to work on a pair of shoes as we talked and I loved seeing all of the old machinery, combined with Bobby's careful skill, as he attached a new heel to a beautiful pair of booties.

"The girl I met," Bobby answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  It was so cute - Marc confirmed from the background that she was a keeper.

Bobby's act of kindness would  take place the following day, as he was going to go cook for the homeless at his church.

"To treat others how you want to be treated," Bobby answered, when I asked his personal mission statement or life's purpose.  Bobby had given this question serious consideration and he explained that he was also in the process of writing a mission statement for the shop as well.

When I asked Bobby something about himself which he would consider to be a success, I was surprised that he couldn't/wouldn't answer.   I figured he would answer about his success in running the shoe repair shop.  I was watching him with my own two eyes as he made the process of attaching a new heel look like more like art than a repair.  Bobby thought about the question and then had to ask Marc for his input.  Marc quickly supplied an answer.  "He has a big group of friends who loves him."  Marc then continued on, telling Bobby that his circle of friends loves him, and they know he loves them in return.  It was all pretty touching to see a couple of guys talk like this.  They're good people here.

Thank you, Bobby and Marc!

 

Day 131 - Kate

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This is Kate.  We met outside of Sam's as she was just about to hop on her bike to leave.

I asked Kate the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she answered that she finally has a job where she can go to and leave and she actually feels less stressed than when she arrived.  Her job makes her feel "sunnier and happier!"

I asked Kate if she's either performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  On the receiving end - Kate's housemate found a caring way in which to suggest to Kate that on her days off, she really needed to find a way to actually take a day off. Her housemate said it in such a way that Kate took her suggestion to heart and implemented the change.  For some reason, the roommate said it in such a way that it clicked for Kate.  The housemate was caring but not judgmental.

On the giving side, Kate is a volunteer for "Food not Bombs," which serves food a few times a week to anyone who is in need of a meal.  You can learn more about Food Not Bomb's on the national website, or here on Portland's Facebook Page.  What a great group of caring people who are making a difference!

As I'm writing this, I've realized I didn't really get a shortened or condensed mission statement or life's purpose from Kate.  Kate and I just talked and I loved hearing everything she had to share about herself and her life, and the work she's doing to help feed others.  If I were to write a condensed mission statement on Kate's behalf, it would be something like, "to share food to nourish the body, and to share kindness to nourish the spirit."   This is my quick, impromptu mission statement on Kate's behalf, after only having met her for just a few minutes.  When I asked Kate if she had a personal mission statement or her life's purpose, Kate responded:

I'm a parent.

I'm a daughter.

I am a volunteer for Food not Bombs, to make sure people have enough to eat.

I bring food with love, food is love, food is justice, food is sharing, food is sacred.

Meeting Kate for just a few minutes, truly nourished my spirits.  She sees food and the sharing and distribution of it, as love and kindness.  I think anyone who ever meets Kate leaves her with a full belly and/or a full heart.

I asked Kate something about herself which she considers to be a success and she answered, "I've come a really long way in 10 years of feeling comfortable in my own skin."   Kate now knows when she's operating outside herself and she's able to get herself back in check.  Kate feels that as a Mother, it's something she needs to do in order to be present as a Mom.

Thank you, Kate!

 

Day 132 - Alexandra

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This is Alexandra.

We met, for the second time, at a Christmas party hosted by our mutual friend, Shauna.  A few hours into her party, Shauna asked if I had found a subject for the day.  I was in a room full of interesting people and had so many great subjects to choose from!   Shauna suggested Alexandra, and Alexandra agreed.

Alexandra is just a beautiful person, inside and out.  I remembered meeting her at last year's party because she's the type of person who leaves a lasting impression...truly, just a very sweet person.

This picture was actually an in-between picture.  Alexandra was right in-between "poses" and I wasn't quite ready, but when I saw how beautiful Alexandra looked, I quickly snapped the picture and hoped I had caught her in time.  Sometimes, it's the in-between which is the most special, but we can get so focused on what's next, in life and photography,  that we miss the in-betweens.

"I'm in love with a wonderful man," Alexandra answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  I loved hearing Alexandra's answer because I remembered meeting her guy at last year's party. You could just tell they had something special, even though they were just a few weeks into dating.

I asked Alexandra if she's either performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  On the receiving end, Alexandra explained that she received a beautiful email from an old friend who reached out just to tell her that she missed her, and catch her up on her life.

I asked Alexandra if she had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose and she answered with a quote by the Dalai Lama - "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."

"I am becoming increasingly patient," Alexandra answered, when I asked her something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  Alexandra is also a successful writer and you can learn more about her, and yourself,  on her blog.

Thank you, Alexandra!

 

Here's the summary of mission statements and life's purpose of the subjects from this week. (and one shortened contribution from me.)

  • To annoy as many people as possible.
  • To be a good person to everyone around me.
  • I want to make art.
  • To be a good dad and provide for my family, and to make sure my son is proud of me.
  • To treat others how you want to be treated,
  • To share food to nourish the body, and to share kindness to nourish the spirit.
  • Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Thank you for following along another week, and thank you to each and every subject in this project!  We appreciate you!

Wishing you lots of love over the holidays!

 

 

365 More People Pictures Project - Week 18

Hello! Welcome to week 18!  Thank you for following along.

I just finished reading "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore," by Robin Sloan.  It's definitely worth checking out!   One layer of the story is about a secret society of code-cracking book-readers and as part of the secret society, you will be expected to write a "Codex Vitae."  Basically, the "Codex Vitae" is the book of your life or everything you've learned in your life.

I had the realization that through this project, we've compiled sort of a collective Codex Vitae.  The answers given by all of the subjects in this project, reveals a common thread which sews us all together.  When broken down to the most simple and basic elements, we all desire happiness.  We all want to be good people.  We all want to do good things.  The pursuit of those three objectives is what fills the pages of our own individual Codex Vitaes.

What would be in your Codex Vitae?

 

Day 119 - Andrew

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This is Andrew.  "Good health and a great relationship with my girlfriend," Andrew answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Andrew was the recipient of an act of kindness the other day when his car wouldn't start.  He didn't have jumper cables, but a cable-packing stranger stopped to help jump-start his car.

"Do the best you can to help those in need," Andrew answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could make one up on the spot.

I asked Andrew something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "my determination."

 

Day 120 - Nate

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This is Nate.

"A consistent job," Nate answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Nate just moved to Portland two months ago so he's happy to be working.

Nate's recent act of kindness is that he donated food to a food drive, and he bought dinner for some friends.

Nate's impromptu personal mission statement: "to be kind, honest, and loyal at all times."

Something Nate considers to be a success, is that he finished the Seattle to Portland bike ride!

 

Day 121 - The Teacher

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This is "The Teacher."  I spotted him as he was parking and locking up his bike.

I asked Teacher the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "work, girlfriend and that I'm employed."

Teacher has recently performed an act of kindness, but he's not able to share. (Simply being a teacher and shaping our future is an act of kindness.)  I'm sure Teacher's act of kindness must remain confidential, but one interesting thing I've observed in this project is that so many people are hesitant to tell others about their acts of kindness - almost as though telling someone will devalue their good deed.

I understand people's reluctance  but I think it's ok to spread love and positivity.  When people performed that act of kindness, they did so altruistically and they didn't expect someone to come along and ask them if they've performed an act of kindness.  They were genuine in their kindness.  Telling people after the fact is ok, right?  Our social media feeds can be flooded with so much negativity and bad news...I just want to spread the message that there are good people out there, really good people.  Maybe by hearing of the kind acts of strangers, we'll start absorbing and spreading more positivity.

"To be happy, help others, and be a good person," Teacher answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or his life's purpose.

I asked Teacher something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "being a teacher."

After we were finished with the picture and interview, Teacher said that he felt like he didn't give good answers because I surprised him and caught him off guard. He was certain he had better answers to give. I was laughing to myself, thinking that Teacher just got a very good reminder of what his students must feel like when he calls on them in class!

 

Day 122 - Jeff

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This is Jeff and he was the second teacher in a row!

I actually know Jeff.  We just happened to run into each other at Starbucks after work.  Jeff has been a customer at my work for a few years.  I know this picture looks like he's exhausted.  That's part of the reason I liked it and chose it over the others I took.  In real life, Jeff has always been enthusiastic, energetic, and so nice!  We bumped into each other at Starubucks after work.  Traffic was horrible that day.  Jeff was sitting at a table and grading papers. He said he often stops there on his way from school to home. He's able to do some work and he also avoids wasting time sitting in traffic.  The other pictures I had taken of Jeff were of his usual happy self.  I liked Jeff's happy-faced pictures, but I  liked this tired picture because it caused me to think about how hard our teachers work, even when they're not in class.

I asked Jeff the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "watching my kids play sports," and just spending time with them in general.  Jeff's kids are at that age when their time is spread between activities and friends, and he's happy that his children still want to spend time with their Dad.

I asked Jeff if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  We talked that his profession is an act of kindness.  Jeff knows when a student could benefit most from either giving them a nudge or when they need to be given a break.  Jeff feels like he experiences kindness every day and he remarked how sometimes even the smallest compliment from other teachers, parents, or strangers can have a positive impact.

When I asked Jeff if he had a personal mission statement, he told me a story about why he named his son Peter.  Jeff is a Spiderman fan and his son is named after Peter Parker.  Jeff loves the quote, "with great power comes great responsibility."  His dream for his son is that he'll grow and become a good citizen.  Jeff's personal mission statement, and also his dream for his son is, "to somehow make a difference."  I know Jeff is already making a difference in this world.

When I asked Jeff something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I'm not the best teacher, but I'm a good teacher."  Jeff added he thinks he's a good dad too!

We continued to talk a while after we were finished with the picture and interview.  I told Jeff that I've wondered what kids/students could do with a project like this. Obviously, I wouldn't want students to approach strangers, but Jeff thought it would still be interesting to see what kids/students would do and learn by interviewing their friends and family.  I would love to see something like that!

Thank you, Jeff!

 

Day 123 - Doug

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This is Doug. We met just walking down the street.  It was during the onset of a crazy windstorm and very few people were out. I was lucky to find Doug and that he agreed to let me take his picture.

I asked Doug the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he let out a laugh, then answered, "anticipation."

Doug wasn't mean or unfriendly, but when I asked him the second question, he then said, "I'm going to leave now."  Doug was done.  He just wanted to go read.  At first I was disappointed and my feeler was hurt,  but then I reminded myself that I was really lucky that anyone was willing to even stop long enough to let me take their picture.

 

Day 124 - Blake

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This is Blake.  Blake. Blake. Blake.  Could he be a model, or what?

I had just left my hair stylist and had just been complaining to her how surprisingly challenging it is to find a subject in that area, considering it's such a dense and popular part of Portland. I always end up finding someone great, but I've been surprised at how hard I've had to work at it.  As soon as I left her salon and walked around the corner, I spotted Blake.  He was the first person I saw, and I decided to just go for it.

Blake agreed to let me take his picture and as soon as he was in front of the camera and as I was looking at him through the viewfinder, I was like - WOW!  Who is this guy?  I felt so cheesy as the words fell out of my mouth and I asked, "are you a model?"  Blake laughed and said that he wasn't a model.  He should be!

I'm always extremely critical of myself.  In attempt to learn more about photography, I follow dozens of photographers and view thousands of images a week.  Although I know it's what I need to do to improve, the downside of this is that I'm constantly comparing my pictures to the work of others.  It can be, at times, demoralizing, defeating and discouraging.

If I were to confess these feelings of inadequacy to one of my friends, I know they would tell me that it's unrealistic to compare anything I've ever done to the work of a professional photographer who has years of experience and/or formal education, proper lighting and equipment, and a team of hair and make-up artists and assistants.

I have only 490 days of experience, no lighting, no training or education, an entry-level DSLR and until recently, only the two kit lenses that came with the camera, and usually only a few seconds or minutes to shoot a stranger I just met on the street. (and all the awkwardness that comes with it.)

