365 More People Pictures - Week 47

Hi there! These are the subjects from week 47 of the 365 More People Pictures project.

 

Day 322 - Zach

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This is Zach.  We met at a park along the Columbia River.

I didn't know when I approached Zach that he's homeless, although that's not the word he would use.  He described himself as being a traveler.  When I asked him the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he spread his arms out wide and presented the park, the river, the picnic table, and his friend and guitar nearby and answered, "this."  Whatever one would call Zach's situation, in that moment, I found it to be completely freeing and beautiful.  It takes a strong, faithful and fearless person to live the life of a traveler.

I asked Zach if he had recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  Zach explained he's on both the giving and receiving end of kindness every single day.  He receives sustenance from the kindness of strangers who give him food and water, and when he receives too much, he shares with the other travelers he meets.  Earlier that day, he had also helped a lady in a wheelchair who was struggling to get across the street. Everyone else just watched her struggle, but Zach acted and helped her to cross the street safely.

"To be happy," Zach answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Zach something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that he's able to eat every day.  He knows his lifestyle isn't easy to understand, but in going without, he actually gains so much more than some people who "have everything."

Zach explained that because he doesn't have the luxury of being able to be on a smartphone at all times, he's able to observe his surroundings and connect with people, just like the experience we were sharing at that moment.  I'm grateful to this project and my desire to learn photography because it's forced me to put down my phone and look at the beauty all around.

Thank you, Zach. Safe and happy travels.

 

Day 323 - Mose

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This is Mose.  We met at the bus stop.  Mose spoke so eloquently and poetically, I failed to keep up.   I wish I could have paused and recorded him on video.  It turned out that Mose actually is a poet.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now is his process of self-discovery.

When I asked Mose if he had recently performed an act of kindness, or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he answered that he tries to perform kindness every day.  He's always certain to express grace and appreciation.

The blog is behind real-time, and because of that, my memory has faded a bit.  As I mentioned, Mose's speech is poetic and fluid.  Imagine trying to write down every word Eminem says as he's rapping...well, it was like that with Mose.  No matter how hard I try to connect the dots, I've left too many gaps in my notes, simply because I was too slow to keep up.  I asked Mose his life's purpose and here are some of the quotes of which I can fully make out in my journal:

"Large scale empowerment."

"Celebrating our own achievements, the gift of life, and finding our own calling in life in their noble and sincere forms."

"Create loving actions, take it, share it, expand it."

"Find the extraordinary out of the ordinary."

"Get beyond survival, and self-actualize."

I know I'm missing out on the connectors which made this all a fluid and beautiful conversation, but I did manage to document the high points.  As you can tell, Mose knows.

When I asked Mose something about himself that he would consider to be a success, he answered, "celebrating every challenge...my brilliance is my resilience."

Thank you, Mose. It was such a pleasure meeting you.  I may have forgotten some of your beautiful words, but you, Sir, are completely unforgettable.

 

Day 324 - Kevin

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

Kevin is pretty amazing.  What's not pictured here in this portrait, is Kevin's wheels.  (His wheelchair.)  What's also not pictured is Kevin's sheer will, guts, determination and perseverance.

I had taken Kevin's picture and asked him the 4 interview questions and was basically  wrapping up and saying goodbye.  I wasn't going to ask Kevin about the wheelchair, but something just felt off.  It felt like failing to acknowledge Kevin's wheels would have been more disrespectful and awkward than it would be to ask Kevin his story.   It just felt right to ask more questions, and learn more about Kevin and his life.  Looking back, I understand that it was Kevin who put me at ease with his welcoming and friendly nature.

Kevin had Spina Bifida as a child.  His life expectancy was only a few years but against all odds, he lived to grow into an adult and was even well enough to join the military.  I asked Kevin if the chair was a result of combat.  Kevin explained that shortly after he finished active duty, he went on vacation in Mexico to compete in a surfing competition.  I know you can tell where this is leading...yes, Kevin was attacked by a shark during the middle of the competition!  The shark got hold of Kevin, and as a result, Kevin ended up losing his leg.

At this point, I had to ask Kevin if he was actually being serious, or if this was the story he told to strangers.  We both laughed and he said it was the real deal.  He didn't have to make up a shark-attack story because he actually lived through one.

