365 Day People Picture Project - Week 52

Hello! This is week 52, of The 365 Day People Picture Project!

This is not a good-bye.  I'm just getting warmed up. Plus, we still have one more picture to go!

This post covers day 358 though day 364.  I haven't yet taken the 365th picture.  I decided rather than delay today's post in order to include day 365,  I'll just make a separate post next week, which will cover day 365 and also provide an opportunity to reflect on this past year.

Here's the deal...I'm not ready to stop.  It is my concern that if I stop the challenge, I'll not only stop photography, but I'll end up stopping the blog entirely.  I'm also concerned I'll retreat back into my own secluded little world.   I'm not certain of the future, but I'm certain I want to keep going.  I would love a day off, but if I stop, I can't ever go back in time to bridge the gap.  What if I decide I want a streak of taking a picture of a person, every day, for 5 years?  If I take one day off, I'll have to start over at square one.  I can always stop, but I can't ever get back any missed days.

So, this isn't over yet!  I don't know what will happen, but I'm going to continue taking daily pictures until I can sort myself out.


Day 358 - Bob


This is Bob.  I met Bob at Esther Short Park, in Vancouver.

"Independence," Bob said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Bob appeared to have just finished a stroll around the park when we met. I don't know if this is true, but I got the feeling that Bob has lived an active life.  I could make out an athletic form which has been slowed by pain, stiffness, and time.

I asked Bob if he's recently performed an act of kindness. Bob considered the question for a while and then answered, "yes, I perform Native ceremonies."  Curious, I asked Bob what kind of ceremonies. Bob, not sure I would understand, or not sure he could explain, went on to say he performs sweat lodge ceremonies, healings, and vision quests.

When I asked Bob if he had a personal mission statement, Bob said that he doesn't have one, but rather, "I go the direction Creator takes me."

"My purpose in life is to serve others, and I've been successful there," Bob answered, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  It's interesting that Bob went on to talk about his life's purpose.  When I ask people about their personal mission statement and it appears the question is too big of a bite to chew,  I often then re-phrase the question to ask about their "life's purpose."  It's an equally challenging question and almost identical in nature, but for some reason - it's a more manageable bite to swallow.  Bob made the leap on his own.  We talked about his lack of a mission statement in which he said he simply goes the direction The Creator takes him, but then Bob went on the explain his life's purpose.  This is exactly the flow I've intended with the set of questions I've been asking.

I think Bob is the best photograph in the entire project.  I'm sure I made technical errors that a professional photographer, or any experienced photographer, would critique, but I think this is my best.

When I started this project, I started following several photographers on social media.  I view thousands of images a week.  One thing I've noticed is that there seems to be a trend or tendency for some photographers to go quite heavy on the sharpening and contrast on portraits of elders.  When I first started seeing images like this, I was blown away!  They make for striking and unforgettable photographs.  While "developing" Bob's photo to be Instagramed on the day his picture was taken,  I experimented with extreme sharpening and contrast...but it just wasn't for me.  As striking as I find those types of photographs to be, I've realized that it's not my "personal style."  For the majority of this project, my "personal style" could probably be described simply as very poor quality.  I'm now starting to see that I have developed a bit of a personal style and I can see little improvements.  To me, Bob is striking enough on his own.  The few minor adjustments I made in lightroom were more than enough.  I think my eye tends to favor, for myself, the more organic look of photographs from the 50's through 80's.  Because of the changes in technology, the entire feel of photography has also evolved.  I'm just not there yet.


Day 359 - Phil and Sean


This is Phil (left) and Sean (right).  I've seen these two at Mt. Tabor for the past couple of years.  They're often working out with Timm and Nic,  from day 51.  They're all a bunch of beasts!  They workout with so much intensity, you'd think they were being ordered to do so by a drill sergeant!  They had just finished their workout when I asked if I could take their picture.

I asked the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and Phil answered, "I just became an uncle."  Sean replied, "my son - he's 1 and 1/2 years old."

Phil's recent act of kindness is that he bought his girlfriend 2 new bathing suits for her vacation to Mexico, which she will be taking without him.  Sean and I both laughed and asked if they were full body suits since she was going alone.  Sean's recent act of kindness is that he donated a $1.00 when he made a purchase at Walgreen's.

"Living every day to the fullest," Phil said, is his personal mission statement.  He went on to say that to do so, means "living every moment."  Just judging by the way these guys workout, I know Phil lives this.  There's nothing half-ass about the way they tackle the stairs, so I know they must tackle life with the same intensity.  "The pursuit of love and kindness," Sean said, is his personal mission statement.

I asked Phil and Sean something about themselves which they would consider to be a success.  Phil responded, "my career."  "Family," Sean answered.

Once again, I'm thankful for this project for giving me a reason to actually stop to talk with people I've been seeing for months.  We've exchanged "nods" or quick "hi's," but we've never talked.  How many people do we continue to pass by on a daily basis?


Day 360 - Sanman


This is Sanman.  We also met at Mt. Tabor, where he had just finished a run.  He confessed that he doesn't like running, but his friends have encouraged him that he'll learn to love running once he becomes a stronger runner.  So, he's convincing himself to become a runner by running until he loves it.  His long term goal is to finish a marathon.

I asked Sanman the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "just talking to my family every day."

Sanman's recent act of kindness is that he donated things to a homeless shelter.

"To eventually get away from the day-to-day routine and enjoy the smaller, simple things in life," Sanman said, is his life's purpose.  Sanman has reached the point in his life where his hard work has earned the financial security to start enjoying life and his hobbies such as climbing.  Sanman wants to travel, and we joked/dreamed of being able to buy a private island.


Day 361 - T.J.


This is T.J.  He was the third Tabor person in a row.  He was just starting to warm-up for his workout.

"My own business," T.J. said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  He's started his own clothing line.

I asked T.J. if he had recently performed an act of kindness. "Every day," T.J. answered, most recently was holding the door open for people.

"To always do the best that I can do," T.J. said, is his personal mission statement.

I asked T.J. something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied, "my drive."


Day 362 - Nick


This is Nick.  He was waiting at the bus stop when we met.  This particular spot has been a challenge to me throughout the entire project.  Actually, there are a few ares in this one particular block which have challenged me.  My solution has been to avoid those spots whenever possible, but there have been times when the only subjects I could find, were in those troublesome spots.  I just had to figure out how to make it work.  When I got home to prepare Nick's picture to be Instagrammed, I was so disappointed.  362 days into the project and I still got hammered by a ball cap and the weird lighting thing that happens in that one particular spot.  I felt as if I hadn't learned a darn thing!  I may have blown the shot, but at least I've learned enough to know how to rescue the picture in lightroom. I was able to correct the exposure enough to see Nick's eyes.  Phew!

I asked Nick the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "my girlfriend is starting college."

Nick is a chef and he's working in a food cart.  His recent act of kindness is that he gave extra food to a homeless person and the recipient was extremely appreciative of the meal.

I asked Nick if he had a personal mission statement. Nick explained that when he was in school to become a Chef, they had a similar assignment, but how it related to their food.  Nick said, when people eat my food, "I want them to feel like they've fucked."  We laughed and Nick said, "I don't know if you can say that, but that's what I want."   Nick then clarified that I couldn't change the words to be "made love," because that's something different.  Nick has dreams of opening his own business some day. He told me a little about his plans and I'm excited for him.  He already has a clear vision, so I suspect he'll be up and running soon!

"Surviving the struggle," Nick said, is something about himself which he considers to be a success.


Day 363 - Ophelia Darkly


I had been wandering around in search of a subject when I reached the same bus stop where I struggled with Nick's picture the day before.  It's like I was being taunted, or tempted,  by that very same troublesome spot.  Ophelia was facing away from me when I approached the bus stop but I was determined to try to do better than I had done the day before.

I approached Ophelia and asked if I could take her picture.  When she turned to look at me, she revealed her amazing style.  I could tell she was conflicted, but it wasn't for the reason I would have expected.  She explained she's actually a professional model.  I understood.  She didn't even have to explain more...I got it.  Not only had I accidentally asked to take the picture of a professional Model, but I would not be compensating her for it.  Modeling is her profession.  Also, she was putting a great deal of trust in a complete stranger, a complete amateur at that.  She agreed to let me take her picture and when she did so, I became completely nervous. How many times have you heard me say that it's very easy to take a bad picture of a beautiful person?  I didn't want to blow it!  I confessed to Ophelia that knowing that she's a model was making me nervous.

When not in front of the camera, Ophelia comes across as a sweet and cute Portland girl, (although she's actually from Chicago) with excellent style.  The minute she got in front of the camera - BAM!!!!  She became Ophelia Darkly.  This whole other edgy persona emerged.  She went from being a sweet young woman waiting at the bus stop, to becomming this WOW persona.  I was stunned.  I think I even shook my head and said something like, "ok, yeah, I can tell you're a model."   I've learned in this project - NEVER discount the art of modeling.  An actual transformation occurs within a model which is so subtle that you can't even detect that it's happening, but the results are powerful and unmistakable when you see it in your viewfinder. It is indeed an art and a talent, and it is special and unique.


"I'm in love," Ophelia declared, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  At this point, the dark and edgy persona was a little more sunshine-y and the person in front of me was a cute young girl in love.

I asked Ophelia if she had recently performed an act of kindness and she explained that her friend's car was just towed from her apartment and she paid to have the car released because her friend didn't have the money, and she felt she should since the car had been towed while the friend was there visiting her.

"There's nothing greater than art, whatever that means to you," Ophelia said, is her personal mission statement.

I asked Ophelia something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she answered being "self-employed since December."  You can check out more of Ophelia's stunning work on her Model Mayhem site and her Etsy shop.

Ophelia was bitten by a dog when she was a child and as a result, she has a scar on her lip.  She was determined to be a model and to not let the scar prevent her from fulfilling the dream.  She went on to say that now, the scar is often just photoshopped out and it hasn't been an obstacle.  I explained to Ophelia that I'm a complete beginner and I don't even know how to do a quality edit to remove the scar, and basically asked her if it was ok to use an un-edited photo showing the scar.  She agreed.  I was so mesmerized by Ophelia's eyes that I hadn't noticed the scar.  I know, I know, this is something a photographer should see - but you would have been as entranced by her eyes and transformation as I was.  I understand in her profession that her childhood scar would often be re-touched to the point where it doesn't exist, but now that I see it and know the story, it is part of Ophelia Darkly.  Ophelia Darkly exists in spite of, or maybe because of, the scar on her face.

Wishing you success, Ophelia!


Day 364 - James


This is James.  He's in town, staying with Becki and Brent, to receive a promotion to Navy Chief Select.  We've actually known each other since grade school!

I couldn't figure out why my friend Becki was so interested in when I would be taking the pictures for day 364 and day 365.  When I couldn't give her an answer,  she told me that James was in town and suggested that I come over to take his picture for the project. I didn't want to impose on their plans so I started to pass on the invitation. After giving it some thought, I realized it would be great to have James as a subject!   I told her I'd be right over.  When I arrived, she told me she had something to show me. Becki told me that it was going to be a surprise which she wanted to present to me on Day 365, but she realized it just couldn't be possible.  She led me to her laptop, where on her screen I could see each and every picture I had taken this past year.  I was a little confused, but then it all made sense.  She had been poaching every single picture from the blog, organizing them, and she was preparing to have a photo book printed of every subject in the entire project!   It explained her persistence and why she needed to know when I would be taking my last pictures.  Since I didn't even know myself, I made it impossible for her to get the last few pictures in the book in time to present to me at a celebration dinner we're having tonight.  I started crying.  This is the nicest and most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me in my entire life.  I'm so thankful to have friends like this in my life.

Although Becki had ulterior motives, I'm so glad she let me know that James was in town.  He looks like the same kid I remember.

"My kids growing up," James said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked James if he had recently performed an act of kindness and he said that he had just bought coffee for someone.

"To always do the right thing" and "to enrich someone's life in some way," James answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement. James said that he knows it seems cliche, but that's how he tries to live his life.

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

Thank you, James, for being in this project!  Wishing you lots of happiness!

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

  • I go the direction Creator takes me.
  • My purpose in life is to serve others.
  • Living every day to the fullest.
  • The pursuit of love and kindness.
  • To eventually get away from the day-to-day routine and enjoy the smaller, simple things in life.
  • To always do the best that I can do.
  • There's nothing greater than art, whatever that means to you.
  • To always do the right thing.
  • To enrich someone's life in some way.

Thank you to every single person in this project, and to you, for following along on this amazing ride!  It's not over yet!

See you next week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 49

Hello, and thank you for checking in on week 49 of The 365 Day People Picture Project.  Can you believe we only have 3 weeks left? I get teary-eyed when I think about the project ending. I know it seems silly, but I can't help it.  The tears seem to come from someplace where I don't have the ability to turn off the spigot. Again, it is very much like a marathon.  I don't know what it is, but tears just happen and they seem to happen anywhere from around mile 21, all the way through the finish line.

I have a very athletic, manly-man friend who's completed a few marathons and right before my first, he prepared me that there will be waterworks.  He told me he cried like a little baby as he was finishing his first marathon!  It's just such a labor of love, and you give so much of yourself...the tears just happen.  Given my manly-man friend cried, I figured it was ok when I cried too.  These project-is-ending tears must be coming from that same well from which the marathon tears flow.  The end is in sight.  I want to finish strong.  Although every cell in my body wants to cross that finish line, I also don't want this feeling to end.


Day 337 - Jami, my Sister


I made another quick trip home to Southern Oregon last weekend and after two, back-to-back, trips home, I've realized I need to make the trip more often.  Weeks turn into months, and months turn into years, and it's been years since I had last seen my Sister.

I asked Jami the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "seeing you."  We laughed and I persisted because I wanted to learn the real scoop.  Jami then said, "the success of my children."

I asked Jami if she had recently performed an act of kindness and she jokingly responded, "I'm ornerier than heck!"  Again we laughed.  Jami said that she lets people go in front of her at the grocery store, and that she let elders go in front of her in the food line at a gathering we had just attended the day before.

I asked Jami if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot, and she replied, "to have empathy for others, and to grow on a daily basis."  Jami went on to say that she's trying to look beyond herself, in attempt to see the perspective of others.

"I never give up," Jami said, is something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  She then questioned her answer, saying she's not sure if that's good or bad.  Jami and I share that trait and I understand it can be both a blessing and a curse.

Technically, Jami is my half-sister and she lived in California when I was growing up.  I can recall two specific pictures which sparked my fascination with photography, before I even knew I had one.  One of the those photographs was of Jami.  I think the picture must have been taken by my Dad, or one of my Brothers.  Jami had the most perfect 70's hair - long with a center-part.  I looked at that picture often since I didn't have Jami close in proximity.  I looked at that picture so often, my memory of how Jami looked was replaced by my memory of how she looked in that picture.  The photograph became Jami, and Jami became the photograph.  It's difficult to explain, but maybe you understand exactly what I'm talking about.  Before the project ends, I'll share with you the other picture which piqued my interest in photography.