To offset the utter feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy I get when I see so many amazing and talented artists,  I try to balance the images I consume in a week and take in both styled/studio images, and raw street photography and documentary photography.  Somewhere in the middle of all of that, I think is where I'll find my "style."

I know there's still several things I did wrong with this picture, but seeing Blake's picture gives me hope.  I like Blake's picture.  It's still really very easy for me to take a bad picture of a beautiful person but I'm able to look at Blake's picture and say, "that's a good picture."  I know a pro, or anyone with 491 days of photography experience, would point out 14 errors or ways in which the image could have been improved, but for now - I feel a major sense of accomplishment in that I've gotten to a point where I can say, "that's a good picture," about a picture I've taken.  I've liked and even loved several of the pictures I've taken, but there are very few about which I've been able to say, "that's a good picture."   As I'm typing this, I'm thinking - am I really sure about this? Is it a good picture, or am I confusing a good picture with the fact that I think that Blake is just a beautiful person?  I'm not so sure now.  I just wish I could meet Blake again and take 1,247 more pictures so I could figure it out!

I asked Blake the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "opportunities to play music."  Blake is a singer/song-writer.

Blake's recent act of kindness is that he found someone's wallet and returned it with everything still intact.

Blake's impromptu personal mission statement: "keep working at it."

"I'm not a complete asshole," Blake answered, when I asked him something about himself which he considers to be a success. I laughed at Blake's answer and something tells me that he's far from being even just a partial asshole.

 

Day 125 - Linda Bea

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This is Linda Bea.  She's an awesome girl! I was fortunate enough to meet Linda Bea a couple years ago.  When you hear Linda's laugh, you can't help but feel happy and you find yourself laughing harder than normal because Linda's laugh is so contagious.

Linda and I, along with several other women, modeled for a photoshoot for Sweet Spot Skirts yesterday.  Sweet Spot Skirts are so awesome and they fit everyone from a size 0 to size 26.  Linda and I are models for the size NOT-zero.

Linda and I met a few years ago, also at a photoshoot and it was the first time I had modeled.   Linda was a pro by then.  I can't even begin to tell you how stressed I was.  I wasn't feeling so great about myself because of the weight I had gained.   I'm so uncomfortable having my picture taken by even my very best friends, but I agreed to model because the skirts are one of the greatest things you can put on your body and they help you to feel confident when you're working out.  I also adore and admire the owner/designer and if my not-little body helps other women discover a Sweet Spot Skirt, any temporary discomfort I felt while having my picture taken is worth it because I know that women will love these skirts!  I know it's hard to believe that something like a skirt can be life-changing, but seriously - it is!)

When I met Linda for the first time, she was as cool as a cucumber.  She acted like it was no big deal that we were about to be photographed with a bunch of very young, beautiful, fit, thin, and amazing ladies! I tried my best to absorb Linda's coolness, but when that wasn't working - Linda totally killed me with laughter.  I ended up having the best time ever!  Linda is a sweetheart and so dang funny! Since meeting Linda, there have been a few times when I've thought of her laugh to help me chill out during a stressful moment.

We had already been shooting for a few hours yesterday when I asked Linda if I could take her picture for the project.  Believe me, this modeling business is hard work and I know taking one more picture was probably not on the top of Linda's to-do list, but she agreed.  We did the interview after we were finished with the real shoot.  When went outside for me to take the picture,  I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my camera.  Then it dawned on me.  I had taken the battery out to charge before heading to the real photoshoot and I was so nervous about being in front of the camera for once, that I totally forgot to put the battery back in.  I was so bummed I didn't have my good camera.  I wanted the opportunity to take portrait of the beautiful Miss Linda Bea.  I was stressed and upset with myself for forgetting,  but Linda was so cool.  She just let me take her picture with my iPhone.  Once again, Linda taught me - just be cool. It's ok...just roll with what life gives you.

I asked Linda the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she said that she's happy she's going to spend New Year's Eve with her Sister.  They have a tradition to always celebrate New Year's Eve together.

I asked Linda if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Linda is a nurse, so she performs acts of kindness daily.  I'm certain Linda must be one amazing nurse!  She's just a fabulous person!  Linda explained that recently, an anonymous co-worker gifted her with three weeks of paid leave because Linda had been taking off a lot of time in order to be with her ill father.  Linda's Father isn't doing well and she said that he's near end-of-life.  Linda said her Father has had a great life and he's a great man.  Being the recipient of someone's act of kindness has inspired Linda to dedicate 2015 to paying it forward.  (See, I told you she was amazing.)

I asked Linda if she has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.  Linda's impromptu mission statement:  "Find happiness, the glass is half full, and laugh often & hard."   These are more than just words for Linda.  She lives it, and just being around her helps you to live it too.

"That I'm comfortable where I am at age 51.  I'm happy being me," Linda answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  This is one of my favorite answers.

Linda Bea, you are awesome!  Thank you!

 

Here's the summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • Do the best you can to help those in need.
  • To be kind, honest and loyal at all times.
  • To be happy, help others, and be a good person.
  • To somehow make a difference
  • Keep working at it.
  • Find happiness, the glass is half full, and laugh often & hard.
  • Thank you to every subject in this project! I appreciate you and your kindness and willingness to share yourself with us.

Thank you to each and every subject in this project!  Thank you for sharing yourself with us and please don't hesitate to e-mail me if you would like a copy of your picture.

 

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 17

Hello! Thank you for reading week 17 of The 365 More People Pictures project.

If this is your first visit, 483 days ago, I challenged myself to take a picture of a person, every single day, for an entire year.  I successfully completed the first challenge, The 365 Day People Picture Project.

When the first project was over and it came to day 366, I just couldn't stop!  I was compelled to keep going, so here we are - in year two, The 365 More People Pictures project.

I'm not a photographer.  I got my very first DSLR, and having only taken just a few pictures with my new camera,  I then dove head-first into this project in attempt to teach myself photography and hopefully provide content for this blog.  The 365 Day Project quickly became the whole blog, but I do have intentions to diversify some day.

I don't stockpile photos.  Each picture is taken fresh daily.  If you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram is @missellanea.

I don't know what the future holds for this project.  The other day, I considered that perhaps I should go for 1000 straight days.  That's a streak I could feel proud of.  My photography hasn't improved as much as I would like and I know in order to improve, I need to take classes and surround myself with people from whom I can learn.  This project has been excellent though, in that it has taught me how much I don't know!  Does that make sense?

There have been days when I've felt completely embarrassed and ridiculous and like I should just give up immediately, but I just can't stop.  It's become a compulsion.  A huge chunk of joy would be ripped from my life if I were to stop this project.  Not only would I miss the photography part of the project, but mainly, I would miss people.  This project has forced me out of my own little world.  I'm actually a shy person, but the project gives me reason to reach out and connect with amazing people I would otherwise have never met.

For now, I'm just enjoying the experience of meeting great people, and hope you are too!  Thank you for reading!

 

Day 112 - Rebecca and Travis

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This is Rebecca and Travis.  They were snuggled up, keeping warm at the bus stop.

I asked the couple the happiest thing happening in their lives right now.  Rebecca is happy to be starting school, and Travis is happy that his roommates are moving.

"Doing chores for my roommates," Travis answered, when I asked if he's recently performed an act of kindness. Rebecca was having trouble thinking of an act of kindness which she's performed.  When people have trouble thinking of a recent act of kindness, I can sometimes detect a hint of disappointment. I was picking up on that vibe from Rebecca, but I also gathered that she was a sweet and kind person...she was just having trouble remembering something something specific.  I definitely don't want people to feel bad about themselves so I nudged her a little, reminding her that it was a big act of kindness for her to agree to let me take her picture, especially in the cold!   Rebecca agreed, and also added that she made pancakes for Travis.

I asked Rebecca and Travis if they have a personal mission statement or life's purpose.  Rebecca answered, "I want to be happy. That's my life's goal."  Travis answered, "avoiding mediocracy."

When I asked the couple something about themselves which they would consider to be a success, Rebecca answered, "that I manage to stay happy even though people try to get me down."  Stay true to yourself, Rebecca!

Travis answered, "I know what I want and it makes it easier to do stuff and not let bullshit get in the way."  I'm inspired by people who know what they want and go after it!  Good job, Travis.

 

Day 113 - Sarah

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This is Sarah.  We met at the bus stop.

The happiest thing happening in Sarah's life right now is that she's getting a new apartment!  It's her first place!

Sarah's recent act of kindness is that she helped out her sister who had forgotten her keys.  Sarah retrieved the keys and took them to her sister.

"To be happy and to try to make others happy," Sarah answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement.

"I have my dream job," Sara said, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.

Wishing you happiness in your new nest, Sarah!

 

Day 114 - Alex and Nathan

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This is Alex (left) and Nathan (right.)  They are two very special people who just appeared in my path after leaving work.  I worked late on Tuesday and I was completely stressed because I still had a lot of work I needed to get done from home.  As I was walking out the door, I had the realization that I also still needed to go out in search of a subject in the freezing cold.  As I got just a few footsteps from my car, Alex and Nathan just happened to come walking down the sidewalk.  I was still in work-mode in my head and my camera wasn't even ready, but I know by now that when someone appears in my path like this, I need to ask them for their picture and I know I'm going to be in for a treat.

When I asked the men if I could take their picture, they were so friendly and so cheery.  I knew I had  just met a couple of really nice people.

I asked Alex and Nathan the happiest thing happening in their lives right now.  "Meeting new people," Alex answered.  "Galloping around to "The Ballad of Mr. Steak,"" Nathan replied.  "Am I going to have to google this?" I asked.  We laughed and Nathan explained it was a song, and yes, I should google it.  With a name like, "The Ballad of Mr. Steak," of course I googled it the minute I got settled at home.  Are you curious? You can check out the video below.  It is so goofy!

I asked Alex and Nathan if they've either recently performed an act of kindness or if they've been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Alex was the recipient of an act of kindness. He explained that he recently received a letter in the mail from someone who basically outlined to Alex, everything for which they were thankful.  Alex was surprised and touched.  I don't know if it's because of the holidays, but I've noticed a lot of people are reaching out to one another with good old fashioned, hand-written letters.  Remember those?

Alex's story reminded Nathan that he had performed an act of kindness.  Nathan started receiving e-mails from an elderly man who was e-mailing him by mistake.  As busy as life can be, it would have been very easy for Nathan to ignore the e-mails, either purposely or accidentally, but he wrote back to the man explaining he had the wrong e-mail address. The man was appreciative of Nathan taking the time to let him know.

When I asked the guys if they have a personal mission statement or life's purpose, Nathan immediately answered, "What can art do, who should it serve, and how can it affect the world it inhabits, above and beyond negotiating the rise and fall of its meager share in the luxury commodity market?"   I asked Nathan about the source.  Nathan explained that a professor wrote this question on the chalkboard years ago and it's stuck with him ever since.  It's a powerful question.  (I should have asked Nathan for clarification on how to punctuate this statement and if his Professor posed three separate questions, or one big whammy, the way I've presented it here.)

"Experience everything, forgive everyone," Alex supplied as his personal mission statement. Life is as simple and as complicated as that.

When I asked the men something about themselves which they would consider to be a success, Alex answered, "always moving forward."  Nathan answered, "transforming our experiences of every day life to give it a different layer of meaning or significance."  I told Nathan that his answer reminds me of the book, "The Leader Who Had No Title," by Robin Sharma.  The example I gave was that of a gas station attendant.  A person who pumps gas isn't just a person who pumps gas.  Their job is significant in that they get people moving and going where they need to go.  A friendly gas station attendant can help set the tone for the day.  Nathan's answer, to me, is about finding value and placing importance on everything and everybody. It's about perspective, and how we can choose to see things differently.