 

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The shark took Kevin's leg, but not his spirit. Kevin feels like the shark attack was a wake-up call and now he's grateful to be alive every day. Kevin said that prior to the shark attack and before losing his leg, he was living a pretty fast life and he knows he wasn't always as nice as he should have been.

Kevin's situation has given him empathy and compassion for others and he has an entirely new perspective on people and life.  I got the feeling that Kevin, pre-shark-attack, most likely wouldn't have given me the time of day had I approached him on the street and asked if I could take his picture and ask him a few questions.  Had Kevin not had a group of friends waiting for him inside Sam's, I think this post-shark-attack Kevin, would have visited with me long into the evening. Kevin's outlook is so courageous and amazing, and he's clearly done a lot of work in self-examination.  Of course, we can't help but feel for Kevin and wish that he hadn't experienced this loss, but I truly feel like Kevin truly feels he's a better person for enduring the loss. He went so far as to say that losing his leg in the shark attack, quite possibly saved his life.  Kevin's positive outlook is an inspiration.

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At the time we met, the happiest thing happening in his life was that he was out enjoying good times with his friends.

Kevin's recent act of kindness is that he's been helping a friend whose wife had just passed away.  Kevin has just been trying to be there for his friend in any way that he can...which was mainly, just being there.  Kevin is able to be someone else's strength and comfort because Kevin has experienced tremendous loss and grief.

"Helping people," Kevin answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Kevin something about himself which he considers to be a success, Kevin answered, "living."

Thank you, Kevin. I didn't know you before, but the person you are now is a true class act.  Wishing you the best of happiness.

 

Day 325 - Jake

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This is Jake.  The happiest thing happening in his life right now is that he's going to art school.  Jake never thought art school could be a reality.

"To live my life to the fullest and create art," Jake answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Jake something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "trying to live my life as a good person."

Thank you, Jake! Wishing you luck and success in school!

 

Day 326 - Greg

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This is Greg.  We met at a fireworks stand near Hoodsport, Washington.  (The location of our little cabin in the woods, where I will most likely be living soon.)

When we met, the happiest thing happening in his life was spending the holiday weekend at home in Mason County. (Hoodsport.)  He's currently living in Mexico and was happy to be home.

Greg's recent act of kindness is that he gives money away.

"To not become like everybody else," Greg answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

"That I'm not like everybody else," Greg answered with a laugh, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Greg.

 

Day 327 - Shilo

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This is Shilo. We also met at a fireworks stand, one in which he owned and operated with the help of some of his friends.

If/when I do move to Hoodsport, I'm actually quite worried about finding subjects for this project.  The town is tiny, as in, itty-bitty.  Although the population swells to a few thousand people during the weekend, especially in summer months, I feel super embarrassed and unsure when approaching people in town. It feels like people are there to escape the city...not to have some weirdo asking them for their picture. The town is so small, once word gets out that there's a weirdo-woman who goes around asking people for their picture and an "interview,"  I'm afraid I will quickly become an unwanted pest.  I'm trying to be optimistic that instead of being viewed as an unwanted pest of which to avoid, I'll be received and welcomed as a quirky person with a fun little hobby, and maybe people will even look forward to the day when it's their turn to be in the project.

Luckily, for this first real trial run, there were quite a few people in for the holiday weekend and I felt comfortable hitting up the fireworks stands in search of subjects.

"Beer," Shilo joked, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Shilo's recent act of kindness is that he often gives away fireworks to kids.

"To be cool," Shilo answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Shilo's friend piped up and added that Shilo is the most well-known guy in town. "He's known for being cool," his friend said.

When I asked Shilo something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "just my life."

Thank you, Shilo.  Mr. Cool.

 

Day 328 - Ashley

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This is Ashley. You guessed it... we met at the fireworks stand owned and operated by Ashley and her family.  I showed up right at dinner time and at first, I don't think Ashley's family was too happy to see me. I think they thought I was inviting myself to dinner when I asked what was on the grill.

Ashley was celebrating her 8-year relationship when we met, and it was the happiest thing happening in her life at the time.