Jami - I love you, and thank you for being in the project!


Day 338 - Isis Estela 


This is Isis.  We met just walking down the street.  I asked Isis the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "just moving here."  Isis is new to Portland, having just arrived from Seattle.

I asked Isis if she had recently performed an act of kindness and she explained that she's editing a book for a friend.  Wow!  That's quite a laborious act of kindness and I'm sure her friend must be grateful!  You can read some of Isis' writing on her blog.  

"Love, laugh, learn, live," Isis replied, is her personal mission statement.

I asked Isis one thing about herself which she would consider to be a success and she replied, "my life up until now."

Wishing Isis lots of luck and happiness in Portland!


Day 339 - Kaely & Jake


This is Kaely & Jake.  They were waiting for a friend to arrive at Mt. Tabor park.

I asked Kaely the happiest thing happening in her life right now and after much consideration, she replied, "the summer and the sunshine!"  I'm noticing when people answer, "summer", it's like a catch-all for all of the events, activities, happiness and good times we  have during the summer months.

The most recent act of kindness which Kaely could recall performing, was that she held the door open for a person who had their hands full.


I asked Kaely if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot. Kaely explained that while on a recent hike with friends, they spent time defining their personal mission statement and life's purpose.  Kaely answered, "to tread lightly, make the most of every day, and to make things easier for others."

One thing about herself which Kaely would consider to be a success, is her involvement with the Forest Grove Farmers Market.  Kaely manages the market and she's enjoyed seeing it evolve from a small farmers market, into a large community event.


Day 340 - Andrew


This is Andrew.  We met outside of Velo Cult as I was walking by in search of a subject.

"Cooking and moving to Portland," Andrew said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Andrew is a chef, in town from Austin,  and he'll soon be moving to Portland.  While in town, he staged ("tried out") as a chef at one of Portland's most popular restaurants.  He knows he won't be working there as they're at capacity, but he's optimistic he met a few excellent connections and his networking will result in a job soon!

I asked Andrew if he had recently performed an act of kindness.  Andrew said that he was an Eagle Scout and they're to "do a good turn daily."  Andrew's most recent act of kindness is that he complimented a man on his bike, and then struck up a conversation with the stranger.  They ended up having a lengthy conversation.  Andrew is quite personable and friendly, so I can imagine he maintains the "do a good turn daily" code, simply by being himself.

"Go with motivated people," Andrew replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement.  This is such good advice!  When you surround yourself with people who make things happen, you can't help but to absorb some of their energy and you'll soon find that you're also making things happen for yourself!

I asked Andrew one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success.  He replied, "my knives are sharp."  Ha!  I don't know much about cooking, but I do know that a good chef takes care of his knives as they're critical tools for their trade.  Andrew said he had the sharpest knives at the tryouts!

Wishing you luck and success, Andrew!


Day 341 - Carl and Max


This is Carl (left) and Max (right.)  They were just finishing up their job canvasing outside the library.  I was still smiling hours after meeting these two!

I asked the two the happiest thing happening in their lives right now.  Carl answered, "hanging out with this other free spirit I met recently."   Max explained that although he's currently between employment, he's taking it as a blessing and as an opportunity to find something he really wants to do.  I love Max's optimism and that he's finding a silver lining, even in a difficult time.  I have no doubt he'll soon find the perfect job!

I asked the guys if they had recently performed an act of kindness.  Carl replied, "I gave a homeless person change today."  Carl then explained that he's generally a nice person.  He smiles at people and tells them he loves them.  Max said, "I've been a much better son to my Mother."  After talking with the guys a while, and answering their questions about this project, Carl said, "I love you for doing this."  Carl genuinely loves people.  When he said he tells people he loves them, he wasn't just talking about friends and family. I have no doubt that he tells complete strangers that he loves them, because I experienced it!  Part of this project, for me, has been about rediscovering love for people and restoring my faith in people.  I'm not quite as evolved as Carl yet, so in response to his statement, I said, "I love the interaction we're having."

I asked the two if they had a personal mission statement, or if they could define their life's purpose.  Carl responded, "to be the most wonderful, loving father in the world."  Max replied, "whether I fail or succeed, I'd like to make a positive difference in the world."

When I asked something about themselves they would consider to be a success, Carl responded, "I broke my family's cycle of abuse."  Max answered, "that I've made it to age 20 without being a very rude and angry person."

I almost didn't approach Carl and Max because there were two of them. You know how I struggle with group pictures - even when it's just a group of two.  I'm so glad I set aside my apprehension and approached these two!  We pass by so many strangers on any given day, but if we only stopped to interact with some of those friends we haven't met yet, we might just find they will change our lives. Or, perhaps we will change theirs.  At the very least, we can start a little ripple of happiness.


Day 342 - Reanna


This is Reanna.  She was waiting for the bus when we met.

"I'm a Mom of a 2 year old," Reanna answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

When I asked Reanna if she had recently performed an act of kindness, she said that she does little things all the time but she was having trouble thinking of an answer.  Then it hit her, "I bought a friend a milkshake!"

"Being the best that I can be, not just for myself, but for my Son," Reanna answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or could define her life's purpose.  Reanna then clarified that everything she does, is for her Son.

"I'm a good Mom, and the fact that I can see the glass is half-full," Reanna answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.


Day 343 - Ralph


This is Ralph.  He was passing time at the park along the Columbia River, while he was waiting to meet a blind date at a restaurant down the way.

When I asked Ralph the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he joked that maybe it was about to happen!  He then went on to say that his Dad gave him a musical education when he was younger and it still brings him happiness.  He had just played the night before.

I asked Ralph if he had recently performed an act of kindness. Ralph's profession gives him the opportunity to give kindness.  He helps people to feel better. He performs body work, massage, and acupuncture.

"Help deserving people," Ralph answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement.

"I've retained my inner child," Ralph answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  Ralph's date is in for a fun evening with this young-at-heart man!

Ralph was so nice and personable, I'm confident his date was a success. At least on his part!  I got a chuckle after leaving Ralph, thinking that if any awkward silence happened during the date, maybe Ralph could fill it by telling his date how he had just been photographed and interviewed by a complete stranger in the park.

I turned a corner with Ralph.  This is one of my favorite pictures.  Well, I guess we'll see if I've truly turned that corner or if I was just lucky with Ralph.  I got a new lens, and finally forced myself out of my comfort zone and changed some camera settings. It's been so intimidating to experiment with camera settings during this project. For one, I simply don't know what I'm doing.  Secondly, I'm usually under intense time pressures to get in, get a picture, and get out.  People don't have all day for me to figure out my camera, or I've had to race to get a picture before their bus arrived.  I also can't afford to fail.  I had to get a shot, every single day! All of this pressure and lack of knowledge and practice, caused me to get quite complacent where I was and prevented me from trying to improve.  I've been reading and studying so much, it was time I finally implemented some of what I've been learning.  I'm pleased with the result and I'm so excited to finish out these next few weeks. I had a little more time with Ralph than I have with most people, but I'm going to continue to push to see if I can get some marked improvement these last three weeks.

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

  • To have empathy for others, and to grow on a daily basis.
  • Love, laugh, learn, live.
  • To tread lightly, make the most of every day, and to make things easier for others.
  • Go with motivated people.
  • To be the most wonderful, loving father in the world.
  • Whether I fail or succeed, I'd like to make a positive difference in the world.
  • Being the best that I can be, not just for myself, but for my Son.
  • Help deserving people.

Thank you to all of the subjects in this project!  Thank you for your kindness in letting me take your picture, and for sharing a little of yourself with us.

Thank you for following along another week!  Do you have any ideas for me? What would you like to see next? I welcome your input and would love to hear any ideas you may have for the next 365 days!

Wishing you an awesome week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 48

Hello! Week 48 of The 365 Day People Picture Project is now finished. Only 4 more weeks to go!

I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do after the project is over. I'm hooked and not ready to give it up! I just want to improve and do it better next time.

Did you get to check in on Hana's first week of her 365 People project?  Hana inspired me so much in her first week!  Feeling inspired by Hana, I even changed up my "style" on a few of the photos from this week.


Day 330 - Tom


This is Tom.

I asked Tom the happiest thing happening in his life right now and Tom replied, "being a Christian and watching trains."  I met Tom down near the Columbia River.  He likes spending time there to watch the trains on the nearby track, and watch the planes landing and departing from the airport, which is just a little east of there.  I hadn't thought of it before, but Tom made me realize that from that particular spot on the river, one could get their fill of train-watching, plane-watching, boat-watching, bird-watching, people-watching, and even sunset-watching!

"I drive a bus for the church," Tom answered, when I asked if he had recently performed an act of kindness.

I asked Tom if he had a personal mission statement or if he could define his life's purpose.  Tom said that being a Christian, his life's purpose is "living for the Lord."

"I love music," Tom answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  Tom sings baritone.


Day 331 - Devaun


This is Devaun.  We met at Mt. Tabor Park.  I had just finished my walk and Devaun was mid-workout/run, but he paused long enough to let me take his picture.

"Knowing who I am," Devaun said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Devaun if he had recently performed an act of kindness and he explained that he frequently gives people money.  He feels compelled to give money to the homeless people he meets on the street.

I asked Devaun if he had a personal mission statement or if he could define his life's purpose.   Devaun's initial response to the question was "to find who we are and what we're here for."

This opened up a conversation with Devaun in which we talked about how we can sometimes be distracted by so many things that we lose sight of our true purpose for being, and we lose sight of spirituality.   Devaun pointed out that we can get lost in our materialistic pursuits.  At one point, Devaun apologized and said he didn't want to scare me off by what he was saying.  I assured Devaun that I love conversations such as the one we found ourselves in, and again, I was struck that Devaun and I were complete strangers but within moments, we were sharing an honest and meaningful conversation.   It was clear to me that Devaun is a thinker and he's given serious consideration to life and humanity.

Devaun and I worked to see if we could expand on his mission statement from the conversation we were having.  We decided on:  "to be focused on finding your life's purpose and connecting with your spiritual side."

I asked Devaun something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied, "helping people and and making people happy." Devaun's job as a personal trainer enables him to do both.


Day 332 - David


This is David.  I've been seeing him around Mt. Tabor for a few years, but we hadn't actually said "hi" to one another until now.  This project has given me the opportunity to actually talk with some of the walkers and runners I see regularly.

I asked David the happiest thing happening in his life right now and David said, "training for Portland to Coast!"  This is David's 14th Portland to Coast race!  Everyone on David's team is over 50 years old!

I asked David if he had recently performed an act of kindness and David explained that that he visits his terminally ill Brother, every week, who is in an assisted living facility which is about an hour away.

When I asked David if he had a personal mission statement, or could define his life's purpose.  He went on to explain that he didn't really have a mission statement but David is grateful just being able to get out of bed every morning.  He's experienced the deaths of a lot of friends and family, and he makes it a point to really live life as a way to honor those who are no longer here.

I asked David something about himself which he would consider to be a success and David responded, "doing the walk for 14 years!"  This is a huge and impressive accomplishment! Good luck to you and your team, David!


Day 333 - Joey


This is Joey.  We also met at Mt. Tabor.  Can you tell that I'm getting back on track with my Mt. Tabor workouts?  Joey had just arrived to the park and was on his way to shoot hoops.

I asked Joey the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he said, "my job playing music!"

When I asked Joey if he had recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that the reason he was in town had been so that he could care for his Father, who had just passed away.  My heart was broken for Joey.   I had no idea of the personal sadness he had been experiencing because he so bravely found an answer when I had asked about the happiest thing happening in his life.  We truly never know what other people are dealing with.  Joey's outing to shoot hoops was his first real venture back out into activities since his Father's passing and he was seeking a bit of a mental and emotional rest.


I asked Joey if he had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose.  Joey responded, "I'm still finding mine - it's all up to the individual."  Usually, I tend to gently push to see if a little encouragement can help a person to come up with a personal mission statement or help them to define their life's purpose. Considering everything Joey had just gone through - this was more than enough.  He didn't need some stranger asking him about his life's purpose.  At that moment, what he probably needed most, he was about to go do.

"I've learned to adapt to just about any situation I've encountered," Joey said, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  After meeting Joey, even for just a brief moment, I could see that he is a resilient person and I'm wishing him well.


Day 334 - Naomi


This is Naomi.  I spotted her, contently reading a book, while she was waiting for the bus.  I knew instantly that I wanted to ask to take her picture, but I was also concerned the bus would come and take her away before we could even get started.

I approached Naomi and there was no sign of the bus as far as my forgot-my-glasses eyes could see, so I asked if I could take her picture for the project.

She agreed and I did my best to capture a nice portrait while working under the pressure of the impending bus arrival, and the added challenge of the harsh sun.   After getting home to review the pictures, I was disappointed in myself.  Had I made just a few minor adjustments, I could have had a portrait with which both Naomi and I would have been pleased.  Rather than share one of the more portrait-like pictures,  I decided to just share this one with you...a reenactment of how she was when I first spotted her.  She just looks like someone you'd want to talk with!

I asked Namoi the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she responded, "I'm making a graphic novel that I'm exited to work on."

Naomi's most recent act of kindness is that she made medicine, an herbal tincture, for a friend who needed it.

I asked Naomi if she had a personal mission statement or if she could define her life's purpose.  It's unfortunate we were under time pressures, because Naomi is full of wisdom and she's able to articulate her thoughts effortlessly.  Naomi shared the following, "to encourage compassion in all of its forms."  "To encourage people to educate themselves about the world they live in."  "I want to be more compassionate and well-informed."  "To use all means at my disposal to make the world a more kind and more interesting place."

I only met Naomi briefly, but two powerful means at her disposal would be her art, and her ability for eloquent verbal communication.

"The fact that I've lived this long according to my own ideals; survival," Naomi said, is something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  We knew the bus was about to arrive but she quickly explained that she didn't let life, or the world, get her down, change, or kill her.  It is my hope that rather than letting life change or kill the spirit of people like Naomi, people like Naomi will change the world.


Day 335 - Nick


This is Nick.  I was about to hit the road for a drive back home to Southern Oregon and knowing it could possibly be close to midnight before I arrived home, I realized it was urgent I find a subject for the day.  Luckily, I spotted Nick when I was at the gas station!  I gathered he had just finished work for the day and was headed to the river.

I asked Nick the happiest thing happening in his life right now, and he responded, "building homes."  You can see in the picture, Nick's company is Build PDX.  When I asked Nick something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he also answered that it was his business.