After we were finished with the interview, I asked for one more picture, just to make sure I had a good one.  You know how your nose starts to run in the cold?  I think it was Alex who joked that he needed to make sure he didn't have any snot bubbles in the picture.  I confessed that I was worried I had some too and then told the guys I don't know how to edit snot yet.  They said it was ok to leave any snot and that it would capture our experience more authentically.  Luckily, we all seemed to have our snot situations under control! It was in joking around that I had the increasingly-familiar realization that just a few moments prior, Alex and Nathan were just a couple of strangers walking down the street, but within moments, they became more like friends.

Alex and Nathan's sincere kindness and genuine encouragement of the project left me feeling renewed.  I was thankful I had the good fortune of meeting such special people.

Thank you, guys!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRV-1THlL6A

 

Day 115 - Whisper

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This is Whisper.  She works at a convenience store I frequent on my way home. Her nickname suits her perfectly and now I'll always think of her as Whisper.

"I'm moving soon," Whisper answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

When I asked Whisper if she's recently performed an act of kindness, or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she was having trouble thinking of an answer.  Just then, a customer came in so I went to the back to get a cup of coffee so that she could help her customer.  After the customer left and I approached the counter again, I asked if she had thought of an answer.  She hadn't.  Again, not wanting her to feel bad, I assured her that every time I've ever been in, she's always been friendly and kind to me.  I'm sure she's that way to all of her customers.

"I'm big on Karma, what comes around, goes around," Whisper answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

I asked Whisper something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she answered, "I grew up in foster care and beat the odds. Nobody expected me to graduate."  I got a little teary-eyed when Whisper opened up about about her life.  I was happy for her, and proud of her.

After we were finished, Whisper and I talked a little longer and we discovered it's quite possible that we have relatives who know each other's relatives.

Whisper, I'm wishing you a lifetime of odds-beating, success and happiness.

 

Day 116 - Big Ern McCracken

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This is Big Ern McCracken.   I actually know McCracken but it's been years since I've seen him.  He was standing outside of Sam's and I didn't even recognize him when I first asked if I could take his picture.

"Watching my nephew grow up," McCracken answered, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

McCracken's recent act of kindness is that he held the door open for an elderly lady at the grocery store.

I asked McCracken if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose and he answered, "to grow and experience life with as many friends and family as possible."

"I overcame drug and alcohol addiction in 2003," McCracken answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

It was great running into McCracken again. In a strange way, we learned more about each other in just a few minutes than we had known about each other back when our group of friends hung out!

 

Day 117 - Al

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This is Al.  We met at the bus stop.  It's that same tricky spot where I always struggle with getting a good picture.  I explained to Al that that particular spot was my unlucky spot.   Al was understanding of the challenges and patient with me as I struggled with multiple camera settings.

"My job," Al answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Al's recent act of kindness is that he gave his recyclables to a man in need,  so that the man could have the money.

I asked Al if he had a life's purpose or personal mission statement.  Al answered, "the permanent pursuit of knowledge."  I loved Al's answer! I explained to Al that he would understand this someday when he gets older, but that right now I'm experiencing memory changes so I twisted his statement and joked that I'm in pursuit of permanent knowledge!  Al laughed and agreed the statement works that way too!

"I lost a lot of weight," Al answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  I didn't ask how much weight Al had lost but after we said good-bye and as I was walking back to my car, I realized I would have never known that Al has been working hard and getting in shape.  I had only just met Al, as he was, at that particular moment. I was struck that we never know a person's battles or triumphs which have brought them to a specific moment in time.  We never know what a person has endured, or what a person has overcome, and we don't know what they're about to face either.  People deserve our compassion.

 

Day 118 - Susan

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This is Susan.  We met at one of my favorite trails.

There were two men with Susan when I approached  to ask if I could take her picture.  She asked if I wanted just her picture alone, or a group picture.  I explained to Susan (I was really explaining to the men)  that I always end up with more men than women subjects, so I was hoping to just get her picture alone.  The men's feelings weren't too terribly hurt.  Actually, I think they were relieved because that gave them more time to talk about cars. (which was the conversation I had interrupted when I approached them.)

"I'm taking an improv class," Susan answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  This explained why Susan was so eager to give me a funny-face picture!  In hindsight, I should have gone along so we could see what she's been learning in class!

Susan's recent act of kindness is that she took a friend to the doctor for a procedure.

When I asked Susan if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, she explained she has a value statement, which is the golden rule.  Susan went on the explain that she's now retired so in her daily life, she's "focusing on trying to have music, physical activities in nature, and social activities."  I wasn't sure if I had heard Susan correctly, so I asked for clarification if she stated "physical activities in nature, or physical activities and nature."  Susan confirmed, "physical activities in nature," but went on to say that even when she's not in nature, that she brings nature to her.  She has a bird feeder and even when she's just at home, she's able to observe nature.  Susan my have brought nature to her home, but it sounds like Susan lives a full life!  She likes to bike, hike and kayak!  She had just finished 7 miles with her friends.  (and let's not forget that when she's not biking, hiking or kayaking, she's taking improv classes!)

When I asked Susan something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she said that she had professional success when she worked.  Susan is one of the people responsible for the Providence Health Plan.

The way Susan is living her retired life is an inspiration!

Do you remember Alisa, from day 203 of the first project? When we met the first time, she was training for the Boston Marathon. Alisa arrived at the trail  just as I was about to take Susan's picture.   Alisa spotted us and came over to say hello!  I quickly explained to Susan that Alisa was also a subject in the project. I was glad to have finally run into her again because I've been wondering how she did in the Boston Marathon.   Alisa did well, it was a great experience and quite an emotional experience because of the bombing the previous year.  She plans to take this year off from marathons and I'm sure we'll "run" into each other on the trail this spring and summer!

Here is a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes from the subjects of week 17:

  • I want to be happy. That's my life's goal.
  • Avoiding mediocracy.
  • To be happy and to try to make others happy.
  • What can art do, who should it serve, and how can it affect the world it inhabits, above and beyond negotiating the rise and fall of its meager share in the luxury commodity market?
  • Experience everything, forgive everyone,
  • What comes around, goes around.
  • To grow and experience life with as many friends and family as possible."
  • The permanent pursuit of knowledge.
  • Experience daily -  music, physical activities in nature, and social activities.

 

Thank you to each and every subject in this project!

Have a great week!

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 16

Hello! I hope you've had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

 

Day 105 - Debbie

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This is one of my very best friends, Debbie.  You met her last year too!  Debbie, our dear friend, Becki, and I, went out to celebrate Debbie's Birthday.

Debbie is one of my very best friends in the universe, and she's also one of my most challenging subjects because she's always talking.  It seems like every other picture I take of Debbie, is one in which I've caught her with a word half-way out her mouth.    At one point when we were trying to take the pictures, I actually had to say to her, "Debbie, stop talking!"  Debbie was quiet for about 1.5 seconds and then she blurted, "oh, I have to tell you a story!"  We all busted up laughing and all I could do at that point was just to try to capture Debbie being Debbie.

The upside to shooting Debbie is that although I have to take several pictures to catch her when she's not mid-word, at least one of those pictures ends up being among my favorites of all time.  Of course, I'm a little biased because she's my friend and I love her, but some of my best pictures have been of Debbie and Becki.  I love taking their picture together.  When they're in front of my lens, I'm able to pause to admire and appreciate just how beautiful my friends are.

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"'Sharsies' moments with my besties and the fact that I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life," Debbie answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  "Sharsies" is the term Debbie has assigned to dining family style, where everyone is sharing a little of everything but really, it's less about the food and more about just sharing in the moment.

I asked Debbie if she's recently performed an act of kindness and she answered, "Lou and I just gave out brown bags a few weeks ago."   Debbie was referring to "Project Brown Bag."  We decided a few years ago that we would no longer exchange Christmas gifts with one another.  That same year, we thought Debbie broke the rules when she handed out a brown bag to each of us at Christmas, with the instructions not to open the bag.  After we each had a brown bag in our hands, Debbie then explained her idea that she wanted to start a movement in which people would hand out "brown bags" to homeless people.  It was her dream that we would always carry brown bags with us in our cars and when we found someone in need, we would have something to give to them.

The idea is to fill the brown bags with snack foods, water and whatever else could be of help to a person living on the street.   In addition to encouraging us to carry  brown bags with us at all times,  Debbie now heads up the effort for us to get together every few months and hand out bags in Downtown Portland.  Last year, we took it up a step higher and collected hats, scarves, blankets and socks, and set up a little mobile soup kitchen with hot chocolate and cup-o-noodles and handed them out to people on Christmas day.

Debbie further explained, "Project Brown Bag inspires grassroots efforts for others to do the same.  That's what I'm most excited about."  We've learned that a few friends and family have now also started to carry brown bags with them, and have also organized large-scale efforts to distribute brown bags to people in need.

"To be thankful for what I have and take advantage of opportunities to give back to others," Debbie answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.  Debbie's whole point with Project Brown Bag is helping us to have gratitude for what we have, because no matter what our circumstances, people are living with less.   Even if our budgets are tight, we can still find enough to assemble a brown bag or two and be able to help someone in need.

When I asked Debbie something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she jokingly answered, "I look good in these pants!"  We all laughed and spent the next few minutes remarking about her magic pants and agreed that she did indeed look great in those pants!  After the laughs, Debbie answered seriously, "I'm proud of the special relationships I have with my friends and family."

Debbie, you're one of a kind and I love you!  I'm so happy to be among one of those special relationships and know our friendship will last a lifetime. I love your big heart.

 

Day 106 - Nick

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This is Nick.  I could hear a skateboarder in a parking lot near me and I was on my way to go ask him if I could take his picture when all of the sudden, Nick just appeared.  I've learned in this project that when someone just appears in my path like this, I need to go with it and ask for their picture.

Nick and I talked for a while, much longer than I normally get to talk to with each subject.  You know when you watch a good movie and hours later you're still replaying scenes in your mind and trying to dissect and analyze it?  Our conversation was like that.  Our conversation was significant to me and exactly what I needed to hear at that time.  Hopefully, it was also significant to Nick as well, but I suspect in this case - Nick was there to teach me something, rather than the other way around.

"I'm learning the true meaning of compassion," Nick answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Nick's study of Buddhism is helping him to consider people and situations differently and he's learning to become more selfless.  Nick explained that compassion leads to taking care of others, not things. We should place more value on people instead of material possessions.

I asked Nick if he's recently performed an act of kindness.  Nick answered that kindness is  "daily practice" for him, again he referenced having compassion.  Nick explained that it is an act of kindness to keep ourselves in check - to see beyond ourselves and to be open to "love on each other more."  Patience is kindness.  Choosing to seek clarity instead making assumptions about others is an act of kindness.   We talked about the example of somebody cutting us off in traffic.  It's highly unlikely that a person intentionally cut us off.   Seriously, how many people would deliberately put themselves and others in danger?  It is our human reaction to get angry or frustrated with someone who cuts us off, but the more likely story is that it was a complete accident on their part. Or, we never  know what they're dealing with.  For all we know, their mind my have been on a sick or dying relative.  Attempting to see things from another person's perspective is kindness.  Nick and I both agreed that as much as we're both striving to be good people,  because we're just human, we make human mistakes.  The point is, we're trying.

"To be a conduit," Nick answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.  I loved Nick's answer.  Not only is it his profession, but Nick feels it's his life's purpose to do whatever it takes to help others to shine.   Nick feels he's a success when he's been able to help turn on a light bulb for another being.

Of most significance from our conversation, is that we both appreciated that at that specific moment, nothing else mattered.  We were both completely present in the current moment.  I explained to Nick how this project has helped me to realize that when I'm meeting the subject for the day and taking their picture, it's often the only time in my entire day that I'm able to let go and just be completely present.  There are definitely days when I've been unable to do this and it shows. Sometimes my mind is still trying to process work or life stress, and I've not been completely present, but I'm working on becoming more mindful. It was just pretty amazing that for a few minutes, nothing else mattered to us, a couple of strangers, than the person standing before us.