"To be with my family," Ashley answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Ashley something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she said that it was their business selling fireworks.

Thank you, Ashley.

 

Here's the summary of the life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To be happy.
  • Large scale empowerment.
  • Celebrating our own achievements, the gift of life, and finding our own calling in their noble and sincere forms.
  • Create loving actions, take it, share it, expand it.
  • Find the extraordinary out of the ordinary.
  • Get beyond survival, and self actualize.
  • Helping people.
  • To be cool.
  • To be with my family.

 

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

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 46

Hello! These are the subjects from week 46.

In real-time, the project just ended this past Monday, August 10th.  The blog is behind a few weeks and I will continue to share the rest of the subjects from the 365 More People Pictures project.

I finished the first project and never really wrote a full summary as I felt I should have, but instead I just dove right into this second year.  As the end of this current project was approaching, I put enormous amounts of pressure on myself that I really need to write something spectacular...or at the very least, special.  I wonder if I allowed myself to fall behind on this blog as a way to force myself to spend time in reflection over all I have learned throughout these past two years?

All of these people, all of the wisdom they've shared...it feels like I was entrusted with this and now I need to do something with it. It needs to be bigger than what it is here on my little blog.  But when I think about that, about that possibility, it becomes entirely too overwhelming for me.  I shut down, and then all I want to do is keep on keeping on...just as things are.

I just want to continue taking a picture of a person every day.  I just want to force myself each day to be brave, talk with a person, learn a little more about them,  exchange genuine warmth and interest with another person, and through it all, hopefully capture them at the precise moment in which their sparkle, or their beautiful nature, becomes apparent to me. And I want to share it with you.

A better person could make something more of this.  A better person could assemble all of these beautiful people and their beautiful messages together and create a book.  Or at the very least, a better person could write some advice to photographers wishing to challenge themselves to a 365 Day Project. Although I'm lacking the knowledge to teach anyone anything about photography, I've learned a thing or two about perseverance.   I feel like I owe it to these subjects, and I owe it to the effort I've given this the past two years, to creating at least something which will help inspire or encourage others.

For now, I'll continue sharing the subjects for this project.   Perhaps I will be able to create some final words or something bigger to thank and honor these people the way they deserve to be honored and thanked.  I may not succeed at any sort of book, or any sort of beautifully written and inspiring essay...but this process, and every subject in this project, has changed me.

 

Day 315 - Kim

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This is Kim, my sister-in-law.

Even in its final days, I appreciated this project and process because were it not for this, I wouldn't have shared this moment with Kim.  We see each other only at special occasions and holidays when the family gathers.  I realized that Kim and I haven't really talked other than to catch up briefly on the happenings of our lives, which really only scratches just the surface.  You know how that goes.

Visiting with Kim and asking these 4 simple questions, the same ones I've been asking strangers, provided us both with the opportunity to get to know each other a little better.

The happiest thing happening in Kim's life right now is spending the summer with her kids.

I asked Kim if she had recently performed an act of kindness or if she had been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  She thought about it for a moment and remembered that one of her friends had just given her some plants. Kim was feeling bad because she couldn't remember a specific example of an act of kindness which she had performed.  I laughed as I had to remind her that less than a few minutes earlier, she had given me a surprise gift of a beautiful necklace she made.  (Check out Kim's necklaces here.)   She had completely forgotten the kind gesture she had performed just a few minutes prior.

I've noticed most of the subjects in this project have trouble thinking of, or remembering, specific acts.  I think we often forget because we've performed the act selflessly.   Although it's often difficult to think of a specific act we may have performed, it's been a common trait that nearly every single one of us strives to be kind and to do kind things for others.  We can be pretty beautiful creatures.

"To be a good mom, to serve God, to be a good friend to people, and to be a good wife," Kim answered, when I asked her life's purpose.  She does, and is, all of these things.

When I asked Kim something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "I have good kids...they're happy kids."

Thank you, Kim.

 

Day 316 - Rich

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This is Rich. We met at the park.

"My recovery," Rich answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  Rich is celebrating close to 4 year, sober.  Awesome work, Rich!