Nick's recent act of kindness elevated him to near hero-status for a couple of kids!  He observed that two kids were attempting to buy floaty toys (river/lake toys) but they didn't have enough money for both floaties.  Nick stepped up, covered their purchase and bought the floaties for the kids.

I asked Nick if he had a personal mission statement or could define his life's purpose. Nick replied, "to live a happy life...a comfortable life."


Day 336 - my Aunt Nancy


I've met so many people over the years who have an "Aunt Nancy," and this is mine.  I don't know what it is about all of our "Aunt Nancys," but they're always interesting women!

I asked Aunt Nancy the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "flowers in bloom."  Nancy had just told me a story about how she had been admiring the flowers in her garden so intently, and she was so focused on trying to take a picture of her flowers, that she somehow tripped and took a little stumble and fell right over. Then it struck her that people on the road could see her on the ground. Feeling embarrassed, she hoped that passersby would just think she was doing some weeding.   I know I get my appreciation for nature from my family and where we live.  They call Southern Oregon, "Gods Country," for a reason.   Finally realizing that joy is found in life's simple pleasures such as blooming flowers, green forests, calming rivers and lakes, and colorful sunrises and sunsets - was key to truly finding happiness for me.

I asked Aunt Nancy if she had performed a recent act of kindness and she jokingly said, "people say I'm mean."  We laughed and she said that she's kind to her animals.  My aunt has had animals for as long as I can remember.  More than just pets, she's had a mini-ranch.  Playing with my cousins and their animals are some of my very best childhood memories.

I asked my Aunt Nancy if she had a personal mission statement or if she could define her life's purpose.  She replied that right now, "to stay alive and healthy....keep on keepin' on." Nancy has fought quite the battle against cancer.  She's winning and it's  in remission.  "Being alive," Nancy said, is something about herself she considers to be a success.   She's a 7-year, and counting, survivor.

I can remember going to my Aunt Nancy's for every holiday feast.  Our holiday spread rivaled any of the best Vegas buffets, and when I'm missing my family around the holidays, I confess...I'm also missing my family's cooking!

On my last trip down here, I had been talking with my Aunt and told her I was scared about a situation.  She told me, "don't be scared.  It's not in your blood to be scared."  Aunt Nancy's words struck me so deeply and I've replayed them in my head several times. In a way, I've found courage in her words.  Of course everyone experiences fear at some time.   Everyone is scared at some time. What she was telling me is not to let the fear get the best of me, or paralyze me.   She was telling me to stop giving the fears any of my energy.  I'm sure Nancy was scared throughout the battle with cancer, but being scared wasn't going to help the situation.  She dealt with it.  She was telling me we have the ability to still take action even when we're faced with fear.

I love my Aunt Nancy.  Before I was even old enough to have heard the saying "tough ol' bird," I knew my Aunt Nancy was one.  But I also knew that her love for her family was equally as strong and fierce.

Thank you, Aunt Nancy, for letting me take your picture and for being in this project. Wishing you continued strength and wellness.


Here's a review of the wisdom, life's purpose, and personal mission statements from the subjects this week:

  • Live life as a way to honor those who are no longer here.
  • Living for the Lord.
  • To find who we are and what we're here for.
  • To be focused on finding your life's purpose and connecting with your spiritual side.
  • To encourage people to educate themselves about the world they live in.
  • I want to be more compassionate and well-informed.
  • To use all means at my disposal to make the world a more kind and more interesting place.
  • To live a happy life...a comfortable life.
  • To stay alive and healthy....keep on keeping' on.

Thank you to each of you who have been subjects in this project.  I'm grateful for each and every one of you and wish you happiness!

And thank you for folioing along and for being my partner in this.  Can you believe it?  It's almost over!

See you next week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 33

Hello! Week 33 of The 365 Day People Picture Project is a wrap!

An interesting thing happened this week.  I ran into 4 random people who have already been subjects in this project!  One day, two separate and random subjects ended up at my work at the very same time!  It was a pretty weird feeling and also one that I loved.  This project has made my little world much smaller, or bigger, depending on how you look at it.  I'm starting to feel a whole new level of connectedness and it's been such a pleasure meeting new friends.  I'm meeting people whom I would have never had the opportunity to meet, had I not decided to just put myself out there and start talking to strangers.

Although I met some pretty awesome people this week ,and ran into a few people who I already knew were awesome, I could feel that I was having an off-week as far as the quality of the pictures I was taking.  Instead of feeling defeated and like I want to give up, I've simply decided to chalk it up to being "off" for some reason.  I'm not stressed. I know I can do better. If anything, I'm actually starting to feel a little bit of hope.  If I can tell and see that I was having an "off" week, then that means I had been making progress!  Yes!

Day 225 - Shanna


This is Shanna.  She was hanging out with a girlfriend at Esther Short Park when I ran into her.

Shanna and I had actually met about a year ago at the Couve Couture Fashion Show.  She's pretty unforgettable because, in addition to being beautiful, she's just soooo nice!  She was one of the models in the show.  Shanna is the type of person who just comes right up to you and starts a friendly conversation.  It was great running into her again!

Shanna is a massage therapist and if you're in need of a massage, you can check her out at Natural Body Works Massage, in Vancouver.  

I asked Shanna about the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "my beautiful husband and daughter, who I'm lucky to be a part of their lives."  Shanna's act of kindness is that she just recently volunteered to start mentoring a lady to be a massage therapist.

I asked Shanna if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot.  She replied, "to be involved with the community, to make this world and people more consciously aware of day-to-day life to live more fully."


Day 226 - Ed


This is Ed, of Ambiance Tan and Espresso.  He makes the best Mexican Mocha in all of Vancouver!  (Well, he and his Girlfriend are tied for the makers of the best Mexican Mochas in Vancouver.)

I asked Ed about the happiest thing happening in his life and he replied, "my relationship with my Girlfriend."

When I asked Ed if he's performed a recent act of kindness, he said that he bought milk and cookies for a little girl who had been in the shop. I also reminded him that the first time I came in, he had also given me a free coffee as well.   I joked that I didn't know if that was an act of kindness or a means to get me hooked! (which I am!)

Ed was quick to answer when I asked if he could think of a personal mission statement.  His personal mission statement, "do what you gotta do, to do what you want to do."


Day 227 - Natalie and Kate


Natalie (left) and Kate (right) were one of the few people at Mt. Tabor Park on Tuesday.  The rain kept most people away, so we practically had the park to ourselves.

The happiest thing happening in their lives right now:  Natalie, "I'm on spring break from engineering grad school." Kate, "I'm super excited to be healthy and able to enjoy the weather."

I asked Natalie and Kate if they had performed an act of kindness. Natalie helped a friend move, and Kate said that she was nice to somebody when she didn't have to be.  We talked about that a little more...how when somebody wrongs us, it's not easy to take the high road and let things go, but it's the right thing to do when we can do it.

Natalie and Kate were both quick with an answer when I asked if they had a personal mission statement or if they could think of one.  Natalie replied, "live in the moment."  Kate replied, "survive and thrive."

After we had taken the picture and I asked the "interview" questions, Natalie and Kate turned the tables on me and caught me completely off guard. They asked me a tough question and now I'm determined to work on the answer.  After asking a few questions about the project, they asked what I've learned, and what I've taken away from the project.  I could only think of two quick answers but I'm going to compile a list in order to write an entirely separate post when the project is finished.  After working on something for an entire year, this is something I must do and I'm thankful that Natalie and Kate made me realize that I need to start organizing my thoughts. I have a take-away nearly every single day, but I hadn't thought to sit down to actually articulate all that I've learned from this project.


Day 228 - Patrick and Polly


Patrick and Polly were taking a little walk at Mt. Tabor.

You've probably noticed by now that I've been spending a lot of time there lately.  My friend and I hit the Mt. Tabor stairs after work, as training for the Race for the Roses Half Marathon which is in a couple of weeks.  Although the location is the same, there are new and interesting people there every day.

I asked Patrick about the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "a deeper relationship with myself."  When I asked if he had performed an act of kindness, he didn't give the specifics, but he said kindness is sort of his motto, so he thinks he's performed acts of kindness.  Patrick's impromptu personal mission statement, "to be true to myself and true to others."


Day 229 - The Long Family


This is Mr. and Mrs. Long and they had just finished their workout at Tabor when I asked if I could take their picture for the project. They are about the sweetest lovey-dovey couple you could meet!

I asked about the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and Mr. Long replied, "we're going on the right track in our relationship with God.  We put God first in everything we do."  Mrs. Long added to that, saying she's also happy about "weight loss, and our anniversary."  The Longs will celebrate their 1-year anniversary next week!  Before telling me how many years they had been married, they asked if I could guess. I totally called it! I guessed this would be their first anniversary because they were still acting like newlyweds.

The Long's recent act of kindness is that they had met a man who just really needed someone to talk and listen to him.  The man was in tears but they just listened to his story and now the man is going to attend Church with them on Sunday!

The Longs wanted to pass along information about an event happening at their Church, Highland Christian Center.  There's a not-to-be-missed play happening on Saturday, April 5th at 4pm.  


Day 230 - Frank and Jo Jo


This is Frank (left) and Jo Jo (right).  This was such an awkward shot, given our positions, but Frank and Jo Jo  agreed to let me take their picture for the project.

I asked about the happiest thing happening in their lives and Frank is happy about his March Madness Bracket. He's currently positioned to win about $800!  Jo Jo is happy that his sons are "becoming their own personalities and finding themselves."

I asked the men if they had performed an act of kindness. Frank assisted a disabled Vietnam Vet by opening doors for him and helping him to get into his car safely.  Jo Jo said that he bought a guy a beer and enjoyed his good conversation.

Both Frank and Jo Jo were  ready with a quick response when I asked if they had a personal mission statement or if they could think of one on the spot.  Frank replied, "it ain't bragging if you can do it!"  Jo Jo replied, "to be better today, than I was yesterday."


Day 231 - Cassandra, Norris, Nanuk and Cotton


Wow, do they make a great pack or what?  I had been sitting at the park for quite a while, looking for a subject. I was almost ready to give up and go elsewhere to find a subject but just then, I spotted Cassandra and her dogs.  I knew it was going to be tough to get a good picture of them all, but I just couldn't resist!

Cassandra walks all three dogs with the same ease and control as one would walk just a single  well-trained dog.  Although all three dogs were quite well-trained, they would have much rather been walking than sitting still for a picture.

The happiest thing happening in Cassandra's life right now, is that she and Cotton are training for him to be a therapy dog. (Cotton is the one closest to her, on her right.)  She's already taken the class and now Cotton is in the training program.  When I asked Cassandra if she's performed an act of kindness, she said that she couldn't think of anything but she likes to talk and listen to strangers.  I reminded her that she let me take her picture and that was an act of kindness, and also she and Cotton will soon be performing acts of kindness together.

When I asked Cassandra if she had, or could think of, a personal mission statement, she replied, "find your happiness."

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

  • "To be involved with the community, to make this world and people more consciously aware of day to day life to live more fully."
  • "Do what you gotta do, to do what you want to do."
  • "Live in the moment."
  • "Survive and thrive."
  • "To be true to myself and true to others."
  • "It ain't bragging if you can do it!"
  •  "To be better today, than I was yesterday."
  • "Find your happiness."

That's it for week 33!

Thank you for spending another week with me and the project!

If you've been a subject in this project, I can't say enough how much I appreciate you!  Thank you for taking a moment out of your day to help me with this project! If you would like a copy of your picture, please don't hesitate to e-mail me and I'd be happy to e-mail it to you!

Thanks again!  Wishing you a great week and that you'll "find your happiness!"

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 15

Week 15 of the 365 Day Picture Project is now complete! If you're just checking in for the first time, this project is just a challenge I've given myself.  I'm not a photographer.  This is all very new to me and I'm just learning as I go along.

The challenge is to take a picture of a person, every day, for a year.  Each picture is taken fresh daily.  I'm not stockpiling pictures.  The majority of the subjects have been strangers but also included are co-workers, friends and family.

I post the pictures daily to Instagram and if you'd like to follow along, my username is @missellanea and the project is tagged #365daypeoplepictureproject.

Day 99 - Jessica

day 99 - 365 Day People Picture Project

I found the person of the day fairly early on Sunday but I hadn't sat down to Instagram the picture until I was nearly ready for bed. Once I looked at the pictures, I was shocked at how badly I had blown it!  I had to change back out of my jammies in order to go back out into the world to find another subject.

I ventured as far as the convenience store down the street.  I was so happy when I pulled into the parking lot and could make out an interesting-looking person working at the counter.  I approached the register, told Jessica about the project, and she agreed to be day 99.

When I asked Jessica about the happiest thing going on in her life right now,  she replied, "hmmm, what's the date today?"  I thought it was cute that she had taken the question so seriously.  After determining the date, she then said, "today is my 4 month anniversary."  She and her husband were married exactly 4 moths earlier.

Day 100 - Malcolm

 Day 100 - 365 Day People Picture Project

We hit triple digits on Monday!  This felt like a huge milestone for me, even though we still have a long way to go to get 365 days. I wanted an extra special picture to mark 100 days.  I left early that morning so that I could take my time and find a subject before work.  Traffic derailed my good intentions, so I was going to have to look for a subject after work, in the dark.

When I left work that evening, I was trying to think where I could go to find someone, when suddenly, Malcolm comes walking down the sidewalk.  Yay!  There isn't a ton of foot traffic around my work so I was so happy to see someone and I'm glad that someone was Malcolm.

He was wearing headphones, so again, I had to work hard to get his attention.  I think I startled him!  I explained the project and he agreed without hesitation.

I asked Malcolm the best thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "music." Malcolm is a musician and he had just had a show that weekend.  He's happy whenever he gets to make music and since he's busy making music, he's happy. Keep an eye and an ear out for Wamba and 1000 Fuegos.  Malcolm is involved with both bands.

Day 101 - Curt

day 101 -365 day people picture project

I was driving down the street, looking for a subject, when I looked over and saw Curt unlocking his bike on the sidewalk.  As fate would have it, he was very close to a parking space that was long enough for me to land in.  (yes, I've had to miss out on a few subjects because I'm such a terrible parallel-parker!)

When I approached Curt to be day 101, he agreed but then hesitated, asking if his picture would be on a site that he would be "ashamed of."  My poor feelings were crushed for a split second as I was thinking that my blog has beginner written all over it,  but I wouldn't say it was anything to be "ashamed of." My initial reaction to his question was was that he would check out the blog and call me out on needing  to spruce things up a bit with a graphic designer/web designer and that he would be ashamed of being on my work-in-progress blog. I laughed and was relieved when I realized that he meant that he didn't want to be on some sort of "People of Walmart" site where they're actually making fun of you and if your picture ends up on that site, you've basically been shamed.