Again, our conversation circled back to compassion and kindness and how being in the present moment lead us meeting one another and having our conversation to begin with.  I had intentions to go elsewhere to look for a subject, but being in the moment caused me to approach Nick.  Nick definitely had a lot on his mind and he had an agenda, but because he paused and was in the present, he agreed to let me take his picture.  He was able to put together in his mind that I needed to find a subject, and he was gong to help me!

Thank you, Nick, for your time and for being a conduit.

 

Day 107 - Christopher

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This is Christopher.  We met outside of Sam's Billiards.

"I'm writing for a living," Christopher answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Christopher writes comics.

I asked Christopher if he's performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Christopher said that the barista at the coffee shop he goes to gave him a free pastry that morning.

"Don't waste time, and don't be a dick," Christopher answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement.  When you think about it, this is actually pretty darn good!  (And, it's so concise - but that comes from not wasting time!)

I asked Christopher something about himself which he considers to be a success. Christopher explained that he moved to Portland specifically to become a full-time writer and he's made it happen!

 

Day 108 - Morgan

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This is Morgan.  He was sitting on a bench, waiting for the bus to arrive when we met.

"I feel like I finally found someone who loves me unconditionally," Morgan answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Morgan if he's recently performed an act of kindness. Morgan explained that he reserves/saves the tips he makes from his job and then gives the money to homeless people he meets on the street.  Wow.  Can you believe this?  I'm sure Morgan, like anyone, could probably use his tips in his own daily life, but he gives his money away.

When I asked Morgan if he had a personal mission statement, or life's purpose, he answered, "I'm still trying to figure that out - whatever it is, I hope I can use it to benefit everyone around me."  I suspect Morgan is already a benefit to everyone around him, simply by being him.

Morgan feels that making the move to Portland is something about himself which he would consider to be a success. He worked for months to save up enough money to make the move.

Morgan and I had finished with the "interview" and pictures and just then the bus arrived.   Morgan, however, made no attempt to board the bus.  After the bus pulled away, I asked, "wasn't that your bus?"  Morgan answered, "yes, but it's ok.  Another one will come soon."  I was in shock that Morgan passed on his bus just so we could visit a little while longer.

This was the day before Thanksgiving and Morgan explained that he really didn't have any place he had to be.  I was thankful for that, because I really didn't have any place I had to be either since my husband and I weren't doing anything for Thanksgiving.  I asked Morgan if he had plans for Thanksgiving and he told me of the friendsgiving feast he would attend the next day.  Morgan had a couple of grocery bags with him and I curious, I asked what he had been assigned to bring.  He reached down into the grocery bag and pulled out a Tofurkey!  We both laughed and I agreed when he said, "it doesn't get any more Portland than that!"

Morgan said this would be the first Thanksgiving he's celebrated in a few years.  I don't know if it were the things Moran said, or the things Morgan didn't say,  but I sensed that Morgan may have had a difficult past.  He's soft-spoken and his nature is sweet and gentle.  I don't know what the past may have been like for Morgan, but I'm so happy that Morgan made it to Portland and that he's found love here.  I'm optimistic his future is going to be a happy one.

I would have been happy just hanging out and talking with Morgan a little longer, but I didn't know if Morgan felt the same way.  I also didn't want him to feel obligated to pass on the next bus too!  I thanked Morgan and we said our good-byes.  He's a good guy.

 

Day 109 - Tim

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This is Tim.  We met outside the mall.

My husband and I spent a quiet Thanksgiving morning together and after he left for work that evening, I was alone.  I  had wasted the day away, watching cheesy Hallmark movies and hadn't even gone out to find a subject for the day.  I headed to the mall, hoping to find someone there.  Tim appeared to be heading in with his Mom or relative when I stopped to ask if I could take his picture.

"Seeing my family again," Tim answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

"I helped a homeless guy the other day," Tim answered, when I asked if he's performed an act of kindness.

When I asked Tim if he had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose, he asked for examples of what others had said. I read a few of the statements from the previous few days and then Tim answered, "to live with honor and respect."  I'm always so amazed that nearly everyone is able to pull these beautiful statements out of thin air.  If someone were to ask me, I would get overwhelmed and flustered.  I know I would just ramble.  It's been my hope that after I meet someone and ask the question, they will then go on to refine their personal mission statement.  I like to think that the answer they gave me was their first draft, and that perhaps they go on to give the question even more consideration.  I hope the process has been helpful to people in some way.

When I first asked Tim something about himself which he considers to be a success, he said that he couldn't think of anything.  I pushed him a little more, explaining that one guy said that he was successful at napping!  After hearing that, Tim then answered that he's successful at making friends.

 

Day 110 - Tatiana

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This is Tatiana.  She was waiting at the bus stop.

Tatiana was such a beautiful sight but I was having trouble catching it the way I was seeing in my mind.    Raindrops covered the bus shelter and when a car would drive by, the car's headlights would light up the raindrops like sparkling glitter.  I don't know which was sparklier - the glistening rain drops or Tatiana!

"Being around my family for the holidays," Tatiana answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

"I make sure that I always do one random act of kindness every day," Tatiana answered, when I asked if she's performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.

"To live, laugh, love - to appreciate life and live it to the fullest," Tatiana answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.  "I wake up thankful for each new day," Tatiana went on to explain.  Talking with Tatiana was so uplifting!

When I asked Tatiana something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "that I'm working and getting everything together. I'm standing on my own two feet and being independent."

Tatiana was such a sweetie.  I was so glad we met.  After we were finished and as we were saying good-bye,  she thanked me!!  It felt funny when Tatiana thanked me. I'm the one who owed her thanks and appreciation. Tatiana is the one who performed the act of kindness by letting me take her picture and sharing some of her story with us.  I thanked her, but again, Tatiana thanked me right back.  As I was driving away, I realized the reason Tatiana thanked me is because for a moment - we were able to talk about only positive things.  She was thankful  for the fun moment we shared.

 

Day 111 - Holly

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This is Holly.  We met at the beauty supply store.   I feel a little weird about asking people to be in the project when we're inside of a business.  Not only does it feel I'm interrupting them at work, but it just feels awkward.  Since the other customers had just left and because the ladies working in the store were so beautifully made-up, I figured I would go ahead and ask.  Holly's co-worker (possible manager?) volunteered her.   Holly agreed, but when I asked if we could go outside to take the picture (where there wasn't a wall-o-beauty products), Holly reconsidered because of the cold.  I said I could ask the questions inside and then we could go outside and I'd be fast!  Holly agreed.

The happiest thing happening in Holly's life right now is school.

"It happens every day," Holly answered, when I asked if she's performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.

"One day at a time," Holly answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose.

When I asked Holly something about herself she would consider to be a success, I could tell she was struggling for the answer.  Holly's co-worker/manager encouraged her, reminding her that she has a huge success if she was willing to share.  Holly then answered that she will have 18 months sobriety in December.  Congratulations, Holly!  Nice work.

Holly and I then went out to take the picture.  Holly explained she's not able to give a fake smile. I told her it was ok and that she didn't have to fake a smile.  She then gave me a few fun/sassy looks and then we did a couple where she was just her natural self.

Holly's look is amazing and I was pleased I managed to get a decent picture, even though we were in a strip mall parking lot, at night.  (I attribute that to Holly!)

Wishing you continued success, Holly.

Here's the summary of personal mission statements/life's purposes from this week's subjects:

  • To be thankful for what I have and take advantage of opportunities to give back to others.
  • To be a conduit.
  • Don't waste time, and don't be a dick.
  • I'm still trying to figure that out - whatever it is, I hope I can use it to benefit everyone around me.
  • To live with honor and respect.
  • One day at a time

 

Thank you for following along and if you've been in this project, thank you for your kindness and for allowing me to take your picture!

365 More People Pictures - Week 15

Hello! This has turned out to be men's week.  This is the first time, that I can think of,  that every subject has been male.  It's always a challenge finding women subjects and now that it's cold and dark, it's a challenge finding any subject, male or female.  I'm almost to the point where I need to give in to the need to change the area where I typically search for subjects. It will be much easier finding people if I go to downtown Portland, but I've tried to keep in close proximity of work in order to condense my travel-time home.  I just wanted you to know that I didn't purposely exclude the ladies this week.  It just happened that way.

 

Day 98 - Roben

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This is Roben.  We met in Esther Short Park.  Roben has caused me to see things differently, both literally and figuratively.

When I arrived to the park, I started walking in the direction of the square area, near the salmon fountain/sculpture.  I've been there several times, but on this particular visit, I could hear someone telling a legend about the salmon.  I couldn't figure out from where it was coming, and then I realized it was coming from the actual sculpture.  I could see Roben observing the sculpture and headed over to ask if I could take his picture for the project.

Roben agreed to let me take his picture, but he said it was on the condition that he wasn't going to pose. (look at me/the camera.)  The fish sculpture was still telling the story, so it was loud and difficult to talk and hear one another.  Roben's eyes were fixed on the sculpture and he explained to me that after the story, the sculpture's bells would chime and sometimes the gates open up and the salmon begin to swim.  (at least that's what I could hear since once the bells began to chime, it was quite loud.)  Roben told me that he likes to watch the bells ring and he tries to guess which one will ring next.  I liked watching Roben trying to guess which bell would chime, and that's when this picture was taken.

At first I was bummed that I wasn't able to get a picture of Roben looking at me, but after I prepared the picture for instagram that night and I was able to sit with it a bit,  I decided I was glad that Roben pushed me in a different direction.  You've figured out by now, I seem to have developed a particular style of portrait and nearly every photo is the same. (You would think that after having taken basically the same picture ever day for the past 465 days, that I would have nailed it by now.  There's just so much to learn and I continue to make mistakes each and every day.)

I asked Roben the happiest thing happening in his life right now and I could tell he was searching for an answer. He held a library book tucked under his arm, and he finally answered it was books.  Roben explained he didn't really have any family.

I asked Roben if he's performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Again, Roben considered the question for a while before answering, "I'm pleasant to the people I live with."  It sounded like Roben doesn't always receive back the kind consideration he gives to his roommates.

When I asked Roben if he had a personal mission statement, or a life's purpose, I didn't actually get an exact answer.  Instead, Roben and I just talked and I abandoned the question so that could just listen to what Roben had to share with me.  He said he thinks about his life's purpose. At one time, he did volunteer work with kids (in schools) and that was something that gave him purpose.  He liked being able to make a difference and seeing when a kid learned or understood something for the first time.  After listening to Roben, I said perhaps his purpose is "to be of help to people."  Technically, this is my answer, not Roben's.  Talking with Roben felt like talking with a teacher.  He may not have been one by profession, but he is very much a teacher.

I asked Roben something about himself which he would consider to be a success and I could tell he wasn't going to give me an answer.  He either couldn't, or wouldn't.  In talking with him, I learned that Roben was a Vietnam Veteran and that he had dreams of riding his bike all across the country.  On his first venture on his bike, he made it as far as Mexico, but when he arrived, he fell and broke his leg.  He had to come back home to mend but as soon as he was able, he started traveling again.  Roben wanted to go back to Vietnam, but instead, stayed in Thailand for a few months and then went onto Israel.

I was glad I met Roben and honored he let me take his picture.

 

Day 99 - Erich

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This is Erich.  I had been rejected by so many people this day and although it can get so discouraging, I now get a little excited when I get declined several times because it always means I'm going to meet someone a little extra special.  Erich was that person.

I asked Erich the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "going to school to be a fashion designer."  Erich gave me a little shot of inspiration.  He explained that once he hit 40, he realized he wasn't on the right path and that it was finally time to follow his dreams.  Being able to recognize this and make the leap, is something about himself which Erich considers to be a success.    As long as we're living, it's never too late to pursue our dreams!

I asked Erich if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been the recipient of an act of kindness. Erich said that his partner is very kind to him every day, and supportive of his return to school.