I asked Rich if he had recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness.  Rich explained that he was on the receiving end of kindness in recovery and in the AA program, and now he's able to be on the giving end.  Through his work in the program, he wants to "give back to the next suffering alcoholic, the same way it was so freely given to me."  Rich had also recently paid for a guy's groceries at the store.

"To help others," Rich answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

As happens so frequently in this project, when I asked Rich something about himself which he would consider to be a success, the answer was the same for this question as it was for the first. "My recovery," Rich said, without hesitation.

Rich, wishing you the very best of luck and success in recovery and in helping others. Keep up the hard work. Keep up the good work.  Thank you.

 

Day 317 - Josh

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This is Josh.  We met at the bus stop.

The happiest thing happening in his life is letting go to a lot of his attachment to ego.

Josh was recently on both the giving and receiving end of kindness when someone reached out for some help online, and Josh was able to offer help to that person.  Kindness came full circle, when it was Josh who needed help with a situation. He put out a request online and someone was able to return the act of kindness and provide Josh with assistance and answers.

"Self-fulfillment, my spiritual quest, and discovering my true self," Josh answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  (I get it, Josh.  Sometimes I think it's the true reason I've found myself in this project.)

"Realizing that I'm something more than what I thought I was, detaching from ego," Josh answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Josh.

 

Day 318 - James

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This is James.  We met outside Hollywood Theatre.

"My son just turned 4," James answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

James' recent act of kindness is that he was treating friends to a movie.

"To be a good father and husband," James said, is his life's purpose.

Something about himself which he would consider to be a success is his family.

Thank you, James.

 

Day 319 - Arielle

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This is Arielle.

The happiest thing happening in her life right now is that she just moved to Portland, from Texas.

I asked Arielle if she's recently performed an act of kindness and she explained that she's hoping to become a volunteer at an arts center as soon as she gets settled.

"Helping people learn their full potential," Arielle answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

"I'm not a quitter," Arielle said, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  Attagirl, Arielle!  I love Arielle's answer and what I loved even more is that she didn't even have to think about it.  She answered quickly and confidently...and having been one to say that about myself, I think I have insight into her little secret.  When Arielle said the words, I think she was both congratulating and convincing her own self just as much as she was answering my question.  Keep it up, Arielle.  You're not a quitter. I can just feel it.

 

Day 320 - Joe

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This is Joe.  Although we met randomly on the street, I soon realized he was the same Joe with whom I had been working with on some personal business throughout that previous week!

The happiest thing happening in Joe's life is summer, here in Portland.

Joe's recent act of kindness is that he opened up his home to 5 friends who were on an epic road trip! Not only did he let them stay at his place, he fed them too! (And I would say he was also quite helpful and attentive to me as I was about to undertake something scary!)

"To make other people happy," Joe answered, is his life's purpose.

I asked Joe something about himself he would consider to be a success and he answered that it was being here on the west coast. He had set a goal for himself that he wanted to move here by his 25th birthday, and he just celebrated his 25th here in Portland!

Thank you, Joe. Welcome to Portland, and thank you for your help!

 

Day 321 - Erek

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This is Erek. He's my dear friend's brother.

It's so confounding.  One of my best photos ever taken was of Erek, but on this night, I could not make a decent image to save my life.  I was having some technical issues, but once that was sorted out, I should have done better.  Erik is a great subject but I just couldn't perform.

Until starting this project, I didn't have a complete understanding or appreciation of success and failure in photography.   I never understood that for one decent or good picture, there were thousands and thousands of others which weren't good, or which were actually pretty horrible. The downside of a 365 Day Project, at least the way I've approached it, is that I've had to share all of those off-days to keep the 365 day streak intact.  I've had to show everything...some of which actually make me cringe when I look at the photos. I've had to share every single mistake...the same mistakes I make day after day after day.  And then every once in a while, we have a decent picture.  I feel extremely vulnerable and naked in this project, but I wouldn't want it any other way. (For now, at least.)

The happiest thing happening in Erek's life right now is being a father.

I asked Erek if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Erek said that he always tries to be nice to everyone.

When I asked Erik his life's purpose, he said that 6 years ago, he lacked the direction to be able to answer this question but now he's certain his life's purpose is, "being a father and raising my son to grow up to be a good man."  I'm certain you're doing this, Erek.  You're a great dad.