When I asked Curt the best think happening in his life right now, he replied "finding his girlfriend."  They've been together 6 months and she's treating him well.  I loved to watch him talk about his girlfriend because I could see the sparkle in his eyes and I could just see the happiness on his face.  He's also happy because he has his first solo art show coming up.

Did you notice…NO GLASSES GLARE!!!  Progress!

Day 102 - Brandy


Brandy and I work in the same neighborhood. We've known each other for about 10 years.

I stopped by her work to ask if she would be in the project. I could tell she really wanted to say no, but she's just too nice! I think she and I are of the same mindset.  If a friend asked if they could take my picture, I'd really want to help them, but I'd be so conflicted because of how intensely I dislike having my picture taken.  I'm glad Brandy let me take her picture.

Brandy and I were giggling so much because I had just watched Peter Hurley's new "It's all about the Squinch" video and I was excited to implement this new technique.  Our attempt at the "squinch" was more blink meets scrunch, but at least we were having fun!

I forgot to ask Brandy the question!  I'm just going to have to do my best to give you the answer I think she would give.  Brandy has a great group of friends. She's always out camping or having a fabulous home-cooked dinner with her friends.

Day 103 - Guy #1, Mysterious Shadow, Guy #3, and Dave


I bumped into these guys on the sidewalk and asked if they would be in my project.  They were all in!  As soon as I asked, I realized I may be in over my head. I've only taken "group photos" one other time and it wasn't pretty.

These guys were a blast!  They had me cracking up the whole time! I made some mistakes but given that I don't know how to take a good group picture and I was laughing and having too much fun, we did okay.

I will learn from my mistakes and will know better next time.  I was so concerned with making sure that Dave fit in the frame, that I nearly cut out Guy #1 on several of the shots.  I could have filled the frame a little better, but I'll know next time.

The best thing happening in their lives right now:

Guy #1 - I'm just going to paraphrase and say that he's traveling.  We had a complicated conversation that can be simplified by saying that he's happy about traveling.

Dark Shadow - He was happy they were on their way to get something to eat!

Guy 3 - "Being on the West Coast."  I should have asked where these guys were from, but I was cracking up and forgot to do my job properly!

Dave - "Getting engaged."  Dave had just recently proposed to his fiancé!

Day 104 - Julie


I made arrangements with Anne to meet up again on Friday.  When I arrived, she wasn't there but I ran into Scott from day 83.  I think Scott was working to take Anne's place as my friday night Talent Scout assistant.  Within minutes, he had found 3 or 4 subjects for me to choose from.

I decided the week needed another woman, so Scott then asked his friend Julie to be in the project.   Gosh!  This was an "easy" day!  Scott did all of the work for me!

Julie dreams of owning her own restaurant someday.  When I asked about the best thing happening in her life right now, she replied, "being single" and her "two kids."

Julie was a natural.  I ended up with a couple pictures that looked more like ads in a magazine!  I opted to show you this picture instead, because the others were a little too posed.

Day 105 - Debbie


Debbie is one of my dearest friends.  It was her birthday last night and we all went out to celebrate.

We've known each other over half our lives and she was a huge influence on my life.  I learned the meaning of work ethic from Debbie and my Mom.  Debbie has been working since the day I met her. I don't think it was my parents who told me in high school that I needed to go out and get a job - I'm pretty sure it was Debbie!

It was also Debbie who taught me to do your best, work hard, then once you're finished with work, go out and do your best to play hard too!

Debbie  has turned into quite the cook!  So much so, that I keep encouraging her (borderline obnoxiously pushing her) to start her own cooking blog some day.  She already has the domain name and everything, it's just a matter of time. (Which I can completely understand.)  I recently had to send her an urgent text because I had misplaced the recipe she had given me for her perfect Alfredo sauce.  It had been so long since I made it, I had forgotten the proper amount of ingredients and the order in which to cook them.  Debbie gave me the quick instructions and then gave explicit direction to "love the sauce."  That's why she's such an excellent cook!  She really does add love to her meals, and then she feeds it to us. That explains why I always leave her place with a full belly and a full heart.

We really had to work hard to get a picture.  I wanted to get a perfect picture for her birthday and Debbie had also given me the expectation that she wanted me to take the very best picture that had ever been taken of her in her entire life.  No pressure or anything!!  I think we were both demanding a lot from ourselves and it resulted in a lot of laughs, a little bit of the scoldings that you can only say to a best friend, and the best picture ever taken of our other friend Becki, Debbie's step sister Jenny, and just about anyone else there, except for Debbie!  I'm just kidding, we did actually end up with a few nice pictures.  My favorite picture that I've ever taken (below) is actually one of Debbie and Becki together. My two best friends, together, laughing. It was a perfect day.

Debbie and Becki, Bff's

Part of the reason that Debbie and I were having so much difficulty in getting a picture last night, is that not only did I want her to work the "sqinch", but I also wanted her to give me the "slightly curious turtle" which is the name I've given for Peter Hurley's other technique that I picked up from his video, "It's all about the Jawline."  

We were "squinching" and "slightly curious turtling" and laughing and laughing!  I was basically using my poor dear friend as practice on how to direct future subjects. We do much better together when I'm just getting candids rather than giving her any direction. In our relationship, I'm not the director and Debbie isn't the follow-the-directionser.  It is the opposite!

In the midst of all of our silliness, I remembered to ask Debbie about the happiest thing going on in her life right now. Her response, "this…this right now is what makes me happy."  She was surrounded by friends and family and we all love her!  If someone would have asked me that same question at that moment, my response would have been the very same thing.

Moving into next week, I'm going to continue practicing the "squinch."  Peter Hurley is amazing and he presents things in such a way that it makes you believe you could actually learn to take nice pictures.  He's dynamic and energetic and I get a huge boost of enthusiasm just watching his videos. Here's his newest video. Even if you're not interested in learning how to take better pictures of others, this video is an excellent tip on how to "give" better pictures!  Plus, you'll be able to spot the "squinch" in future subjects and in other photos you see.


Thank you for continuing to follow along!  I know your time is valuable and it is an honor that you've shared a little bit of that time with me and this project.

If you've been a subject in this project, thank you.  Thank you for your time, thank you for being you, and thank you for sharing your beautiful self with us.

Have a great week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 14

Week 14 of the 365 Day People Picture Project feels like it flew by in a flash, even though my goal was to spend more time with each subject in the hopes of learning a glimpse of their lives and sharing it with you. The same friend who had given me the suggestion last week to write more about each person, followed up with me this week with an idea on how to actually implement this. Having reached the same conclusion myself, I knew we were both on the right track.  Randy suggested that I should think of a few go-to questions and have them in my mind and at the ready.  I told him that I was thinking the same thing and the question that I was going to use for the week would be, "what is the happiest/best thing happening in your life right now?"

I started the week eager to learn about the best thing happening in the lives of the next 6 people in this project. (I didn't get to ask this question of Sunday's subject because, well, you'll see in a moment.) Having a canned question may seem artificial but it's quite the contrary.  Being prepared with a question has the potential to lead to a very organic interaction.

Some of the interactions this week were still quite brief, even with my "canned question," but I'm going to continue with this idea as it seems the only logical way to smooth over the interaction I have with each subject. It gives me a little more confidence to be able to interact with each person and because I'm prepared and confident, each subject will also feel confident and more at ease in the conversation.  Although the question is "canned," each interaction will be organic and unique to each person.


Day 92 - Dr. Tram

Day 92 365 Day People Picture Project

I love that my Dentist is open on evenings and weekends!  Knowing I would be seeing the dentist over the weekend, I had been envisioning this picture in my mind since the day I made the appointment.  My normal Dentist had the day off and this was my first time seeing Dr. Tram, but she was still cool and paused long enough to let me take her picture.

The shiny, blurry thing in the right corner is a mirror.  I'll tell ya…this shot was a lot more difficult in real life than I envisioned it being in my mind!  And, for obvious reasons, Dr. Tram and I didn't get to visit much about anything other than the business at hand.

Day 93 - Troy

Day 93 365 Day People Picture Project

This is Troy from Kansas.  Troy is a new co-worker.  I noticed he was at work well after he normally gets off his shift.  He was working on some personal things and it gave me the perfect opportunity to learn a little about the new guy.  (I think I've mentioned before, we're pretty good about keeping on-task at work so unless we spend time outside of work, we don't always learn a whole lot about each other.)

Troy is a graphic designer.  He wanted to move to Portland because of the skateboard and snowboard scene which Portland is well known for.  He googled "screen printers in Portland" and then basically began to stalk us!  I love his persistence and determination!  With so many people looking for work, it is easy for your resume to get lost among hundreds of other applicants.

Troy was persistent, followed up several times and eventually caught the attention of the owner and production manager and he's now part of our team!  (Although, not in the art department.) That's the awesome thing about Troy…he wanted to move to Portland and work with us, so he took the one job available which was in the screen reclaim department.  Although it is critical to the function of the entire company, it is not a glamorous job and it's one of the most difficult jobs in the entire process of screen printing.  But it was a start and it enabled him to make the move.

He's since moved into the Ink Department where he helps mixes the colors for every single job that gets printed.  Although he's not yet utilizing his skill as a designer, all of this experience will make him a better and stronger designer in the future.  I just love that he was willing to do whatever it took in order to move to Portland.  When I asked him the best thing happening right now, he replied "I got a car, a new job, and I'm enjoying Portland!"


Day 94 - "Like a Fox"

365 Day People Picture Project Day 94

This was an off-day. "Like a Fox" was a great subject and he saved the night because he was actually a "plan b."  I had been rejected 2 times before finding a great subject.  We were seriously on-the-go when I took his picture because he was running late for a dinner appointment. After he left, I realized that every picture I had taken was unflattering.  I managed to catch him blinking in every single picture.  We laughed because I knew a few of the pictures were mid-blink and he even told me he blinks a lot!  I thought I captured a good one, but I was mistaken.

So, I went back on the hunt again.  I got my third rejection for the night and was feeling defeated and that's when I found "Like a Fox."  He happily agreed to let me take his picture as he was waiting for his bus.

When I asked him the best thing happening right now, he replied, "I just paid off my pre-order for the new Xbox One."  (which are due out on November 22nd.)  His "Like a Fox" name is actually his online name.  I told him I had just heard in the news that due to an error, some people had already been shipped the new Xbox and maybe he was one of those people.  I don't think you're supposed to give a gamer that sort of false hope. For a split second, I could tell that he was processing the possibility of whether or not he could be one of those lucky people who received their shipment early.

When I got home, I realized that all of "Like a Fox's" pictures were showing a little glasses glare.  I was so bummed!  I had one picture which had the potential to be among my favorites so far, except for the darn glare!  I don't know how to edit the photo to fix the glare and I'm learning that glasses glare is  a big challenge that I need to learn how to compensate for.  This was the least problematic picture I had taken. (I really wish I could have shared the other one with you.)

In spite of the glare, I hope you can get a feel for how nice "Like a Fox" comes across. He may be "Like a Fox" in online gaming, but in real life, he's more "like a puppy."


Day 95 - Taylor and John

 365 Day People Picture Project Day 95

I have to admit, this was one of the days where I felt like abandoning the project.  Training for, and completing, 4 marathons has taught me one thing…I know how to quiet the negative thoughts of self-doubt and when those thoughts tell me that I should stop, I've learned how to push myself to keep going.  So, somehow I found myself out on the street and looking for a subject even though I was ready to call it quits.

This was another interaction that was simply meant to be.  As it would turn out, Taylor is a real photographer!  She's even done her own 365 Day Project!  She was full of helpful tips and encouragement and meeting her and John was perfect! They were also waiting for a bus so our time was brief but in that short amount of time, Taylor was so helpful and she gave me the boost I needed. I loved watching her talk about photography.  I could see the flicker in her eye as she spoke…it's something she's truly passionate about.  And, I appreciated that she didn't think less of me, or dismiss me, for being such an amateur.

When I asked Taylor and John the best thing happening in their lives, Taylor replied that she had had a great day because she spent it in the darkroom.  John's reply, "doughnuts!"  I like John's thinking!

Day 96 - Tony

365 Day People Picture Project Day 96

This is Tony.  He was waiting for the MAX train to arrive.  This is one of my favorite pictures so far, and if I had snapped it just a fraction of a second later - the lights from the train would have been closer and I would have been able to better capture the "impending" and "temporary" feeling that we were experiencing.

Tony was  the second time this week that had to resort to "plan B".  After another two rejections, I had found a great subject who was on his way to band rehearsal at his church.  Luckily, I checked the pictures after he hopped on his train. I had failed.  This time, it was a combination of glasses-glare + blinking failure.  Dang, glasses are tough!  (Glasses and hats!)

After failing the first subject, I wandered around the MAX and bus stop in search of the next person.  I spotted Tony.  When I approached him, he was wearing ear phones so I had to work to get his attention to explain the project.   He agreed to let me take his picture so I started snapping away.

Knowing that I had to be quick, I asked him questions as I was taking his picture.  I was eagerly anticipating his answers to the  "what's the best thing happening in your life" question, but first I asked his name and if there's anything I could promote.  Just as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I could see the light from the train approaching us.  I interrupted my own question and asked if it was his train.  He confirmed that it was.

I knew I had a usable picture so I put the camera down and awaited his response as the train pulled into the station.  He was still giving me his attention as he slowly started to walk away to board the MAX, when he said, "peace, love and happiness…that's what I want to promote." And with that, he was gone and I was sad. I wanted more time. I wanted to learn the best thing happening in his life right now.

Day 97 - Makenzie

365 Day People Picture Project

I'm starting to look forward to my Friday routine of meeting my friend Anne at Charlie's. It's still challenging to get a subject, but at least I know I'll be in someplace dry and warm and I'll have a friend close by to be with me as long as it takes to find someone.

As soon as I walked in, I spotted Makenzie.  She's another girl who's pretty impossible to miss.  I was torn if I should ask her because she was at a table with several friends and right behind her was a table of  a few of my favorite subjects - scruffy bearded guys who make for a great black & white. I know I need to push myself beyond my go-to black & white picture of scruffy bearded guy, and I also wanted to have one more girl for this week, so I decided that I would ask Makenzie to be day 97.

I interrupted her table, which is always awkward, and quickly gave my spiel. She agreed to be day 97 and among her friends, I could have several more subjects!  We laughed as we tried to decide if she was going to get her picture alone, or with one of her friends.

Makenzie has her own business and it's quite interesting. She's an esthetician and provides in-home waxing service!  I should have guessed this as she and her friends are the best-browed group of people in all of Vancouver.  (Even her guy friends!)  She obviously does great work!