"To be a hard act to follow," Erich answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose.  I love it! Erich was actually ready with his answer and he explained it's been his personal saying for a while. Erich, you are a hard act to follow!  Wishing you luck and success in attaining your dream as a fashion designer!

 

Day 100 - Joe

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This is Joe.  He was day 100 of the second project!  Can you even believe we've been doing this every day for the past 465 days!?

"My relationship with my girl," Joe answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Joe if he had recently performed an act of kindness. He wasn't sure if this would count because it's family,  but he said he had just driven out to Damascas to help his Dad.  Yes!  Everything counts!  I just really wan't people to consider for a moment either the kindness they've shared with others, or the kindness they've received from others.  It doesn't matter if it's family, friends or complete random strangers.  It's nice to be able to think about something positive and the more we reflect on kindness, the more it will spread.

"To live for enjoyment and to help others do the same," Joe answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

"I'm pretty successful with how I treat other people," Joe replied, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  Joe is right about this!

 

Day 101 - David

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This is David.  I met David and his brother while they were out on a little "urban hike."

"Love," David answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked David if he had recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been the recipient of an act of kindness. David explained that a auto body shop didn't charge him for storage or diagnostic services, even though David opted to have the repair work performed elsewhere.

"To live my life to it's fullest potential, David answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

When I asked David something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I have wonderful family that I love very much."  He then questioned himself out loud, wondering if he could say that family is his success.  I loved it when his brother answered for him, agreeing that David is very much a part of, and contributor to,  the love of their family.  It made me teary-eyed watching and listening to the brothers interact.

 

Day 102 - Jon

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This is Jon.  Before he could even clarify the spelling on his name, I had a feeling he was a Jon and not a John.  Have you noticed you can just sort of tell?

The happiest thing happening in Jon's life right now is that he just got a new full-time job.

Jon's recent act of kindness is that he gave $10 to a homeless man.  He sees the man frequently and the man never asks for money, but on one of the freezing-cold days, Jon was concerned for him and offered the man $10, hoping he could purchase something to give him a little warmth.  Jon was hesitant to give the man money because he didn't want to offend him, but the man was appreciative of Jon's kindness.

"To bring positive to the negative," Jon answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.  Jon's profession is social work, so he's able to bring positive to the negative in his work-life, and his job is also an act of kindness.

I asked Jon something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "the people in my life - I have a good circle of friends."  I have no doubt Jon's circle of friends is loyal and large.  In just a few short minutes, it felt like we were friends.

 

Day 103 - Eli

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This is Eli.   He's friends with one of my customers, Marcus.  There are a few exceptions, but typically I keep my work quite separate from my life and only a few of my customers and co-workers even know about this project.   It was absolutely pouring out and I'm so glad that Marcus suggested, basically insisted, that Eli be the subject for the day.

I always get nervous when I take pictures of people I know.  That's totally backwards, isn't it?  Most people wouldn't even consider asking a stranger for a picture and wouldn't have a problem taking the picture of an acquaintance, but I've now taken more pictures of strangers than of people I know.  When I'm taking the picture of someone I know, I feel extra pressure to perform...and most often, I blow it.

I asked Eli the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered that he was happy to be going to Eugene for the game and to see his best friends.  He and Marcus were going to hit the road as soon as they were finished with me.

Eli was the recipient of an act of kindness that same day.  Eli just started his new job a month ago.  Earlier in the day, his co-worker who also started the job the same day as Eli, brought him a cookie from Starbucks to celebrate their one month anniversary!

"To be happy and to make everyone I surround myself with happy as well," Eli answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

I asked Eli something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "things don't come easy to me, but I'm willing to go work hard to get them."

Thank you, Eli!

 

Day 104 - John

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This is John.  We met in the parking lot at the head of one of my favorite little hiking trails.

"My daughter is home from college for Thanksgiving," John answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

John wasn't able to recall if he's performed a specific act of kindness, but he explained that the people around him do nice things every day.

"My mission in life is to enjoy as much of the outdoors as possible," John answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.  John totally looks like Mr. Outdoors-y.  It had been pouring down rain but he hadn't let the rain deter him from his run. He's living his mission in life.   I asked John if he was training and he said that he had just finished a 50K (ultramarathon) a couple weeks ago!

I asked John something about himself he would consider to be a success and he answered, "my years as a teacher has been a success - impacting children's lives."  John has been teaching at the same school for 20 years!

The subjects from this week have shared the following personal mission statements and life's purpose:

  • To be of help to people.
  • To be a hard act to follow.
  • To live for enjoyment and to help others do the same.
  • To bring positive to the negative.
  • To be happy and to make everyone I surround myself with happy as well.
  • My mission in life is to enjoy as much of the outdoors as possible.

Thank you to every subject in this project!

Wishing you a happy week filled with thanks and gratitude!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 14

We're finished with week 14!  I'm so thankful that we managed to find 7 people who braved the cold and paused long enough to allow me to take their picture and ask a few questions. The storm (or Kim Kardashian) broke my internet and I was unable to post day 94 to Instagram.   I was so distressed that I couldn't post. I didn't want my instagram friends to think I had given up on the project.  After I accepted the fact that I couldn't post the daily picture, I then began to embrace the fact that I had the night off. Even though I had taken the picture, which is the hard part, it felt like I was able to just relax for the evening.  Having a night off gave me the opportunity to consider the future of this project.  I wondered if I'm going to become a crazy old lady who walks around taking pictures of people.  I certainly don't want to be that, but now that I've been doing this, I can't imagine not being a crazy old lady who walks around taking pictures of people.  What if this is my thing?  What if this is supposed to be my thing?

When I ask people about their personal mission statement or life's purpose, it's my hope that if they don't already have an answer, then it will help plant the seed for people to identify what it is they want from life, and what they want to give in life.  I confess, I'm also on a quest to learn about what I want from my own life too.  It would be ironic that if in the process of trying to help others plant seeds for what they want in life, and water the seeds I've planted for myself, that I was actually doing what I was supposed to do.  What if I've found my life's purpose?

I don't know the future of this project or this "blog," but what I do know is that right now, I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and I appreciate you being here and being a part of it.

 

Day 91 - Shelby

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This is Shelby.  Not shown, is her therapy-dog-in-training, Vinnie.  We met at Esther Short Park.

I asked Shelby the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she answered, the fall/winter time.  I thought of Shelby a few days later during the storm and wondered if she had reconsidered her love of the season.

Shelby's recent act of kindness is that she bought a hamburger for a homeless gentleman.

"Be happy, enjoy the small things, and live life to the fullest," Shelby answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose.

I asked Shelby something about herself which she considers to be a success and she answered, "training Vinnie to help people."

I visited with Shelby and Vinnie a little while longer and tried to capture a picture of them both.  It was dark and although I'm getting lots of practice, I still can't get a human and a dog in the dark, without a flash.  But, if you use a flash, then the dog's eyes light up like a alien-eyes.  Vinnie was the second Frenchie (part frenchie) in three days and having embarrassed myself last week with Michael and Biscuits, I was sure not to mention anything unmentionable to Shelby and Vinnie.

 

Day 92 - Dat

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This is Dat.  He was on break from working construction in a recently vacated retail space, so I asked if I could take his picture for the project.

I asked Dat the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "I'm getting married very soon."

I asked Dat if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he said that he helps out a lot of people.

Dat and I worked through our language challenges and I wanted to keep the question straight-forward, so I simply asked his life's purpose.  Dat answered, "job and marriage."

I asked Dat something about himself which he would consider to be a success, and then clarified, asking him something he's good at.  Dat answered, "I'm good at construction."

Wishing you and your wife a lifetime of love and happiness, Dat.

 

Day 93 - Ben

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This is Ben. We work together.  We had just spent the last 3 hours doing a photoshoot and after we were finished, I realized I still needed a picture for the project.  (Even though I had just shot 697 photos, I wanted one specifically for the project. Otherwise, it felt like I was cheating.)  Ben agreed to let me take his picture for the project.

I asked Ben the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "the progression of my adult life...growing."

When I asked Ben if he had recently performed an act of kindness, our other co-worker answered for him, reminding Ben that he just bought his lunch that day.

I asked Ben if he had a personal mission statement, or about his life's purpose and he answered, "I'm still trying to figure that out...to exploit my talents and passions."

"Getting a job [here] without experience," Ben answered, when I asked something about himself which he considered to be a success.  "What?" I asked Ben.  I remembered when Ben first contacted our work to ask if we were hiring. He called after hours and I just happened to answer the phone, but I didn't remember that he didn't have any experience.  We laughed and Ben reminded me that he  told me on the phone that he had printed in a garage/basement shop.  I remembered that I was impressed by Ben on the phone and thought he would make a good teammate, and I wanted to make sure Ben's resume made it to the manager rather than have it get lost amongst the others.  It doesn't matter now what experience he may have had or didn't have at the time, what matters now is that he's become a very skilled and excellent printer.

We had been having an on-going conversation about "fake it till you make it," and this was pretty much the icing on the "fake-it-till-you-make-it cake."  We discussed that "fake it till you make it" can sometimes have a negative connotation, but instead,  it's really a way of saying, "don't sell yourself short."   Ben clearly had the desire to live and work in Portland and he didn't let his limited experience hold him back.  He believed in himself and he's elevated himself to become one of the best printers in Portland. He didn't sell himself short. The doors may not have been standing wide open for Ben, but he wedged his foot in the crack and invited himself right in.  That's what we have to do sometimes.  Most times.  Very few of us go through life with endless opportunities.  Most of us have to go jamming our foot in doors until those doors open up a little wider.  Just keep doing it.  Eventually, we'll get in.

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This is Ben's first appearance in the project, but Ben has been one of my favorite subjects.  I've caught him a few times at after-work get-togethers and a couple of those photos have been my favorites.

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Thank you, Ben!

 

Day 94 - Melanie

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This is Melanie.  We met walking down the street.  It was so cold this night...freezing and windy!  I was concerned I wouldn't be able to find anyone and  I felt awful about asking a person to stop in the cold so that I could take their picture and ask a few questions.  Luckily, I met Melanie. She was so nice, and dressed appropriately for the conditions. She didn't seem to mind the arctic  temperatures.

"Trying to have a baby," Melanie answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

I asked Melanie if she had recently performed an act of kindness and Melanie explained that she had found a wallet belonging to an elderly man and it contained $900 cash inside.  She returned the wallet and the money!  This was a huge act of kindness!  There are so many people who wouldn't resist the temptation of keeping the money.  It was also very much an act of kindness for Melanie to let me take her picture in the freezing temperatures.

"To enjoy the ride of life," Melanie answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

I asked Melanie something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she answered, "my business."   Check out Melanie's business, the Taco Pedaler!  Taco Love + Bike Love = The Taco Pedaler!

 

Day 95 - Clark

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This is Clark.  The weather conditions were worse this day than they were the day before and I was so worried about going out to find a subject...and just then, Clark came into the office right at closing time.  It was perfect timing and Clark agreed to be in the project.

After taking Clark's picture, I realized that I've known Clark, through work, for close to 18 years or so.  Clark's business has continued to grow and thrive in the ever-changing industry.  Clark was a young entrepreneur who found success and longevity with his Shirts & Skins line, and that it's still thriving after 20 years, is truly remarkable.

"My boy," Clark answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Clark has a 2  year old son, and Clark said his son and his family give him happiness.

I asked Clark if he's recently performed an act of kindness. He said that he helped pay for the weekend homecoming expenses for an unemployed friend.

When I asked Clark if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, he considered the question a while and then answered, "it's simple...treat others the way you want to be treated."

I asked Clark something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "my son, family, and business."

Thank you, Clark!