Something about himself which he considers to be a success is that he's never tried any sort of drugs.  Although he's been around it,  he's never been influenced.

Thank you, Erek.

 

Here's a summary of the life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To be a good mom, to serve God, to be a good friend to people, and to be a good wife.
  • To help others.
  • Self-fulfillment, my spiritual quest, and discovering my true self.
  • To be a good father and husband.
  • Helping people learn their full potential.
  • To make other people happy.
  • Being a father and raising my son to grow up to be a good man.

 

Thank you for reading!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 46

Hello! We're finished with week 46 of The 365 Day People Picture Project!

If this is the first time you've stopped by, I've challenged myself to take a picture of a person, every day, for an entire year.  The pictures are taken fresh daily. I'm not stockpiling photos.  The majority of the subjects in this project have been complete strangers who I've met while walking down the street.  Also included are a few friends, family, and co-workers.

I'm not a photographer and I still haven't taken a photography class, although I'm finally registered for one in a couple weeks. (a little late, huh?)  I just wanted to see if I could do it.  I wanted to challenge myself to do something, every day, for an entire year.  I wanted to learn photography, and I wanted to have content for this newly hatched blog.  And, here we are...

Day 316 - Ty and Marlise

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This is Ty and Marlise.  We met in downtown Vancouver as they were heading to the wine festival in the park, and while I was actually taking a picture of a completely different couple who were going to be the subjects of the day.  Ty and Marlise jumped in on the other photo, much to the relief of the other couple, who then pretty much insisted that Ty and Marlise take their place as the subjects for the day and give the interview.  To onlookers, we would have appeared to have been a group of long-time friends who were stopping for a quick photo, but we were all strangers, having a great laugh together.

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I asked the couple the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and Marlise responded, "we just got married 3 months ago!"  Ty jokingly said that their wedding wasn't his happiest thing and after some kidding around, Ty turned to Marlise and said, "being with you," is the happiest thing happening in my life.   Awwwww, so sweet.

When I asked the newlyweds if they had recently performed an act of kindness, Ty jokingly said no, but then went on to say that he tries to do nice things when they're out and about.  (such as giving money to homeless people on the street corner.)  Marlise said that they had just met a woman who had just moved here from California.  The woman hadn't met any new friends since moving here, so Marlise gave the woman her phone number and they made plans to get together.  I think the woman from California just met herself a couple of fun new friends!

"Nice matters," Marlise replied, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot.

I asked the pair something about themselves they would consider to be a success.  Ty replied, "my house."  "My children," Marlise answered.

Wishing Ty and Marlise a happy new life together!

Day 317 - My Mother-in-Law

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My Mother-in-Law reminds me of a cross between Meryl Streep and Martha Stewart, with a sprinkling of June Cleaver.  Yes, she's just that nice.

I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "getting up to sunshine in the morning, my home and my flowers."  She works hard in her yard, and now she's enjoying seeing her hard work in bloom.

I asked if she had recently performed an act of kindness and she explained that she had just driven a group of ladies to the St. Paul Heirloom Rose Garden.

Like other subjects in the project, my mother-in-law was having trouble thinking of an answer when I asked if she could think of a personal mission statement, so I rephrased the question and instead asked about her life's purpose.  With that, she immediately answered, "my life's purpose is to be faithful to Jesus, take care of my husband, spend as much time as I can with my children and grandchildren, and to stay healthy."

When I asked my mother-in-law one thing about herself which she considers to be a success, she just couldn't and wouldn't give an answer.  I could tell this was an extremely hard question for her and I was struck with the realization that she truly is so selfless, that her own happiness and success comes secondary to the success and happiness of her family and friends.  I don't think she had ever considered herself in this way before.  Eventually, my father-in-law tried helping her with an answer saying that she's successful at gardening and being a grandma.  I continued to push because I thought it was important to hear her own response.  Finally, she replied, "I was very good at my job when I was employed."  (She's enjoying retirement now.)  I was so happy when she came up with an answer and that she had a moment to reflect on her life.

Thank you for letting me take your picture and for welcoming me into your family. I love you.