When I asked about the best thing happening for her right now, she replied "working and waxing."  She went on to explain that she had just experienced a break-up that very same day, so concentrating on her work is helping her to be happy.  Gosh, you just never know what people are dealing with.  Makenzie put on a happy face and beautiful smile, surrounded herself with her great friends and was trying to make the best of things, even though she was probably feeling broken-hearted.  I loved her style, but I truly admire her attitude and approach to dealing with a sad time for her.  She still managed to light up the room, even though she was feeling down.

Makenzie is a class act and a beautiful girl  I didn't even do her justice in this picture.

Day 98 - Tim

365 Day People Picture Project

My friends and I, all 8 of us, made a coffee stop at Brewed this afternoon.  Having basically slammed them them with all of our orders, I used the wait as an opportunity to find a subject.  I found Tim in the corner of the coffee shop. He was working away on something that looked extremely complex. Even without my glasses, I was able to glance down and see that the paper in front of him had some sort of hand-drawn diagram and complicated notes and possibly even math formulas.  Tim said he was in the coffee shop, catching up on some work.

When I asked Tim about the happiest thing going on in his life, his response was quick and certain, "my 1-year-old kid."  I don't know what Tim was working on, but he also wanted to promote the importance of supporting local businesses.


That's it for week 14!  We're going to hit the triple digits next week!  Woohoo!  I now often use a marathon as my yardstick for many other things in life.  When I compare the progress of the 365 Day People Picture Project to distance of a marathon, basically, we're almost to mile 8.  Still a long ways to go, but we've already covered some respectable distance.

If you remember last week, I was pretty touched by Nancy and Stephen.  Part of the "risk" of making a connection with someone is that when you do, they leave a little mark on your head and your heart and once you make that connection, it's impossible to sever. This has all been a little heavy for me to process.  Making a connection is work…opening up, letting someone in, them letting me in, taking a picture, and then trying to let go.   Even though I may never see these people again, I now still wonder about them, and wish them health and happiness.

I'm gong to continue to use the "what's the best thing happening in your life right now," question for this upcoming week.  I want to learn about good things happening for people,  Even if it is something as simple as doughnuts and Xboxes.  I love hearing about people and the ability to find happiness even in simple joys.  Can you think of any questions that would be great to add to the list of questions for potential subjects? What are you wanting to learn about them?

Thank you for spending this time with me and sharing in this project!  Have you started a project of your own?

If you have been a subject, thank you.  Thank you for being you and for letting me take your picture. You've touched my heart. Forever.

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 13

Can you believe it?  We're three months into the 365 Day People Picture Project!  Week 13 was feeling a little hollow as I was mentally preparing the summary that I wanted to share with you, but it ended on both a happy and heavy note. My co-worker and friend, Randy, remarked that he likes it when I share more information about each subject.  I agree with him!  I explained to him that I don't always learn a whole lot about the subjects in this project. Some of the interactions have been so brief, they're mere seconds.  It is for this reason that week 13 was feeling a little incomplete.  I didn't do a nice job of really connecting with each person and the majority of the interactions with this week's subjects were quite short.   That lack of a connection not only makes for a short read, but it also has a huge impact on whether or not I can truly catch someone's sparkle.

When I'm trying to take a picture, it is my responsibility to temporarily suspend anything that is on my mind so that my single focus is on the person before me.  Over time and with a lot of hard work,  I will eventually learn the technical skills of photography.  The skill that is critical for my progress right now, is the ability to let go of everything else and engage with each subject.  We have to connect.


Day 85 - Jeffery and his nephew, Matt

365 day people picture project day 85

Jeffery and Matt were walking down the street when I chased them down to ask if they would let me take their picture.  I know they look like tough guys but they were both soft-spoken and quite gentlemanly.


Day 86 - Virgil

365 day people picture project day 86

The Broadway Cigar Company is near my work and I've often wondered what it's like inside. I've also been thinking it could be a great resource for potential subjects.  I decided Monday would be the day that I explore the shop and introduce myself to ask if I could come back in the future.  When I walked in, Virgil raised his eyebrows in surprise…I don't think they get very many women visitors.

I explained that I wasn't there for cigars, but rather to ask a favor. I explained the project to Virgil and he obliged my request to be day 86.  He gave me the names of the owners, so I might just be back in touch. I just know the shop must get all kinds of interesting customers who would be great subjects!  I felt a little like I was intruding on a secret men's club - so I would definitely want to get permission before a return visit.

Day 87 - David 

365 Day People Picture Project - Day 87

David is the 3rd Plaid Pantry person in this project.  Plaid Pantry is a chain of convenience stores in Portland and I don't think I've ever met a Plaid Pantry worker that I didn't like. The employees are always pretty cool people.  The challenge with each of the three, is that I've had to work quickly to get the picture before any customers are ready to check out.


Day 88 - Tim

365 Day People Picture Project Day 87

It was a dark and stormy night.  I mean, it really was a dark and stormy night!  I started my commute home and was really starting to stress about finding a subject in the rain. I didn't want to hit the mall but I just couldn't think of anyplace else to find a subject.  As I was sitting in traffic, I realized I was right next to a Les Schwab Tire Center.  Les Schwab is known for their amazing customer service. When you pull into a Les Schwab, they come running out to your car to help you!  I'm not making this up - they actually run to you! (ok, so it's technically more like a trot.)

It couldn't have been more perfect - all I would have to do is pull into the parking lot and my subject would come running out to greet me!  It felt a little like cheating but I decided to give it a try since there were no cars in the lot and it was shortly before closing time.  Sure enough, the moment I pulled in, Tim came running/trotting out to help me! I explained I was actually stopping by for a strange favor and Tim was happy to help with the project.

Day 89 - Natasha

365 Day People Picture Project Day 89

Natasha is the new owner of the Nectar Cafe, in the Hollywood District.   She makes a perfect Americano!  I stopped by for the caffeine but left having also found a great subject for the day.  This coffee shop is so cozy, I just wanted to hang out and be still for a while.

Day 90 - Matt

365 Day People Picture Project Day 90

I maintained the new Friday routine of meeting my friend Anne to hunt for a subject at Charlie's.   I was having trouble finding just the right person and then I discovered Matt. He was playing pool with his friends.  I approached Matt's table and asked if he would be willing to help me with my picture project.  Matt was bashful but his friend wasn't!  His friend told me, "yes, he'll do it!"

Matt asked a few questions about the project and seemed genuinely interested in how it came about and how it was moving along.  Although he was bashful at first, it quickly felt like Matt was just a friend I hadn't met yet.  I was enjoying our talk because he's just the kind of person you'd want to hang out with.  Although Matt was one person who I was afforded the time to actually connect with, we were still having problems getting the shot.

Even though we were having a nice conversation, when it came time to take the picture…we were both nervous!  He's as nervous to have his picture taken as I am when I ask someone if I can take their picture!  He wanted direction from me, but I still lack the confidence and skill to direct someone on how to "give" the picture that I'd like to take.

There's so much to learn!  In addition to the technical skills of photography, I also need to learn how to put people at ease.   I need to gain confidence and learn how to "direct" a subject on how to move if they're feeling uncomfortable or unsure of what to do.  Once we're both comfortable and confident, then we will end up with a picture we both love.  I want people to look at their picture and feel good about themselves.


Day 91 - Nancy and her dog, Patty

365 Day People Picture Project day 91

I spotted Nancy and Patty in the park, just as Patty bolted away from Nancy and gave chase to a squirrel.  I wasn't going to ask Nancy to be a subject because she looked like she had her hands full with her little squirrel hunter but after walking around the park for a while, I decided they were meant to be day 91.

Nancy happily agreed to a picture before I even finished my spiel.  The first thing she said was, "I'm not very photogenic but Patty is!"  Nancy turned out to be quite photogenic, but there wasn't a thing I could do to win Patty's attention away from the squirrel.

365 Day People Picture Project

After I've taken a person's picture, I often ask them if there's anything they would like me to promote on my blog. (such as their business, band, art, their own blog, etc.) Nancy responded, "I want to promote peace, love, forgiveness, tolerance, and to be kind to animals."     She then went on to say that "as you get older, you realize that nothing else really matters. When you reach the end of your life, the only thing you really have is the relationships you had with others."  Nancy's sister died a few years ago.  Near the end of her sister's life, they had to move her from her beautiful home and into a care facility.  When her sister moved into the facility, the belongings she had accumulated over her entire lifetime had to be pared down to just one box.  The experience caused Nancy to realize the importance of relationships over any material possessions.

I thanked Nancy and was on my way, but my mind was still deep in thought about everything Nancy had said.  I've been feeling the same way for several years now.  I think we can't help but reach that realization as we reach the age when we have more years behind us than we, potentially, have in front of us.  I was holding back tears once again.  I was touched and impacted not only by the content of Nancy's words, but also because of our interaction…our connection.  Another woman I had just met, opened up and shared a difficult experience and the weight of everything she said just hit me all at once.

And then…

Day 91 Bonus - Stephen and BeBee Baby

365 Day People Picture Project

I  was still writing down notes from my conversation with Nancy as I was waiting for the crosswalk signal to change and when I looked up, there was Stephen. He asked what I was reading and I said that I was just taking notes.  He wanted to know what kind of notes, so I explained the project.  I asked if he would be my "bonus" for today and he agreed, saying, "I love to have my picture taken!"

Stephen was just a character! He said he lived in Hollywood many years ago and he's been in a few movies, as an extra.  He then told me that he was related to "Lewis."  Having just talked about Hollywood, I thought he meant Jerry Lewis but he corrected me that it was "Meriwether Lewis, you know, Lewis and Clark."  I believe Stephen.

Stephen and BeBee Baby had just come from the grocery store and PetCo.  I looked in the basket and could see that BeBee Baby was sitting on top of a few groceries.  Unless there's a PetCo that I don't know about, the closest store is a few miles away so the two of them had quite the ride!  Stephen assured me that BeBee Baby was secured in her basket.

Stephen and I visited a while longer before saying good-bye.  I had already been holding back the tears from my interaction with Nancy and after saying good-bye to Stephen, I couldn't hold them back any longer.  I hoped Stephen and BeBee Baby would be ok.  I hoped they are having a nice life.  I hoped that Stephen has relationships with still-living family and friends.  And then I thought, what matters most to Stephen may not even take up an entire box - perhaps what matters most to Stephen was right there in the basket in front of me. His Be Bee Baby.

Thank you for following along with me and this challenge.  These 91 people, and Stephen the bonus, are changing my life and I can't wait to see what the next 9 months bring.  I hope that you're enjoying this as much as much as I.  I'll work harder at trying to get to know people a little better and then I'll do my best to report that back to you.

If you've been a subject in this project - thank you. Thank you for your time, and thank you for your kindness.

Have a great week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 12

Week 12 of the 365 Day People Picture Project ended on a high note - I achieved one small goal. (More about that in a bit.)   Although I'm pleased that I made a tiny bit of progress, I'm also feeling nervous that I may be in over my head. We "fall back" tonight and with the time change, I will lose the daylight hours after work when I normally walk the stairs at the park, both for fitness and also to find subjects for this project.  I want to succeed.  I didn't challenge myself to an 84-day-project or an until-it-gets-too-difficult-to-find-subjects project.  I want all 365 days!  I said I was going to do something, and I want to finish what I've challenged myself to do.

I should explain to you why I'm so nervous because you may be reading this and wondering why I'm making such a big deal of things.  I leave for work between 6:45 - 7:15 am and work till 5:03 pm, or later.  My commute to work is a lot of freeway, and then about 3 miles of Sandy Blvd. in Portland.  The only people on Sandy Blvd at that time of morning are people who are waiting for the bus, or people who wouldn't appreciate being approached by someone who wants to talk their picture.  My work is in an area of Portland that, although densely populated with residences and businesses, doesn't get a lot of foot traffic.  There are areas in Portland that are rich with interesting people and at any moment of the day, the sidewalks are filled with potential subjects.  Our office is not in one of those places.

The reason I'm nervous is that I'm now going to have to work hard to seek out those interesting places in town and I'll have to do it in the dark and cold. People aren't as happy and willing to pause to let a complete stranger take their picture when it's dark and miserable outside.  Now, the real challenge begins.


Day 78 - Dion

365 Day People Picture Project - Day 78

Dion just finished his mountain bike ride when I arrived at the trail. It was raining and he was trying to shed his outer layer of wet clothes when I approached him to be day 78.


Day 79 - Griffin

365 Day People Picture Project - Day 80

Griffin is the cousin of one of my co-workers.  I spotted a group of guys walking down the sidewalk as I was driving and knew that was my opportunity to find a subject for the day.  As I was debating on whether or not to turn around, I realized that I knew one of them - we're co-workers! I turned my car around and stopped them at the store.  I approached my co-worker, who I never get to talk to at work, and explained the project.  He volunteered his cousin to be day 79.  (I wanted to save my co-worker for a rainy day. Literally.)


Day 80 - Anonymous Guy at the Park (with a dog, but I failed again.)

365 Day People Picture Project - Day 80

Are you keeping track?  How many person-with-dog pictures have I failed?  I think we're now at number 7!  The last two have been so awful that I haven't even had anything to show you!  It's ok, we're just getting started.  Maybe by the end of this project, I will know exactly how to direct a dog and its person to be picture perfect, and then I will have learned how to take the damn picture!

I missed the picture but I had a nice chat with this guy and learned a lot about the breed of his dog and the origin of the Labradoodle.


Day 81 - Lee

365 Day People Picture Project - Day 81

It's been a while since I've been in to see Lee but she is one of the team of people that it takes to keep me looking somewhat-presentable.  She works magic on my brows.  I don't know how she does it, but she manages to make my 4 thin little eyebrow hairs look like I have normal brows.


Day 82 - "The Dude"  (Seth)

365 Day People Picture Project - day 82

The Dude

I knew Seth would be in to pick up his order on Halloween and I was hoping that he would be in costume.  I anticipated that he would be dressed as Bigfoot because he's about 6'5" (maybe even 6'7") and Bigfoot is sort of the mascot of his company, but he did not disappoint when he showed up as "The Dude."


Day 83 - Scott

365 Day People Picture Project - Day 83

I reached a small goal with Scott.  Earlier this week, I had reviewed all of the #365daypeoplepictureproject photos on my Instagram. I was pretty disappointed in myself.  Other than just a few, I didn't feel like I had taken any truly nice pictures.  As I evaluated the pictures, I thought that they weren't even good enough for the majority of the subjects to even use as their Facebook profile picture.  (if given the opportunity.)  There were a few that I could imagine my subjects using as a Facebook profile picture, but for the most part - my pictures weren't nice.  I have beautiful sparkly subjects and I wasn't capturing it.

Since starting this project, I've taken on my own independent study of photography.  There are thousands of amazing photographers who share their knowledge online.  I study their blogs and their online videos and although I'm beginning to learn a few things, it has also been very discouraging. These people are just amazing. I am not.  I've questioned that maybe I'm just not "artistic." I will never be as good as the people I'm studying.  I think I've been taking in so much information that I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and defeated.