 

Day 96 - Leo

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This is Leo.  He and his friend were waiting outside of Hollywood Theatre. I approached Leo, and his friend Jason, and asked if I could take a picture of one or both of them.  Jason quickly volunteered Leo to be the subject. I just love it when friends offer up their friends to be in the project.  I know if stranger approached a friend and me and asked for a picture, I'd physically scoot my friend in front of the camera, while simultaneously shoving myself out of photo range.  So, I totally appreciate the camera-shy people who eagerly serve up their friends to me.

When I asked Leo about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, his friend Jason piped in saying he's happy to be hanging out with his friend, Jason.  We laughed and Leo answered, "going to see "Interstellar" with Jason."

I asked Leo if he's recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  I've realized that I flailed in my note-taking. I was cracking up over Jason continuing to pipe in on Leo's interview and didn't do a good job noting who did/said what.  So, either Jason just bought Leo cheese sticks, or Leo bought Jason cheese sticks. Let's just say they're good friends and they treat each other.

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"To not put all of your faith in other things or other people, because you should have more faith in yourself," Leo answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement.

I asked Jason something about himself which he considers to be a success and he answered, "my film-making."  Check out Jason's film, "Astrobot Apocalypse" below.

https://vimeo.com/32695512

 

Day 97 - Mike

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This is Mike.  We met on the street.

I asked Mike the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he answered, "my girlfriend."

When I asked Mike if he had recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that he had just given a cigarette to a homeless person about a minute prior.

"To live life to the fullest extent, in every way," Mike answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Mike something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he circled back to his relationship with his girlfriend.  Mike explained they met when they were 16 and they're still together now, 8 years later.  I love all of the family-men we've met in this project.   I've learned men assign entirely more significance to their relationships and families, than what society sometimes gives them credit for.  Wishing you and your girlfriend the best, Mike!

Here's the summary of wisdom from this week's subjects:

  • Be happy, enjoy the small things, and live life to the fullest.
  • Job and marriage.
  • To exploit my talents and passions
  • To enjoy the ride of life,
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • To not put all of your faith in other things or other people, because you should have more faith in yourself.
  • To live life to the fullest extent, in every way.

Thank you to each and every subject in this project and thank you for following along!

Have a great week!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 13

We're finished with Week 13 of the 365 More People Pictures project.   I close this week feeling so fortunate to have met so many good people.  Everyone has a story. Everyone can enrich our lives in some way.  

Day 84 - Lee

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This is Lee.  I've known Lee for about 8 years or so.  She manages a nail salon/day spa, and she and the ladies who work there are more like friends. I appreciate them beyond words.

I asked Lee the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Lee started to answer the question in a way that made me think she was answering quite literally, because her answer was about the customers in the shop at that moment.  I simplified and clarified, asking  instead, "what makes you happy?".  When Lee began to answer in the same way, I realized that she hadn't misunderstood me at all.  Lee's work ethic is so strong that there is no separation between her happiness at work, and her personal happiness. The two are directly related.  Lee answered that being busy makes her happy.  Lee is happy when she's providing a service for her customers, and she's happy when the shop is busy because it makes her happy for her employees.  She's happy when customers return. Lee told me it makes her happy to know they're taking care of their customers and helping them to feel better.

I asked Lee if she's recently performed an act of kindness.  Lee said that she gives money to homeless people she sees at stoplights.

"I hope for my children to be good and to be happy," Lee answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

"The business, my children and family," Lee said, is something about herself which she considers to be a success.

 

Day 85 - Ted

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This is Ted.  He was waiting for the bus when I approached to ask if I could take his picture.  Ted was reluctant at first, only because he didn't think we could take the picture before the bus arrived.  I assured Ted that I race the bus all the time and was confident we could do it.

"My daughter," Ted answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Ted if he had a personal mission statement or could define his life's purpose and he answered, "to take care of my family."

"I'm a good father," Ted answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

And with that, the bus arrived, scooped up Ted, and we were on our separate ways.

After Ted departed and as I was walking back to my car, I realized that I constantly put myself in high-pressure situations where I'm trying to get a picture of a person before the bus comes.  I do it so often, it's almost the norm and unfortunately, I have some bad habits because of it.   When I'm not racing the bus and the person isn't in a big hurry to get gone, I still rush things.  I'm working on s-l-o-w-i-n-g down.  By working on, I mean that I know it's something I need to work on, but I'm not making progress.  When I leave a person, I'm often kicking myself for not having taken more time with them.  It's  tricky finding the balance between spending enough time to take as nice a picture as I'm currently capable of doing, but not taking so much time that I'll annoy the person.

 

Day 86 - Courtney

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This is Courtney.  She was also waiting for the bus when I asked if I could take her picture.  I sat down on the bench with Courtney, and we had a pleasant visit.

I asked Courtney the happiest thing happening in her life right now, and she was having trouble giving an answer.  Courtney decided that she was happy there are people in the world who are trying to make things better for animals.

I asked Courtney if she had recently performed an act of kindness. She couldn't think of a specific example, but said that she tries to be kind every day, which led directly into Courtney's life's purpose - "to try to be as kind and unjudgmental as possible."

"Learning how to be more accepting and how to live each day," Courtney answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  Courtney went on to say that she tries not to dwell in the past, but instead, lives each present day.

Courtney and I talked for a while and I told her that I'm also working on being nonjudgmental, and confessed that I still catch myself getting wrapped up in stupid stuff that I should just let go.  The example I gave Courtney was that I get bothered when I see grown adults wearing pajamas at the grocery store or out in public.  I told her I knew this was a form of judgement and that it's ridiculous for me to be bothered.  It's not my life.  It shouldn't matter to me if they chose to wear PJ's in public.  This is just a small example of course, but the point is, if I was allowing myself to be judgmental over stupid things like PJ's in public, then how could I ever expect to grow and be the person I want to be?   Courtney suggested reading Anais Nin, as she is helping Courtney in her own quest for growth.  Anais Nin is now on my reading list.  Thank you, Courtney.

 

Day 87 - Mike

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This is Mike.  We met walking down the street.

"I just moved into a new place," Mike answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Mike's recent move also put him on the receiving end of kindness because his friends helped him move.

I asked Mike if he had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose and he answered, "to be a good person and do right by people."

Something about himself which Mike considers to be a success is that he's doing well in school. He has 3 undergraduate degrees!

 

Day 88 - Andy

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This is Andy.  I  spotted him walking down the street.

When I asked Andy about the happiest thing happening in his life, he said it was a hard question.  I could tell he was thinking, but he couldn't, or wouldn't, give an answer.  I told him it was ok and that we could come back to it.

I then asked Andy if he had recently performed an act of kindness, or if he'd been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Andy questioned me why the questions were so tough.  Again, I told him we could come back to it.

When I asked Andy if he had a personal mission statement or his life's purpose, he answered with a quote by T.S. Eliot - "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."

"I'm still alive," Andy answered, when I asked something about himself which he considers to be a success.

We then circled back to the first two questions.  Andy again said they were tough questions, and that's when he explained that he's not a very happy person.  He asked why I couldn't ask him negative questions, like what makes him unhappy or about things that are wrong. Andy said it would be much easier for him to answer those questions.  I laughed and explained to Andy that the question is a cleverly disguised exercise in gratitude and it's my hope that when people think about the things that make them happy, they'll consider all the things they have to be happy about.

Andy finally answered, "I'm happy that I met you."  I felt shy and didn't know how to respond. I figured this was exactly Andy's intention with his answer,  and that he was trying to make me go away.

Ok. Now to circle back to question 2.  I asked Andy for the second time if he had performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. "It was nice of you to take my picture," Andy replied.  Again, I wondered if Andy's answer was an attempt to make me go away, or if he was poking a little fun at me.  Andy may have been unable to think of an act of kindness, but I consider it a huge act of kindness that he let me take his picture, and that he opened up to a complete stranger.

I was enjoying our time.  For a person who doesn't think he's happy, Andy is quite friendly and playful.

After we parted and as I was on my way home, I thought of Andy and hoped the exercise worked.  I hoped he was considering things in his life from a different perspective,  and that he was able to find something in his life for which he is happy.

Andy, if you happen to read this and if you can't think of anything else, I hope that it makes you happy to know that you make others happy.

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When I got home that night and prepared the picture for Instagram, I was pleased to see this picture in which you can detect a tiny bit of happiness spilling out from Andy.  He may not have known it, but for at least a moment, he was happy.

 

Day 89 - Michael

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This is Michael.  I had just parked my car to go in search of a subject when Michael and his dog walked by.

When I approached Michael to ask if I could take his picture, his dog circled around my feet, tangling us with his leash.  At that moment, I was giving my attention to Michael and having only seen the dog out of the corner of my eye, I thought he was walking a chihuahua. (A fat chihuahua.)  I love dogs and I normally want to pet and love on every dog I meet, but thinking the dog was a chihuahua, I was holding back.  There's very good reason.  I'm afraid of chihuahuas.  Yes.  I said it.  I was viciously attacked and scared for life by my aunt's chihuahua, and my mother-in-law's chihuahua didn't like me much either.  (But, that dog didn't like anyone except my mother-in-law.)  However, Michael's "chihuahua" was quite friendly and obviously wanted my attention.  After Michael agreed to let me take his picture, I looked down to untangle ourselves and realized the chihuahua wasn't a fat chihuahua at all!!  It was a puppy!  Michael confirmed it was a Frenchie puppy!!  Oh no. It was over. I lost my ability to focus.

I resisted the urge to scoop the puppy in my arms and give him lovins, and instead, proceeded to take Michael's picture and ask the questions.

When I asked Michael the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he answered that it was his puppy, Biscuits.

I asked Michael if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  He said that someone bought his coffee at Starbucks.

"Enjoy life to the fullest because we never know when it can be taken away," Michael answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose.

When I asked Michael something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered modestly, saying that he used to be a good soccer player.  I gave him a look which invited him to explain further.  Michael then when on to say that he played professionally in England.  I'm one of the few people in the world who knows little to nothing about soccer.  The only thing I knew is that if Michael played professionally in England, he was very, very good. I was embarrassed I couldn't ask him more questions about soccer and his career, but instead I asked what brought him to Portland.  Michael has coached with the Timbers and also a local high school team.

We continued to talk about his accent, Liverpool, and Biscuits.  I told him how we have a customer at work who got one French Bulldog, and she now has three.  I told him how she used to bring her three puppies into the office and that we all fell in love with her Frenchies.  I asked Michael if he planned on stopping with just Biscuits, or if he was considering another.  Of course, Michael is already considering another - and its name shall be Gravy.  Biscuits and Gravy.

And then, being the ridiculous person I am, I proceeded to tell him about how "gassy" our customer's puppies were and how they could stink-up the entire office.  Great. Just great.  I'm meeting a professional soccer player from England and what do I talk about?  Dog farts. I simply wanted to prepare him, had he not already known about Frenchie flatulence.  He was already well-aware of intestinabilities of the adorable little creatures.  (Yes, I embarrass myself on nearly a daily basis. I'm trying to get better.)

Before meeting Michael, I was starting to feel confidence with the correct camera settings for nighttime.  Michael and I were in a dark parking lot and just the slightest difference between the dark parking lot and more well-lit sidewalks where I normally shoot, was enough to trip me up.  When I got home to prepare the pictures, I regretted not having done better with Michael.  I rushed things too much, I should have tried other settings, and I should have made sure I had a good picture of both Michael and Biscuits before we left.

I had fun with Michael and Biscuits and hopefully we'll bump into each other again some day.  I'll be sure to ask for a do-over so that you can meet the adorable and heart-stealing Biscuits.

 

Day 90 - Nick

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This is Nick.  I didn't realize when I approached Nick to ask if I could take his picture, but he was actually in the process of looking for his iPhone, which he had just dropped somewhere within the past block.  Nick agreed to let me take his picture, but I told him we could first look for his phone together.