I decided to break it down all simple-like.  I need to take what I'm learning and do my best to process that information and in order not to become too overwhelmed, I simply set a tiny little objective to capture a picture that so nice that my subject would like it enough to make it their Facebook profile picture.  I don't think it could be any more simple than this.  I want to capture a person's sparkle and I want for them to like the image that I've captured.

Friday night, I decided that I was just going to plan on meeting Anne to find a subject instead of sending her an unplanned SOS text telling her I needed someone to take a picture of!   She was way ahead of me.  She had already volunteered Scott and briefed him that he was going to be in my little project.

Scott was a stranger to me but I got to know him a little by eavesdropping on his conversation with his friend.  Scott was showing his friend some camera-phone pictures of actual paintings that Scott had done in a painting class.  His friend was so encouraging and supportive of his work but Scott dismissed it, basically saying that he wasn't a painter.  I asked if I could look at his work and I was blown away!  Scott is an amazing artist!  I was inspired by Scott and his desire to learn painting technique. He's quite good!  I thought, there's hope for me yet.  I just need to work on it.  Just like Scott is taking classes to learn technique, I also need to take classes to learn technique.

When I got home to prepare Scott's picture to be Instagrammed, I realized - it's one of my favorites!  Scott was a great subject and I didn't screw it up!  I got a good picture!  I texted Anne the picture and told her I loved how it turned out.  She liked it as well.  I didn't realize that Anne was still with Scott.   A little while later, I looked down on my phone and saw that I had a Facebook friend request notification.  You know how exciting that is!  I quickly opened Facebook to see who wanted to be "friends" and I immediately recognized the profile picture of the requestor as the photo I had just taken! It was Scott!!!  He used the picture I had taken of him as his profile picture.  I know this is so silly, but it made my week!   All I want is to be able to take a picture of a person and for them to like it. I did it!


Day 84 - Erin

365 Day People Picture Project

I was on a mission in the mall this morning when Erin and her coworker passed by me.  I quickly turned around and chased after them.  I'm still cracking up at how I must look as I chase down potential subjects. It's obvious why I had to chase her down though…just look at her! She's great! I love everything about her style and on top of it, she was as sweet as could be!

Erin is a hairstylist at the JCP Salon in the Vancouver Mall.  She asked if I already had a stylist and I explained that I'm loyal to my stylist and she's now practically like a sister.  When I said that to Erin, she gave me a funny little look but I didn't think much of it at the time.

Later, after taking Erin's picture, I spotted myself in the mirror and I was mortified.  I had completely forgotten about the little hack-job I did on my own bangs this morning.  I still  had a few little cut hairs on my nose and cheeks!   I intended to cut just one little rebel bang and then it turned into two little rebels.  Then two turned into a few and before I realized the damage I was doing, I had totally messed myself up!  I felt so horrible. Poor Erin!  I'm sure she could tell I had just cut my own damn bangs and she probably thought I was giving her a polite brush-off and then she was still nice enough to let me take her picture!  So, if you're looking for a stylist in Vancouver - please give Erin a try.  And do tell her I was an idiot!  I really am loyal to my girl but if i didn't have Chandra, I would definitely go see Erin.


Thank you for following along with this week's adventures!  Are you ready? We're really going to have to dig down and get to work these next few months.  It won't be easy - but we can do it!

If you've been a subject for this project - thank you for being you!  Thank you for letting me take your picture and for helping me with this challenge.  I appreciate you!

Thank you!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 6

Week 6 of the 365 Day People Picture Project was filled with 9 beautiful people!  Day 36 - Chip and Marcello

day 36

Chip and Marcello are Hammerwise Construction and they were working, on a Sunday evening, on the new Doppelgänger Boutique which is scheduled to open in Downtown Vancouver on September 30th.

I spotted them out of the corner of my eye as I was about to drive away. They were standing just as they are in this photo, already "posed"!  I threw my car in reverse, hopped out of my car and quickly blurted out the nature of this project and asked if they would be day 36.  They asked what they would have to do and I told them they just needed to do exactly what they were doing…"just look cute!"  I don't think  construction workers really want to be instructed to "just look cute," but they did a great job at it!

 Day 37 - Cezanne



Cezanne works at a convenience store where I sometimes stop on my way home from work.  She's as friendly as she is beautiful. Between Cezanne and Kristen from Day 38, I think we could call Tyra and tell her we've got two potential candidates for America's Next Top Model!

Day 38 - Kristen


I spotted Kristen snuggled up in a scarf and beanie and reading a book in the park.  I almost didn't approach her because she looked so perfectly content and peaceful!  I sat down at the picnic table with her and we visited for a few moments after I snapped this picture.  Again, I had stumbled upon another girl who is  just as sweet and lovely as she is beautiful.

 Day 39 - Gordon


Gordon was starting the trek up the stairs at Mt. Tabor Park when I stopped to ask him if he would be day 39.  On Wednesdays, Mt. Tabor closes the park to cars so the park fills with downhill longboard skaters.  I'm blown away by their fearlessness.  The hills are steep and not only do they FLY down the hills, but they also have to navigate a few turns as well.  It takes a special kind of nerve to be brave enough to do what they do!  It might be too late in the season now, but I'd love to catch Gordon again sometime when he's actually skating down the hill. I'll be sure to share it when I do.

 Day 40 - Casper & Rose


Rose and Casper were in one of my favorite spots in the entire city of Portland…sitting on a park bench at the top of  (you guessed it) Mt. Tabor Park and waiting for the sun to set.  Rose was visiting from out of town. Casper is a musician and you can check him out on SoundCloud.

I actually have a sightly "better" picture, but even though the quality is better, I decided to show you this picture because I just love Rose's expression as she's looking at Casper.  They both have a fun energy and I think this picture conveys it.

Day 41 - Joseph


If you've ever been to the Costco near the Portland Airport, you'll recognize Joseph!  He's pretty unforgettable! Joseph doesn't just whistle while he works, he full on sings!  When he's working the greeter/card check-in position, he welcomes you with a song and a smile.  I just love it when he's working!

Joseph belts out songs with the confidence of a Grammy-winning artist, but I'm pretty certain he actually started to get a little bashful as I was taking pictures. The other pictures I took just didn't capture his true nature. This was the very first snap, before he had the opportunity to get camera-shy, and it was taken mid-song. I caught him doing what he loves…singing!

Day 42 - Aaron


Aaron was another project-saver!   Just as I was heading out to shoot this afternoon, the rain started to pour.  Not having much daylight left, I just took off driving toward the bluest skies.  I had one last errand to run and I could tell that the blue skies were near the shopping center I needed to go to.   As I was heading into one of the shops, I spotted a cute young man sitting on the sidewalk, obviously on his break from work, and beside him was a giant barrel-sized container of orange cheese puffs.  It was a pretty funny and  unexpected "prop." He agreed to let me take his picture. I quickly composed my shot and then realized…no memory card!  AAGGG!!! I'm such an amateur!  I didn't even have a spare!

The sky was looking like it would start leaking again at any moment, so after saying goodbye to the cheese-puff guy, I proceeded to go purchase another memory card.

When I returned to my car, I saw Aaron parked right next to me and he was assembling a brand new baby-seat.  It was actually looking like an intense project and I was reluctant to interrupt, thinking that Mom and baby would be out any minute and baby needed someplace to sit!

When Aaron agreed to let me take his picture, he had no idea just how much pressure he had lifted from me.  I was really concerned I wasn't going to find a subject before it started to rain again.

Mom and baby (who was actually a toddler) came out just as I was taking Aaron's picture. We visited for just a few minutes and was able to learn that he has just started his own business, Apprize Demolition.


This has been another fun week and I've actually started to follow a few of my subjects on Instagram. It's odd, but so rewarding, to close a week with a few more friendly acquaintances than what I started with.  I'm seeing glimpses of them and their lives via what they share on Instagram and now my heart is a little more full.

I'm nervous heading into fall, not only because of the rain but because of the limited daylight hours. People just don't hang out in the rain! If you have any ideas on how to keep up with the project, I would love to hear from you!  Right now, my thought is to dedicate a week to a certain business. I might go hang out at a particular coffee shop or other business, and for an entire week, all pictures will be of people who were in that particular establishment.   I'm determined to meet this challenge!

If you were a subject this week, or any week, I'd like to give you my sincere thanks.  I can't thank you enough for helping me to make this happen.

If you'd like to see these pictures daily, you can follow me on Instagram. My username on both Twitter and Instagram is: missellanea.  I'd love to follow you, too!

Thank you for checking in on week 6!


365 Day People Picture Project - Week 5

Week 5  of the 365 Day People Picture Project - finished! One benefit of this project is that it is forcing me to break out of my rigid routine and play tourist, even if it's for only a few moments at a time.  Venturing outside of my comfortable little bubble has left me feeling re-charged and like I've had a little mini-vacation.

 Day 29 - Juno and her Human


I ran into Juno and her human on one such mini-vacation.   They were strolling along the walkway on the Columbia River.  Juno had just gone for a swim when she and her human stopped to be day 29.  Check out how intently Juno is staring at her human mama!

It was such a beautiful afternoon/evening, so I decided to stay a little longer and take a walk on the beach.  This picture is looking at the I5 Bridge which crosses from Vancouver, WA, and into Portland, OR.


Day 30 - "Guy on Bench"


This guy has the bluest eyes I've ever seen!  He was hanging out in the park, waiting to meet someone for dinner.

 Day 31 - "Guy Walking by my Work"


Our interaction was short and sweet!  He also had a friend with him but she was a little camera shy.

 Day 32 - Garza


Garza and I were both picking up our cars from the mechanic at the same time.   The shop had parked our cars next to each other.  I was ready to leave, but my car was blocked so I had the perfect opportunity to ask Garza if he'd be day 32.  He agreed, but I had to "work" for it.

Garza heads the NEU Soccer Club so he had a car full of soccer balls, gear, and empty boxes that once contained soccer gear.  He had to transfer the gear from one car to another and in return for him being the subject for day 32, he asked if I could help him move a big box.  I would happily help all of my subjects move boxes!  I feel so indebted to each of them for allowing me to take their picture and share it with you!

Day 33 - Steve the Swan and Mike


I first saw Steve the Swan about a month ago as I was driving down a fairly busy street in Portland.  I thought he was in distress and in need of rescuing!  After slamming on my brakes and inching past, I realized he was "stuffed".  I was so relieved after I realized that he was taxidermy.  I'm getting quite proficient at rescuing lost dogs and I can now fashion a leash out of pretty much anything, but I didn't know how in the world I was going to rescue a swan!

Since that day, I've learned that Steve is quite the party animal.  I drive by his house nearly every day.  Steve, Mike and the other roommates are often hanging outside in the sun. Steve the Swan is an attention-grabber and people often stop by to visit with the bunch.  Mike and his roommates have met a lot of new friends because of Steve the Swan. Talk about a wingman!

Mike told me the story of Steve.  Steve, when he was alive, was actually the pet of their neighbor-lady across the street.  Poor Steve was killed in a car accident and his owner had him taxidermied.  She gave the taxidermied Steve to Mike and the other roommates and Steve now looks over the neighborhood and across the street to his previous human mama.

Steve the Swan is so popular, don't be surprised if someday he has his very own beer named after him!

In the short time that I was hanging out with Mike and Steve, another woman stopped by and asked to take her picture with Steve.  The guys living at the house welcome all of the visitors and new friends!  I guess you can't set out a nearly 4 foot tall taxidermy swan in your front yard and not expect to meet new friends.

Mike was such a nice guy and encouraging of my project.  Mike wants to be a photographer. I explained that I'm not a photographer, but he was pretty insistent that if someone takes a picture every day for a year, then they are a photographer.  Maybe not a skilled photographer, but they are indeed a photographer.  We both laughed, as that's the category I fall into!  With Steve the Swan as his buddy, Mike would have no problem finding subjects.

Day 34 - RV


I ventured to a little park near my house and was surprised to see there were three volleyball games happening!  I LOVE VOLLEYBALL!  What I was most surprised to see, was that all of the players were men! I stopped at one of the courts, where RV was the referee, and asked if women could play. He assured me that women were welcome.  He actually invited me to play right then and there, but I was wearing a dress and heels. Although I wasn't able to play that day, RV was nice enough to be day 34.   I'm not sure if I'll make it back this season, but I'm definitely going back next summer!

Day 35 - David and Meghaan


I was having a bit of an off day today and unable to find any subjects.  My day was so off, I didn't even find a subject at Portland Saturday Market.  If you've ever been to the Saturday Market, you understand just how unbelievable that is! One would think it impossible to go to Saturday Market and not be able to find at least a couple dozen interesting and/or beautiful subjects.

I decided to head across the river and over to Downtown Vancouver.  I spotted David and Meghaan as soon as I entered the park because of their cute matching Ducks t-shirts.  I wandered the park for a while but got the feeling that my best hope for the day was going to be the cute couple in the Ducks T's.

I approached them to ask if they'd be willing to be day 35 and they agreed.   As I was asking their names and if there's anything I could promote, we discovered that we have a lot in common!

David is a screen printer and owns his own company, Moreland Print.  (I also work for a company that does screen print and embroidery.)  Meghaan works for one of our vendors who sells screen printing supplies, and one of my former co-workers now works with Meghaan!   I enjoyed visiting with them both and now I'm glad I didn't find a subject at Saturday Market because I wouldn't have been able to meet David and Meghaan, who are both just as nice as could be.

I could have easily stayed and talked screen printing with them for hours!  That is the beauty of screen printing…we're all pretty friendly competitors and our shared love of screen printing is an instant connection.

Meghaan and David were such a sweet couple and I wish them lots of luck and success!

Week 5 felt less like a photography project and more like a go-out-and-meet-potential-new-friends-project!

I do have a happy thing to report to you! One of my friends, who is actually a real photographer, has been inspired by my little project and wants to start one of her own!  She's not sure about the specifics yet, but just hearing that I've contributed inspiration to her in some small way, has been a huge compliment and is one of my main objectives with this entire project.

If there's something you want to do - don't wait any longer!  Whether it be a photography project, completing a marathon, or some sort of life change - just take that first step and prepare for great things to happen!  It doesn't matter if conditions aren't perfect when you start, and you may have a long journey ahead, but that's ok!  Take that first step and you'll build momentum as you go along.

Thank you for checking in on week 5.  If you'd like to follow along during the week, I post the pictures daily to my Instagram.  My username is: missellanea and I'd love to follow you too!

Thank you!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 4

Week 4 of the 365 Day People Picture Project is complete! Day 22 - Robert


Robert is my neighbor and he was a lifesaver when he let me take his picture. Ok, "lifesaver" may be a bit dramatic, but he was definitely a project-saver!  I did 24 miles that day.  After finishing, it was my intention to go home, clean-up,  and then go downtown to shoot.  Well, you remember how badly I was hurting after just 21 miles…add 3 more miles of pain on top of that and the result was that I was in no condition to go back out to find a subject.  As luck would have it, my neighbor was outside in his garage when I pulled into my driveway.  I had the strength to hobble across the street, explain the project and my need for a subject, and Robert obliged.

We've lived across the street from Robert for 15 years and sadly, we're still basically strangers.  I do know enough about him to know that he's a pretty awesome guy and we're very lucky to have him as our neighbor.  My husband was seriously injured in a work accident several years ago. He had to miss work for several weeks and he really couldn't do hardly anything in order to recover.   Right before his injury, our lawn-mower died and purchasing a new one just wasn't on the top of the priority list. (But our lawn had gone to hell and it was getting embarrassing!)   We came home one day and Robert had mowed our lawn for us!   That was just about the nicest thing that anyone could have done for us during that tough time.  I feel a little safer knowing Robert is just right across the street.

Day 23 -  My Step-Brother-In-Law


My in-laws hosted a lovely barbecue on Labor Day and although there were over 20 people there,  I didn't have any "volunteers" to be the subject for day 23.  My poor Step-Brother-In-Law let me take his picture for the project, simply because he is just too nice of a guy to say no.

 Day 24 - Richard & Margie


Richard and Margie are from New Jersey and were visiting Mt. Tabor Park.  They asked me how to get to the top and I explained the most direct route was up the 265 stairs, which is a bit of a killer, but the view of Portland from the top of Mt. Tabor Park is worth each step. Watching the sunset from the top of Mt. Tabor is one of my greatest simple pleasures and I hope these two were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset.

 Day 25 - Ian


Ian was playing tennis with his little daughter.  Ian was injured several years ago and because of his injury, sometimes his back will go out and knock him out of commission for a few days or even weeks.  That day was the first day he had really been active since the 4th of July.  After several trips to a chiropractor, he finally felt well enough to play a little tennis with his daughter.  He explained that it's the good days, like the one he and his daughter were having that day, which help him to get through the not-so-good days.  He does his best to pull himself together so that he and his daughter can enjoy life and have fun together.

 Day 26 - Randy


Randy is a co-worker and friend.  He's also pretty inspiring to me.  In addition to working full time and being a husband and father, he also maintains Skate and Annoy, a skateboard blog, and owns a skateboard company.  I really don't know how he does it all!  Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or like I can't do this, I think about Randy and realize just how much he's juggling and he still maintains his blog and posts almost daily.


Day 27 - Jan day27

I met Jan in the parking lot of Costo on Friday evening.  She was pushing her cart to the return area when she offered it to me.  I took it, and took the opportunity to ask her if she'd like to be day #27.  Her personality was just about as bright as the colors in her jacket.  I was so impressed with Jan.  She looked like she may have been in a little pain and maybe had a little trouble walking but she had just conquered shopping at Costco on a Friday night and still managed to be the friendliest person there.

My brief interaction with Jan washed away the worries of my week and set the tone for me to have a very happy weekend.  Imagine if all of our interactions with strangers could be so positive.  We really do have the power to shape our experiences if we just put in a little effort to be a little more kind with one another.  Even if we're not in the best of mood, if we can manage to at least share a smile and a friendly word with a stranger, both people leave the interaction feeling happier.

Day 28 - Arron


I decided to head down to the Vancouver Farmers Market in order to find a fun subject to close week 4.  I had been wandering around the market for a while when I turned around and found Arron's, Absolutely Juicy booth.  We printed t-shirts for Absolutely Juicy, so it was fun to run into a customer there!

Arron is another inspiration in that he turned his passion for eating and living healthy, into a full-time business.  When you're able to work doing that which you love, that is success!  Next time you're at the Vancouver Farmers Market, keep an eye out for Absolutely Juicy and give them a try!


Thank you so much for following along.  I feel I have a lot of work to do, but it would be my hope that somehow, these pictures will touch you in some way. Even better, perhaps these pictures and my experiences will inspire you to open up, a little more than usual, to the people you encounter in a day. Most of these interactions have been quite brief but the impact I've felt will last a lifetime.

I Instagram these pictures daily and if you'd like to follow along, my Instagram and Twitter username is missellanea.

Thank you!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 3

Week 3 is a wrap! In case you're checking out the 365 Day People Picture Project for the first time, I've been taking a photograph of a person (or people) every day for the past three weeks.   A few of the pictures are of people I know, but the majority of my subjects have been strangers.  I post the pictures daily on Instagram and will post the weekly recap here on Sundays.  My goal is to take a picture, daily, for an entire year!

Day 15 - Mario


I met Mario on my favorite trail.  He had just run 4 miles and was stretching, and I had just aborted my 14 mile walk - only 3.5 miles into it. I  had been stung by a wasp, and as you can probably guess from this picture, we were caught in a total downpour!

Mario told me that he runs a race nearly every weekend.  It's no wonder he was such a trooper and let me take his picture in the pouring rain.  A few raindrops mean nothing to a person who races nearly every week!

Day 16 - "Creighton"


I didn't realize it until later, but Mario and "Creighton" look like they could be related!  "Creighton" was at the stairs of one of Portland's best "outdoor gyms."  It's not really a gym, it's a park.  The park is so popular with runners, walkers, cyclists and skateboarders, I think we could actually call it a fitness park.  "Creighton" was waiting for the rest of his group to arrive when I approached him to be day #16. I could tell he was a little unsure of me at first, but once he decided to let me take his picture, he went above and beyond the duties of being a subject!  He actually did a stair climb down the stairs.  This takes so much strength that I would be too embarrassed to even try it.  He did it with less effort than it takes me to walk up the stairs on my own two feet.  After taking his picture, my friend and I continued with our workout and ran into him and his group a few more times as they were alternating between running the stairs and doing these brutal climbs.

Day 17 - Christina


Christina is a manager/cashier at the grocery store near my work.  Don't worry, we weren't holding up the express line!  Christina's friendliness is just what I needed, at just the right time.

Although Mario and "Creighton" were both excellent subjects, I had been stressed on both of those days and quite worried about finding subjects.  When it started to pour on Sunday, I was struck with the reality that winter would soon be here and I am such a newbie, I don't even know how to take pictures in the rain. I mean, I'm sure that rain can't be good for a camera.  As I was contemplating the need for a waterproof housing, I then realized that it is going to be extremely challenging to find subjects once we change from daylight savings time.  When I stopped at the grocery store that morning and was met with Christina's cheerful smile, I just knew that everything will work out as long as I don't get too worked up about it.  There are friendly and willing people all over and when it gets dark and rainy, I'll just have to look for them a little harder and indoors.  It's going to be ok.

 Day 18 - Jacob


My co-worker and I were on our way back to the office when we spotted Jacob and his roofing crew, who were just wrapping up their lunch break.  I had to move quickly because the guys were just about to hop in their truck to drive away.  Had Jacob been alone when we approached him, I'm pretty sure he would have declined. Luckily, his co-workers basically ribbed him into being day 18.


Day 19 - Melissa


I had just parked my car and was contemplating on whether I should do my workout and then search for a subject, or vice versa, when somebody parked right in front of me.  I waited to see who would get out of the van, thinking maybe this person could be my day 19.  As soon as I saw the person exit the van, I just knew she would be it!  When she exited her van all I could see was this natural beauty carrying a giant bouquet of flowers.  I didn't know if she was making a floral delivery, or perhaps meeting someone for a picnic in the park.

I explained the project and she happily agreed to let me take her picture.  She was so sweet and she thought it was so cool that she was going to "be a part of an art project."  Wow, I hadn't ever thought of it like that!  As we were talking, I asked where she was headed with the flowers and she explained she was on her way to a memorial service in the park. Of course, I was completely shocked to hear she was there for such a sad occasion. I was little choked up as I gave her my condolences, but she assured me it was going to be a big celebration of life.  All the while, she had the most caring and genuine smile on her face.  If the person whose service she was attending had other friends as lovely as Melissa, then I'm certain that person had a wonderful life and was very much loved. And indeed, it was to be a celebration.

Later that evening, I was looking at the Instagram picture I had posted of Melissa and I had tears running down my cheeks. My husband asked if I was ok and what was the matter.  I explained I was fine but that I had been really affected by my subject that day.  I explained how Melissa was so nice and seemed so happy, she flashed the biggest smile, but she was dealing with some really sad stuff and people would never know. It just made me sad to know that every day, people are dealing with sad things and they give us a smile, and we just never know…

 Day 20 - Becky, Gina and Rindy


For the past two years, I've accidentally stumbled upon the Kumoricon Anime Convention in Downtown Vancouver.  Friday was such a beautiful day and I had already made up my mind to find a subject in downtown Vancouver after work.  I was just thinking there would be several people out enjoying one of our last sunny days and the likelihood that I could find a subject in the park would be quite high.   What I quickly realized, (after seeing a group of "vikings") is that I had struck people-watching gold and for the third year in a row, I had managed to be downtown during Kumoricon!

I can't even begin to describe how awesome this event is!  People from all over the country come to this convention and they go all out with their costuming!  Some of the attendees look like they spend the entire year planning their costumes.  The event site is actually the Hilton Hotel but the attendees often spill into the neighboring Esther Short Park.  For three days, you can see just about any anime character you could possibly imagine, just hanging out in the park.

I wandered around searching for just the right person to be day 20.  You're never going to guess who I found?! Waldo! Yep! I found Waldo!  I figured that Waldo had to be day 20!  There was just one problem.  Waldo was surrounded by a ton of people who were all just as excited to have found her as I had been. (This Waldo was actually a girl.)  Although the novelty of having Waldo as day 20 would have been awesome, I started thinking that there were tons of other people there who would also make for a great picture. So, I patiently searched until I found this beautiful Trio!  I could see their parasols and Gina and Rindy's purple locks coming from a mile away.  These young ladies are not actually specific characters, they're just their own beautiful creation.


Day 21 - Jen and Tony


I was on my way back to Downtown Vancouver to capture another Anime character but I decided to take a different exit and head toward the waterfront instead.  After I parked, I asked Tony directions to the walk-way but then decided to ask him if he'd be interested in being day 21.  He agreed and also volunteered his friend, Jen!

They had just run 3 miles in a very hot and humid 90 degrees!  Jen is training for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon and Tony is training for another Tough Mudder race.  Before I snapped this picture, we had just been laughing about the possibility of Tony dressing up as Tinkerbell and joining Jen for the Disney race.  I have a feeling they're both going to do great in their races. It was such a hot day and if they were able to tough it out in this heat, their training will pay off.

It's been another great week, even though it started with a little uncertainty.  I know that as winter approaches, I'll have to strategize to make sure I'll be able to meet the 365 day challenge.  That's good though, right?  It'll force me to get a little creative in order to push through the rainy months ahead.

I think each of these people has left an impression in my mind that is going to last a very long time. I'm grateful to each of them for reminding me just how kind people can be.

Thank you for checking in on week three!

If you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is: missellanea.

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 2

Week 2 of the 365 Day People Picture Project is now complete!  Although I don't feel like I've made significant progress in my photography skills, yet, I've gained a great deal of confidence in my "pitch" and I'm experiencing more unexpected personal improvements. I wasn't  as nervous this week as I was last week when approaching strangers to ask if I could take their picture for the project.  I've also noticed I've become a little more outgoing even when I don't have the camera with me.

I really noticed a change in myself this morning on my walk/run. I'm always courteous on the trail as I pass other runners and walkers and I always give the obligatory "g'mornin," accompanied with a smile or a nod, but I've actually started to become talkative and inviting of conversation. (this is an accomplishment when you're pushing yourself and you're hot, tired and in pain.)  There are several "regulars" who I've been seeing on the trail for the past few years and today, I actually stopped and visited with a few of them. I left the trail this morning having experienced a true sense of "community" that I could have been feeling all along, had I not been so shy. This experience is bringing me out of my shy little shell.

 Day 8 - Mary

Day 8

I stumbled upon a street faire happening in Downtown Vancouver. The event was winding down but there was one booth that was still quite the party.  There were kids and toys everywhere.  I glanced over and saw Mary. She owns Kazoodles Toys and when I noticed her, she looked like she was having just as much fun as all of the kids who were playing with her toys.

 Day 9 - Dog Walker


The photo that I posted on Instagram for day 9 was a better picture but it was just a headshot.   I couldn't really call her  "dog walker" unless I also showed her dog, Tater.   I don't think either of them really wanted the interruption in their walk but they stopped anyway.  I had to be quick so they could resume walking.  Seeing that Tater's bag was empty, I know that they had to get on their way because Tater needed to take care of his "business".

Day 10 - Donovan


Donovan is an amazing tattoo artist and I've known him for nearly 13 years.  We're both each other's client. He orders t-shirts from me, and he's done 2 of my tattoos.  I guess you could say that we sell ink to one another.  Although we've known each other for over a decade, we talked more (or more in depth) in the few short minutes that I was taking his picture, than we've ever talked before.  My focus these past two weeks has been on learning how to connect with each subject.  With strangers, I have just a few moments to try to make that connection, or to at least get some sort of read on them in order to find and capture their sparkle.  I took a few snaps of Donovan at work about a month ago and those pictures had a completely different feel than this one. Having just shared a few stories with one another, we connected differently than we had in the past and I think this picture was a result. I was able to see a different sparkle.

Day 11 - Charles 


I was stopped at a red light when I saw Charles waiting at the bus stop. I pulled my car over to park and then approached him.  He was clicking away on his cell phone but he didn't seem at all annoyed when I interrupted him to ask if I could take his picture.  When I first noticed him, Charles was concentrating on his phone and probably already thinking about work, but as soon as we started talking, it felt as though I was receiving his full attention.  It was interesting to watch him go from looking a little pre-occupied and possibly even anxious, to looking like he was completely present.  I asked him if he would like to share a quote and he replied, "oh, I'm not very quotable."

Day 12 - Kay (or possibly, Anne)


This was the fastest shot yet!  Again, I spotted Kay (or possibly, Anne) waiting at a bus stop.  I pulled over to the side of the road and got out of my car.  I realized I had just passed the bus a few moments ago so this was going to be tough.  I looked up and the bus was only a couple blocks away. I quickly asked Kay, "is that your bus?"  She confirmed, so I told her, "Ok, I'll be quick…"  I then explained the project and asked if she would be day #12.  I didn't think she would go for it. I could tell she was thinking that there wasn't enough time for this but she agreed so I started snapping away. However, I knew I wasn't getting any nice shots. The bus started moving toward us and all of the sudden, she looked up at me with the sweetest smile in the world, I caught it, thanked her, and then we went on our separate ways.  I think the whole interaction lasted just 45 seconds.  It happened so quickly that didn't even have time to write her name  in my journal. It was a one-syllable name and I thought it would be so easy to remember that I could just write it down as soon as I got to work.  Well, I was mistaken.  Although I slipped up on her name, her smile is totally unforgettable!