Nick knew his phone was on vibrate but I called it anyway. We knew it would be difficult to hear because of all of the noisy street traffic rushing by.  The phone rang, but didn't help us to locate it.  I continued to dial his phone and we continued searching.  The phone wasn't anywhere to be found.  Nick then had the realization that someone walked by him right before he realized he had dropped his phone.  It was possible the person who walked by him picked up Nick's dropped phone and then went on his way.  After calling Nick's phone a few more time and having it go straight to voicemail, we realized this is probably what happened.  The person who took Nick's phone probably freaked out that I had kept calling  and they turned the phone off.  I was bummed for Nick.  Nick decided to stop looking and come back later in the evening when it was dark, hoping the phone would be illuminated when called.

This was the cherry on top of a perfectly bad week for Nick.  Nick told me that his car broke down a few days prior, and that he had some other bad luck as well.   Nick was so nice and so calm, and he was rather optimistic considering he now had one more inconvenience to take care of, after already having a few to deal with this week.

I was impressed by Nick.  He has a good head on his shoulders and he was able to keep great perspective on his situation.  Having your car break down and losing your cell phone within a matter of days is stressful, but Nick wasn't letting it get the best of him.

I apologized to Nick for asking the questions I was about to ask, knowing he wasn't having the best week.

I asked Nick the happiest thing happening in his life right now and Nick explained that he wasn't 100% sure about the answer because he was feeling like he was in a transitional period.  He answered that he's happy he decided to stay in Portland for the next 10 months which gives him time to figure out his priorities and strategize his next move.  Prior to renewing the lease on his apartment, he was uncertain on whether or not he would stay in Portland or move to LA to pursue a career in film/animation.

I asked Nick if he had recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Nick said that he tries to do everything in his power to be kind and helpful to people.  As of recent, Nick is feeling like he's been more on the receiving end of kindness. The day his car broke down, his friends helped him with his car and helped to get him home.

"I believe the meaning of life is the lack thereof," Nick answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose. Nick went on to explain that the main thing needed to be happy, is his "ability to seek truth and beauty in all things, and to try to learn how the universe works."

I asked Nick something about himself which he considers to be a success. Nick answered, "I manage to be consistent with my world view."  Nick explained that he's happy, day-to-day, despite that his life isn't exactly where he wants it to be right now.  He dreams of working in film, and being creative in general, and he knows that some day he will realize his dream.

Nick and I took one more look around to see if maybe the phone would jump out at us, now that we had taken a break for a moment.  Still no luck.  We said our good-byes and I offered my old phone to Nick if his phone didn't turn up when he came back to look for it.  I explained to Nick that my old phone's camera was broken and he would have to baby the navigation button, but at least it would be a temporary fix so that he wouldn't have to put out two fires at once - having to find a new car and a new phone.)

Nick has such a great outlook on life.  I have no doubt he's going to make it far in life, in whatever he chooses for himself.

Wishing you good luck, Nick!

Here's the summary of the wisdom we gained from this week's subjects:

  • I hope for my children to be good and to be happy.
  • To take care of my family.
  • To try to be as kind and unjudgmental as possible."
  • To be a good person and do right by people.
  • Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
  • Enjoy life to the fullest because we never know when it can be taken away,
  • I believe the meaning of life is the lack thereof - seek truth and beauty in all things, and to try to learn how the universe works.

Thank you to each and every person who has been a subject in this project.  My sincere appreciation for your kindness and for sharing yourself with us.

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 12

Hello! We're finished with week 12!

Before we get started, I want to share with you this TED talk video from Photographer, Peter Hurley, and Psychologist Anna Rowley.

If you've been following along for a while, you know how much I admire and adore Peter Hurley.  Not only is he an amazingly skilled portrait photographer, but his enthusiasm is inspiring and I've learned more from watching two of his videos, than I had learned from months of reading and studying online.

Although I'm just learning photography, one thing became instantly clear to me from the moment that I first picked up a camera.  What became apparent to me, is that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.  People are beautiful.   Because I'm just learning, I'm not always able to capture a person's beauty the way I see it in my mind, but it's there.  Everyone is beautiful in some way, if we just take a moment to see it.

If we can all accept that we're beautiful on the outside, then we can let our inside light shine too.  Just as each person is beautiful on the outside and we can always see it if we look for it, each person is beautiful on the inside as well.  The beauty will always reveal itself if we take the moment to look for it, and recognize it when we see it.

Peter and Anna, in this PsyPhotology video, share with us that as equally important as learning to see the beauty in others, is learning to see it in ourselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYJCDYNsL6A

 

 

Day 77 - Mary

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This is Mary.  We met at Esther Short Park, in Vancouver.

Normally, I'm much more observant but it took me a moment to put 2 + 2 together.  Mary was sitting on a bench and I noticed what I thought was a picnic blanket sitting on her lap.  When I approached her to ask if I could take her picture, she agreed, and in doing so, looked off into the direction of a young man and a photographer.  Then it all became apparent once I realized Mary wasn't holding a blanket, she was holding her son's letterman's jacket and it was her son who was having his senior portrait session at that very moment!  We laughed at the timing of it!  I think that because Mary's son was having his senior portrait session, helped make her more receptive to having her own picture taken.

I asked Mary the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she answered, "family and just everything is going well.  The kids are home and doing well."

I asked Mary if she's recently performed an act of kindness and she explained that she does little things daily, such as opening doors for people and letting cars in front of her in traffic.

"To raise kids with good morals and values, and to be happy," Mary answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

When I asked Mary something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "I have came from some dark places and I turned my life around."  Mary shared with me a little of her story, but without going too deep, I just left Mary having been reminded that it doesn't matter how dark life may appear to be, or how hopeless a situation may feel, as long as there is still breath in our lungs, there is always light.  There is always a way out.

After Mary and I finished with the picture and interview and I was walking back to my car, I got the feeling that I left too soon. I was enjoying the visit with Mary and I wish I would have allowed myself to hang out a little longer. (Well, if Mary would have been cool with that.)  I've gotten into such a bad habit of taking pictures quickly because we're always racing against the bus.  When I am afforded more time, I often forget to take advantage of it.  If I could have done things differently, I would have visited with Mary a little while longer, and would have taken more pictures.

Best wishes to you and your family, Mary.

 

Day 78 - Jon

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This is Jon.  We met outside of the Hollywood Theatre.  Jon was waiting to see "Birdman," which sounds like a must-see movie!

"Getting an apartment on Hawthorne," Jon answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Living on Hawthorne would be a dream. You can have the best social life in the world, and never even have to drive a car. There are thousands of things to do and everything is all within walking/biking distance.  I can appreciate why this is the happiest thing happening in Jon's life right now.

I asked Jon if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Jon said that he gives money to homeless people all the time.  He also has a friend who is currently homeless, and Jon lets him stay at his place when it's cold or raining.  Jon is a good guy. I also later learned of another act of kindness which he hadn't mentioned.  Crystal, from day 163 last year, and I have become Instagram friends and when I posted Jon's picture to instagram, she told us about another act of kindness.  Jon and Crystal were neighbors and Jon recently helped Crystal move! Crystal's own family wasn't able to help, but Jon stepped in and helped her with the move. (up and down 3 flights of stairs!)  Is Jon a good egg or what?

Jon's personal mission statement is a quote by James Dean - "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today."  Powerful.

When I asked Jon something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "my charm."  He truly is a genuinely charming person.

 

Day 79 - Kathu

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This is Kathu.  We met walking down the street.

I asked Kathu the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she explained that she's a caregiver, and taking care of her clients brings her happiness.  Kathu's profession not only brings her happiness, but it gives her the opportunity to give kindness daily.

"To be happy and do good things," Kathu answered when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

I asked Kathu something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she answered, "not living an ordinary life."  In an odd happening of synchronicity, I had just started the audio book, "The Noticer Returns," by Andy Andrews.  When Kathu gave the answer, "not living an ordinary life," I had been in the very same spot in the book which discussed living an average life, or choosing to live and extraordinary life.  The timing was perfect and meeting Kathu reinforced the book's message that we have the ability to choose between the two. In fact, if we don't intentionally choose to live an extraordinary life, we will default to average. (Believe me, there's nothing wrong with living an average life. For some of us, to live an average life would be an extraordinary accomplishment.)

One of the reasons I like to ask people about their life's purpose or personal mission statement, is that it's my hope that the answer to the question will help people to identify their destination in life and hopefully guide them to the path which will take them there. I want people to find their extraordinary.

 

Day 80 - John

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This is John.  I saw him as he was about to cross the street. He was wearing the best pants in the world - they were the color of pickle juice!

"My twin brother getting married," John answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

John's recent act of kindness is actually going to happen next week, when he'll head to Seattle to volunteer for an outdoor program for disadvantaged kids.

When I asked John if he has a personal mission statement or a life's purpose, John answered, "I'm on a journey to figure that out."  "My life's purpose is to figure out my purpose."  Whatever you decide, John, I hope that it's extraordinary.

"My ability to make people laugh," John answered, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

 

Day 81 - Anden

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This is Anden.  We met on the patio of the Doug Fir.

I met my friend, Shauna, at Doug fir, and once again, we spent so much time visiting that I didn't remember to take a picture until it was really dark and raining. We headed out to the patio to find a subject and that's where we met Anden.  Luckily, Anden was wearing a ball cap and he didn't mind hanging out with us in the rain.

I asked Anden the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he said that he's a musician, and he's happy that he's at a point where he's able to be self-sustainable playing music.

Anden is currently on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Anden has a dislocated shoulder and his friend is letting him borrow his expensive, smaller, bass set-up, which is much easier for Anden to carry and play than his own.

Anden's life purpose is to inspire others through music.  Anden wants to expose people to any music other than "top 40" and hopes people will be inspired to hear music and play music that they wouldn't otherwise be exposed to.

"Pulling off music and being self-sustaining with that," Anden answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Wishing you continued success, Anden!

 

Day 82 - Mandrew

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This is Mandrew.  We met at the store.  It was Halloween and I was actually having a hard time finding a subject for the day.  I had been rejected several times this day.  I'm not sure why this was such a challenging day.  I couldn't figure out if it was my black cat costume, or if people were just in a hurry to go get ready for Halloween partying.  Mandrew was quite Dude-like in a bath robe, so I figured my chances were good that he would let me take his picture.  I think Mandrew also looks like he could be a long lost Wahlberg brother!   Until meeting Mandrew, I was starting to fear the project may come to an end on Halloween.

"Having a baby," Mandrew answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Mandrew's wife is due in May.

Mandrew's recent act of kindness is that he's part of a non-profit organization which raises money for various women and children's organizations by drinking beer!  Yes, it's a real thing!  The Bridge City Guild hosts events at different locations where the proceeds are then donated to women's and children's charities.

"Serve more than you are served," Mandrew answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

"Taking care of my nieces," Mandrew answered, when I asked something about himself which he considers to be a success. Mandrew likes that he's a positive influence in the lives of two little girls.

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Mandrew!

 

Day 84 - Mandy

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This is Mandy.  We now have the entire Ambiance Tan & Espresso team as subjects in this project.   By now, you've figured out I'm a little attached to this place. I hadn't been able to figure it out exactly, but visiting with Mandy helped me to realize why this place warms my heart.   They serve up more than lattes and vitamin D.  I figured out that this little coffee shop/tanning salon, has a culture of kindness.  That's why I love it.  There are good people here.

I asked Mandy the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she answered, "working."  Mandy was almost apologetic in her answer but when you consider the alternative, there's nothing wrong with being grateful for having a job.

Mandy's act of kindness is that she goes above and beyond a typical level of customer service, and is extremely kind to all of her customers.

Van Wilder's quote, "worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn't get you anywhere," Mandy answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose.  Mandy added a few other things by which she lives her life:  "Treat other people how you want to be treated," and "presentation is everything."