Day 13 - April


April is a cashier at a convenience store and she has to be one of the friendliest cashiers in Portland.  Talk about making a connection…you can't go into her store without leaving there in a better mood.  Her personality and fancy make-up makes you feel happy and festive. April explained that she started wearing fancy make-up so that her boss would keep her on the graveyard shift where there are fewer customers.  Her plan backfired.  April's customers love her and her make-up so much, her boss schedules her on one of the busiest shifts  and he all but insists she wear her fancy face.  I mentioned to April that she could have an excellent side business doing make-up and face painting at parties and events.    Talking to April feels like you're talking with an old friend, but the minute I pulled out the camera, I could feel she clammed up. I would do the very same thing if some stranger were taking my picture.  Although I was able to get a pretty shot of her make-up, this picture just doesn't accurately convey her pretty personality.

 Day 14 - Chandra and Alin


Chandra is a hair stylist and she also just started a beauty blog.  She is one of the most talented, passionate, and knowledgable stylists around.  She had just finished cutting my hair and we were visiting when her newlywed Husband, Alin, arrived to pick her up from work.  He didn't know he was walking right into being day 14.

In theory, this should have been the easiest day of the past two weeks. Aside from them each being very beautiful people, Chandra has done quite a bit of modeling and Alin is a professional photographer.  I had all the makings of a perfect photo: no time pressures, two very beautiful people who are also two very lovey newlyweds,  one subject is a model,  the other is a professional photographer, we had their adorable little yorkie terrier, and what I thought was going to make for a cool background which was the salon logo on the front of the window.

Although I had all of the ingredients to make a beautiful picture, I didn't follow the recipe. I was quite disappointed with myself.  I had taken over ten pictures and although I love this picture because of the look in Chandra's attentive eyes, I really expected that I had captured several more beautiful shots.  I learned something extremely important from this little shoot with Chandra and Alin.  It is possible to take less-than-perfect pictures of extremely beautiful people.  I didn't realize it at the time but I half-assed it, thinking I couldn't fail because Chandra and Alin are both very attractive.  With all but a few of the other subjects, I was under a great deal of time pressure and had to work hard to get in, find the right angle, find each subject's sparkle, and then capture that sparkle.  With Chandra and Alin, we had all the time in the world and those two have more sparkle than glitter but just because your subjects are pretty, doesn't mean you can let them do all of the work. You still have to work hard for your shot.  I do love this picture of Chandra and Alin because it touches my heart.  I just want to learn how to touch the hearts of others.   What I thought was going to make for a super cool background, the logo in the window, actually made for a distraction and I should have noticed that when I was taking the pictures.  Alin was so helpful and gave me a few excellent pointers to help with the project.  Afterward, I regretted that I hadn't taken the time and switched out to a different lens. Alin was patient and willing to share as much information as I could soak in.  I should have been a better sponge.  I've seen just a little of Alin's professional work and he's really good.  As it was, I did learn from my mistakes.  Alin and Chandra have so many lovely photographs of themselves, I'm sure they're just as happy that I was able to learn something from this experience than they would have been had I captured the most perfect photo ever.  Chandra and Alin, if you happen to read this - thank you both for being so awesome.

As time goes on, I'm sure my skills will improve. It just takes time and practice.  I'm feeling instant gratification on the changes that are occurring in my own head and heart. Learning how to open up to strangers, and to get them to reciprocate, has been a rewarding experience and I know I'm a better person for it.  I just need to learn how to capture and share that feeling with you.

Thanks for checking in on week 3!  If you'd like to follow along daily, I'm missellanea on Instagram, or you can search for #365daypeoplepictureproject.

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 1

Week 1 of my 365 Day People Picture Project is now complete! This has been one of the most interesting and happiest weeks in my life.  I knew when I started this project that I could possibly meet some interesting people, but I had no idea how profoundly I would be affected.  Guess what?  Every person we meet, every single day, is interesting and beautiful in their own way.

I was struck with the thought on Thursday, that "I'm happy. I feel really happy!"  I've been overwhelmed with emotions and I've been feeling grateful to be alive.  The pressure of peak season has eased a bit at work and combined with the start of this project, I'm feeling more like my old self again.  I'm happy.

It has been only 7 days but  I've already felt a huge impact from the people I've encountered this week. I have noticed one thing in these few short days.  I feel less nervous approaching a man than I do when approaching a woman. It can feel intimidating to approach a woman. I realize part of the reason that I'm a little nervous approaching women is because I don't want to startle or scare them.  Aside from that reason, I think we ladies can walk around looking completely un-approachable and we don't even realize it.  I think it is difficult for us to let go of our thoughts and while our minds are drifting elsewhere, our bodies and faces can project a look of "stay away."  I think another aspect to it could be that as women, we're always on guard. We have to be, for our own safety.  I'm going to have to figure out how to gain enough confidence to be able to approach more women, but balanced confidence so that I don't become intimidating or annoying.

These pictures are "fresh daily."  I'm not stockpiling photos. Part of the challenge for me is finding the courage to approach a stranger, and when I do find that nerve, it has been quite rewarding.  Five out of these first seven days have been pictures of strangers but I started out with an easy one.

Day 1 - My Husband

Day 1 - my Husband

I was able to ease into the project knowing that I was going to have dinner with my in-laws on day one.  I knew I already had 4 potential subjects so I wasn't too stressed on day 1.  I was hoping to get a perfect picture of my husband, brother-in-law and father-in-law but I just didn't get the right snap.  It's ok. It was only appropriate to open the project with a photo of my husband. We've been married for 19 years and he's my best friend. He "gets me" and he still loves me anyway.

I have an extremely tight schedule with work and training for the Portland Marathon, so the majority of the pictures from Monday through Friday will be taken on my way to work in the morning.  I had made it all the way to work on day 2 and hadn't been able to summons the courage to stop and ask a stranger if I could take their picture. I was near-meltdown, thinking I was already a huge failure and I was only able to make it 1 day into the project when all of the sudden, just a few footsteps away from the front door to my office, a nice young man named Trenton just happened to be walking by.

Day 2 - Trenton


Trenton was wearing headphones and my repeated attempts to get his attention were ignored so I sort of had to run after him and tap him on the shoulder.  He removed one of his ear phones and I gave him the biggest smile I could muster and said "Hi!  Are you in a hurry?"  I was so nervous that I was actually shaking.  I know I totally stumbled over the words but somehow I was able to explain that I had challenged myself to a 365 day picture project and asked if he'd be my #2.  I was completely surprised, but he said yes without hesitation.

I asked if he wanted to share a quote and I could tell that he really wanted to say something meaningful but having caught him completely off-guard, he was stumped. Trenton was on his way to work when I stopped him, "another day another dollar,"  he said happily.  Trenton made my day!

Day 3 - Bailey


Bailey is day 3. She was loading up her car in the parking lot of a motel when I spotted her. I had actually first spotted a professional-looking young lady in a great pencil skirt and blouse as she was walking down the street. I pulled my car over to the side of the road to take her picture but  I could just tell that she didn't want to be bothered.  Feeling a little bummed, I turned around and noticed Bailey.  We were in sort of a bad neighborhood so I expected her to be extremely cautious of me but she was super friendly.  She was hurried, but friendly.  She and her friend were on their way to the coast.  I asked  if she had any dreams and she said she wants to be a Psychologist.  I wonder if she was analyzing me?

After I took this shot, I realized there had been a shadow on her face.  I explained there was a shadow and asked her to step to the side for another try.  It was my first time giving direction to a subject! Wow! I was feeling like a photographer!  Bailey is stunning. It doesn't look like she's wearing one bit of make-up and she still just radiates beauty.  Although I did end up getting a better shot without the shadow, I was drawn to this photo and chose it over the others.  Bailey wants to be a psychologist some day so the shadow seems appropriate. Psychology is about shedding light on the shadows of our minds.

Day 4 - Anna


Anna is day 4.  I pulled into a park-and-ride bus stop on my way to work just knowing there had to be someone there willing to let me take a picture.  It was peak rush hour time so I figured I had really good odds.  I immediately spotted an older bearded gentleman who looked like a gnome incarnate.  He rejected me. My first rejection…from a gnome.  I was crushed.  I thought I had been friendly but he still said no.  I felt so defeated that I was just going to leave. I was walking back to my car when I saw Anna as she was waiting for a bus.   Anna is a DJ and you can check her out on sound cloud.  I loved her colorful hair and she was just such a sweetie!

 Day 5 - "Anonymous Heroes"

Day 5 - Anonymous Heroes

"Anonymous Heroes" are day 5.  I named them "Anonymous Heroes" because they're EMT's and, well, they save lives!  Talk about bashful!  I felt nervous approaching them. They have intense jobs and I didn't want to get in the way if they got a call or anything.  But I really wanted to get a cool picture of them in their uniforms and looking through their window.   I didn't exactly capture the look I wanted but that's because I'm inexperienced…things like this will improve with time.  The passenger was so embarrassed.  Before this shot, he was bright red and they weren't going to do it.  I explained that, technically, I was a person in need and they would really be helping me.  When I presented it that way, they couldn't refuse. It is in their nature to help people.  For a couple of guys who are normally on the giving end of help, the quote I did manage to get from the passenger as I was taking his picture was "HELP ME!"

Day 6 - Joey


Joey is day 6.  Joey had invited me to tag along to a concert/movie in the park to watch a Cure cover band. I arrived pretty early and I was glad I did. It was the best people-watching ever! If I hadn't imposed a rule on myself against stockpiling photos - I could have taken enough pictures to last for the whole year! I should have known that a Cure cover band would attract some of Portland's most interesting and beautiful people.

Joey is an artist, drummer, vegan, and he actually sewed a shark outfit for his little dog to wear. He just wrapped up a show in LA and he currently has a few of his paintings of Sharon Tate hanging in the former home she shared with Roman Polanski, the home where she was murdered. I won't tell you about the intense experience he had there, in the hopes he'll write about it on his blog. Let's just say, if you didn't believe in ghosts before, you certainly would if you heard his story.  (Joey's wife is a constant source of inspiration and is basically the spark that helped ignite my little Miss Ellanea flame.)

Day 7 - "Bruce"day7

"Bruce" is day 7.  I'm really stumped on this one. I'm at a loss and don't know what I can and should share.  It's a fun story, but I just don't want to get the guy in trouble and I feel like I owe my subjects a certain level of confidentiality/privilege.  Bruce, if you ever read this, I'm sorry if I've over-shared.

I had just completed 21 brutal miles on my favorite trail at the lake.  It was the slowest, ugliest, 21 miles in all of my training. I was having a horribly off day.  It was another one of those times where the only reason I was able to finish is because there was absolutely no other way around it. I had to get back to my car.  I was exhausted and stressed knowing that I still had to find a subject for the day.  I had made up my mind that I was just going to ask Chase, a guy who does Kayak Rentals at the end of the trail, to be my subject. If Chase wasn't there, I was just going to ask whoever was working that day.  I dragged myself across the pretend finish line (the kayak rental station) and they were absolutely swamped. I could hardly even stand at that point. I was dizzy and torn up.  There was no way I could wait for them to finish checking in all of the soon-to-be-kayakers.  Just then, I saw a beautiful older woman.  She had beautiful eyes and I thought she would make for a striking black and white photo,given her dark hair, beautiful eyes, and beautiful complexion.  I made it back to my car to collect my camera when I realized…I couldn't move another step.  Although she was only about 50 yards away, that was 49 more than I could walk at that point.  Did i mention, those 21 miles tore me up?

Plan B.  Knowing that I didn't even have the strength to walk back to the woman, I decided that I was going to ask one of the people in the SUV parked right next to me. They looked like they were ready to leave so I had to act quickly.  I quickly blurted out the question to the person standing closest to me, asking if he had time to let me take a picture? I briefly explained my picture project and he actually seemed genuinely interested. He said he didn't have time.  They had to leave because they had to get to the airport.  I was listening to the almost-rejection but still readying my camera. I explained it would only take a second…I could just take the picture right there in the parking lot. Here's the part where I don't know if I'm breaking our "privilege."  His next question stuck me as odd. He said, "do I have to give you my real name? I can give you my fake name, but not my real name."  I expect that many people throughout this project will give me "a" fake name but he specifically said, "my fake name" as though he has practice with a pseudonym. He was super nice and actually sort of encouraging and interested in the project. He explained that he can't use his real name because he would get in trouble with his job.    He told me his name is "Bruce."  By then, the family he was with noticed that poor "Bruce" was about to become my subject #7 and they started to check things out.  A very nice lady came around the SUV to where we were standing and said "he's famous."  "Bruce" minimized her statement and said, "well, almost-famous."  I apologized and said I didn't recognize him. They had just finished Kayaking on the lake and were going to have dinner before heading to the airport to send "Bruce" back home to the east coast.

Trying to put Bruce at ease, I  attempted to make friendly chit-chat (even though I felt like I could collapse at any moment) and I learned they were first going to have steamer clams for dinner before taking Bruce to the airport.  Bruce specified, "steamers and oreos."  I asked if he would like to be quoted, or if he could be quoted, and he said, "I love this dog, June."  I thought he was making fun of me at that point, but then when I saw June, she was quite a pretty little pup and she was definitely a dog worthy of being praised by the  famous or near-famous "Bruce."

I had a lot of fun with "Bruce" and his family/friends.  They were all super friendly and and I even gave them my card.  I was surprised by how patient they were considering they were under time constraints to leave.  I was even more surprised and struck by how nice they were to me and how much genuine interest they seemed to have taken in the project.  I was sweaty, smelly, dirty and gross. I tried not to get too close and at one point, I apologized, explaining I had just finished 21 miles. Not only were they encouraging of the project, but then they encouraged me for that accomplishment. Wow, talk about nice folks!

I left that interaction thinking about the cliche, "strangers are just friends we haven't met yet."  My entire week has felt a little like this.  We pass people by each day and if we took even just a moment to learn their story, how differently we may feel about others and ourselves.  There are really good people out there. They are kind and patient, they are heroes in disguise, or even in a hero's uniform.  The people I've met this week (and the two subjects I already knew) have given me the best week I've ever had.  51 more weeks of this?  I'm in!

If you were one of my subjects from this week and happen to be reading this. Thank you. Thank you for your time, and for being willing to open yourself up to me.  I'm wishing you the best!

NOTE: If you'd like to follow along on instagram, i'm "missellanea" and I'll post pictures daily. Thank you for coming along on week #1!