Mandy and I had a great talk about "presentation is everything."  She explained that she knows we're supposed to focus on what's on the inside, but we both agreed society isn't like that in real life. When we meet someone, we're assessed and judged in a matter of seconds. When we meet a person for the first time, we're instantly sized-up and categorized, and how people treat us is the result of their split-second assessment of us.  Mandy learned to place high importance on physical appearance because she struggled and battled with a weight issue when she was a child.  Mandy weighed 265 lbs in the 8th grade, and suffered because of how she looked.

Mandy said she still experiences snap-judgement assessments depending on how she's dressed.  In her own personal little sociology experiments, she's noticed that she receives different treatment depending on the clothes she's wearing. If she's dressed like a soccer mom one day, she'll receive a certain kind of treatment.  If she's dressed like a rocker chick, she's treated in a different way.  When she's dressed professionally, she receives even different treatment.

I've experienced these snap-judgements and I know it's why I also place such a high importance on dressing nicely and pulling myself together.  It's also why it's been sooooo awkward having to approach people in this project after having worked out. (Which is often - there's only so much time in a day and in order to do both this project and continue to work out, I've just had to get over my insecurities when I'm not looking my best.)

No matter how kind-hearted people may be, we've all been guilty of performing these spit-second assessments of people.  It doesn't feel good when you know someone has assessed you to be a particular way, and even knowing we don't like it, we're still guilty of doing the same thing.  Being aware of our tendency to make these snap-judgements is the first step in looking past how a person may be dressed and seeing them for the beautiful person they are.  And once again, we also need to turn this practice inward and have a  little more confidence in ourselves, regardless of how we may look at a particular moment.

When I asked Mandy something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "being a mother."  She feels unsuccessful and successful at the same time. I think having those contrasting feelings, is an indication that someone is a good mom.

Thank you, Mandy!

 

Here's the summary of wisdom from this week's subjects:

  • To raise kids with good morals and values, and to be happy
  • Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today."
  • To be happy and do good things.
  • My life's purpose is to figure out my purpose.
  • To inspire others through music. 
  • Serve more than you are served.
  • worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn't get you anywhere.
  • Treat other people how you want to be treated.
  • Presentation is everything.

 

Thank you to each and every subject, and to you for following along.

Wishing you a happy week!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 11

Week 11 is a wrap! You'll notice I'm experiencing some growing pains. I'm sorry.  I think it's all a part of the process.   It's been a rainy and dark week in Portland, and I've had serious struggles.  The ironic things is, were I not trying to improve, these pictures would be better.  What? I know that doesn't make sense.

Today's DSLR cameras are so amazing and high tech, that a person who knows little about photography, can still take a perfectly decent picture on auto and using the kit lens that comes with the camera. Having purchased a high-performing prime lens, and my attempt to break out of auto, is actually resulting in lots of bad mistakes.  It's been discouraging, but I keep reminding myself that each bad picture I take today, is a better picture I'll take tomorrow.  It's not very comforting, but I refuse to give up.  We have to remember that progress is not always forward-moving.  Sometimes we get stuck.  Sometimes, we even take several steps back.  We just have to keep plugging away and eventually we'll break through the walls we find ourselves up against.

 

Day 70 - David

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This is David.  We met at Esther Short Park, in Vancouver.

I asked David the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he responded, "living here in Portland."  "Well, here in the Portland/Vancouver area," David corrected. David recently moved here from Massachusetts.  I love it when I happen to meet someone new to the area. We've had several newbies in the project and it's been awesome having the chance to unofficially/officially welcome a person to the Northwest.

I asked David if he's recently performed an act of kindness and David explained he tries to do something everyday.  He's always helping someone out in one way or another, and he simply tries to be kind.

When I asked David if he has a personal mission statement, he answered that he lives by a set of personal core values - "living a life of honesty and mutual respect."

"My 16 year marriage," David answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Welcome, David & family!

 

Day 71 - Sarah

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This is Sarah.  I spotted her waiting at the bus stop. We had to hurry before the bus arrived.

The happiest thing happening in Sarah's life right now is the Choir that she directs.

I asked Sarah if she's recently performed an act of kindness, or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Sarah said that her boyfriend had given her a ride to work that morning, much earlier than he's normally up and about.

I asked Sarah if she had a personal mission statement and I could practically see Sarah's mind racing in an attempt to nail down an answer.  The question is a big one. For some reason, although it seems equally as intimidating to me, I've found that asking instead about a person's life's purpose somehow helps people to focus on an answer.  Sarah easily answered that her life's purpose is "to try to help other people through music."

"That I've gotten better about asking for help," Sarah answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  This is such a huge life lesson to learn and I'm happy for Sarah that she's learned how to do so at a young age.  I still need help with asking for help.

 

Day 72 - Matt

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This is Matt.   Matt had a bike and because the bus already had too many bikes on board, Matt was left behind to wait for the next one to come along, and it gave me the perfect opportunity to ask Matt if I could take his picture.

"I just got a new apartment," Matt answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Matt if he's either performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and he quickly answered, "my girlfriend does awesome stuff every day."  Awwww.

I asked Matt if he has a personal mission statement or if he could define his life's purpose.  Matt responded with:

1 - "Good enough is never good enough."

2 - "We never really die until the last time someone says our name, so I'd like my name to stick around."

"I'm a good cook," Matt answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

 

Day 73 - Kelly

 

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This is Kelly.  We're co-workers.  It was pouring outside when it came time to go out looking for a subject. I was concerned about protecting my camera, and then if I managed to find someone, I didn't want to inconvenience them by stopping them in the rain to ask for a picture and "interview."  Kelly told me she's not photogenic, but understanding the rainy predicament I was in, she agreed to let me take her picture.

"Being at peace with all of my family and friends, being in a good place, and being happy all-together," Kelly answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

When I asked Kelly if she's recently performed an act of kindness, she couldn't think of anything specific but answered, "I always try to be nice to people, and thoughtful."  I immediately thought of all of the kindness Kelly gives to us each day at work.  Kelly is a designer and working in the art department, their days are scheduled in advance.  They know exactly what their objectives are for the day and thoughtful consideration goes into planning and scheduling their days so they have just enough time to complete their jobs for the day.  A little bit of pressure can help some people to focus, but too much pressure can be a complete creativity-killer.  Any new and unscheduled task, adds pressure to their day.    Although the art department is scheduled, Kelly knows that new things pop up in sales all day long and we often need the guidance of the art department in order for us to do the next step in our jobs.  Kelly always helps.  She always finds, or makes, the time to help us and she does so with kindness.

I asked Kelly if she has a personal mission statement or a life's purpose.  She gave the question consideration before answering, "to keep growing and keep learning new things, and to keep expanding myself in every way."

"I'm very introspective and good at analyzing situations," Kelly replied, when I asked her something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  I just recently became aware of Kelly's amazing ability to assess a situation or person.  It's awesome working with someone who has a complete understanding of a situation.  In this instance, Kelly even offered a perspective I hadn't considered, which helped me to have a greater understanding and appreciation for the situation as well.

Thank you, Kelly!

 

Day 74 - The Great Brendini

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This is The Great Brendini, a nickname she had just been given by a co-worker that same day.  We met outside of Velo Cult.

I asked Brendini the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she answered, "predictability."

Brendini's recent act of kindness is that earlier in the grocery store, she had acknowledged a woman who society probably normally overlooks, ignores, or dismisses.  Brendini gave the woman direct eye contact, accepting body language and a smile.  A little bit of kindness goes a long way at the grocery store.  The grocery store is a great place to practice kindness. I read an article which presented a challenge to smile, genuinely smile, at 3 people in the grocery store, every time you go shopping.   If you try the 3-smile challenge,  be sure to report back the results!

When I asked Brendini if she had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, I could tell she was retreating to her mind to retrieve an answer.  She said, "I'm a philosopher in my mind," but she was having a difficult time coming up with an answer.  I completely understood Brendini and I cracked up at her "philosopher in my mind" comment.  Brendini and I have this in common.  I have beautiful thoughts and ideas, but in my mind is where they stay locked away, seeming to serve the purpose of entertaining only my own self.  It's like I'm not able to give them life.  When I attempt to birth the thoughts,  things never come out of my mouth, or onto the keyboard, the way they've been stored in my mind.

Brendini worked through the temporary block and answered, "willing your own purpose through authenticity, and recognizing the inspiration in everything around you - is my purpose every day."

"My independence," Brendini answered, when I asked her something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  I loved talking with Brendini.  She told me all about her neighborhood adventures, which she often goes on alone.  Having become a bit of a lone wolf myself, I loved hearing about another woman who enjoys venturing out alone and found familiar and comfortable irony in that predictability is currently giving happiness to Brendini's life, but it's balanced by an independent and adventurous spirit. I guess you could say we're predictably adventurous.  Or adventurously predictable?

After we finished with the picture and interview, Brendini told me she was going to check out the tattoo shop next door, and then head back into Velo Cult for a lecture on neuroscience.  (Who even knew that Velo Cult, a combination bike repair shop, pub, and event space, hosted lectures on neuroscience??? Neuroscience one day, then live music the next!!)  Brendini is at expert level 10 when it comes to independence.  I could learn a thing or two from her.

 

Day 75 - Ernest

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This is Ernest.  Ernest is the uncle of a woman I've known for about 25 years.  She was married to one of our high school track coaches, and coincidentally, we ended up living in the same town, 250+ miles away from where we met.  We bump into each other at the grocery store every so often, and we just happened to run into each other this night.

I loved visiting with Ernest and his niece,  and I really wanted to come away with a particularly special picture of Ernest.  When I arrived home to prepare the photo for Instagram, I was heartbroken by the mistakes I had made.  I always want to do a good job, but given that Ernest is family to someone I've known for years, I wanted to be able to surprise her with a beautiful portrait the next time we bumped into each other at the grocery store.   I failed.  Ernest was such a nice man though.  I have a feeling he's the kind of man who would tell me to stop beating myself up because I'm still just learning.

"Retirement," Ernest immediately answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Ernest if he's recently either performed an act of kindness, or been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Ernest said he's been on the receiving end, in that someone recently gave him a job painting.  Although Ernest is happily retired, he still likes to keep busy.

Ernest's life's purpose - "to be comfortable in life."

I asked Ernest something about himself which he considers to be a success.  Ernest answered, "my old-school cars."  Ernest has a few classic cars which he's collected, restored, and now maintains.  It was obvious looking at Ernest, that he's a fit and active man.  I commented to Ernest that he looked like he was ready to to go for a run.  "Thank you," he said.  I then learned that Ernest also runs almost every day!!  He didn't mention his running as something he would consider to be a success, but I sure do!

Ernest, thank you for letting me take your picture and I hope to see you again some day!

 

Day 75 - A.J.

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This is A.J..  He was parked next to me at Walgreens.  Seeing that A.J. had just picked up an order of photo prints, I figured chances were in my favor that he would say yes if I asked to take his picture.

A.J. is tall.  I mean, really tall.  I had to stand up on the curb but he was still too tall for me.  I had to ask him to squat down.  I feel bad about asking tall people to do this.  I know it feels awkward, but it results in a much better picture than shooting up a tall person's nose.   A.J. laughed and explained he was fine with the request because he's had to squat in just about every picture anyone has ever taken of him.

"Going to Disneyland on Tuesday," A.J. answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

A.J.'s recent act of kindness is that he bought someone's drinks at a restaurant the other night.

"Rise above," A.J. answered, when I asked if he has a personal mission statement or a life's purpose.

When I asked A.J. something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "my family."

 

Here's the summary of the mission statements and life's purpose of the subjects from week 11:

  • Living a life of honesty and mutual respect.
  • To try to help other people through music.
  • Good enough is never good enough.
  • We never really die until the last time someone says our name, so I'd like my name to stick around.
  • To keep growing and keep learning new things, and to keep expanding myself in every way.
  • Willing your own purpose through authenticity.
  • Recognizing the inspiration in everything around you.
  • Rise above.

 

My sincere appreciation to all of the subjects in this project, and to you for following along.   Thank you.

Wishing you a great week!