 

Day 318 - John

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This is John.  He seemed a little sad or stressed when we first met, but by time we were finished, we were both a little happier.

"Starting my own business," John said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  John's new company will build guitar pedals.

I asked John if he had recently performed an act of kindness.  He couldn't think of something specific, but he was sure he had done little things here and there.

When I asked John if he could think of a personal mission statement, he was stumped for a while, but again, as soon as I rephrased the question, he responded immediately and effortlessly, "to make music."

"Learning to control my own consciousness," John said, is something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

 

Day 319 - Josh

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This is Josh.

"Falling in love," is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Josh if he had recently performed an act of kindness and he explained that he had given money to a woman who is physically disabled and in a wheelchair.  She also possibly has mental health challenges as well. I knew of the woman Josh was speaking of.  I see her sitting in her wheelchair on the street corner every day on my way to work.  Josh had observed her one day and when she would ask people for money and they would decline her, she would get a little upset and say things under her breath, or maybe not quite under her breath.  Josh watched this go on for a while and then approached her, gave her some money, and then more importantly, he gave her some of his time and his kindness.  He talked with the woman, learned her name, and simply just visited with her for a while.  I'm sure she could use the money, but more importantly, I'm positive she benefitted more from Josh's kindness.

"To follow acts of kindness, compassion, love and acceptance of those I care about and those around me, " Josh replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of something on the spot.

"I've raised two amazing children who are healthy and happy," Josh said, is one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success.

 

Day 320 - Graham

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This is Graham.  We met in downtown Portland as I was just leaving the camera shop and he was leaving work.  I spotted Graham and thought he looked nice and approachable, but my hands were full and I wasn't going to ask him because I wasn't "ready" to take a picture.  Something just compelled me to ask him anyway.  Graham agreed and he was patient with me while I set my things down and readied myself.

Graham is a good-looking guy, but I was concerned I wasn't capturing it.  Although we were friendly enough before I had started taking his picture, it became awkward when the camera came out. Graham reminded me of a little kid.  When I would start to take a picture, he would get the biggest, cutest, child-like, forced, say-cheese smile on his face.  I couldn't help myself! I totally cracked up!  I could just imagine him as a kid, saying "c-h-e-e-e-e-e-s-e" when someone would take his picture.  Yes, I know I will never, ever, make it as a professional photographer because not only are my images not good enough, but I'm fairly confident that it says in the professional photographer's code of conduct handbook-  that one shouldn't laugh at their subjects.

Graham explained that he isn't photogenic and when he smiles, it doesn't look authentic.  When people tell me they aren't comfortable having their picture taken after they've agreed to let me take their picture, it means so much to me.  It makes me appreciate them even that much more, because I know they're outside of their comfort zone.  We both are.  The process of working through it together, is rewarding for us both.

Graham suggested that I should tell him a joke to ease the tension and make him genuinely smile.  I'm horrible with jokes. I know we're supposed to always have a joke in the can, but I don't.  I can't retain them.  So,  I blurted out the only thing that came to mind, I said to Graham, "ok, say this: One smart fellow, he felt smart. Two smart fellows, they felt smart.  Three smart fellows, they all felt smart."  (Try it yourself - don't read it, but just say it. It won't work if you read the words.)  Graham said it was too hard and since I didn't have a joke, he was going to tell me one instead.  Graham asked, "what do you call a pile of cats?"  I considered the question, but couldn't think of the punchline.  Graham replied, "a MEOWTAIN!!"  (get it - mountain?)  You can't say that we weren't trying!  We decided to finish the interview, and then take more pictures afterwards.

When I asked Graham the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he thought about his answer for a while and said it was a hard question. I was hoping it was because he had too many happy things to chose from and he confirmed it was.  He finally decided, "my niece and nephew."

When I asked if he had recently performed an act of kindness, I could tell he was recalling the past few days/weeks and searching his memory for a kind act.  I also got the feeling he does nice little things for people frequently.  Graham said that he had just given someone directions, and they were correct!  I laughed, agreeing that it's always more kind to give someone good directions, than it is to spin someone in the wrong direction.  (You might remember that I'm guilty of this.)  Graham just moved to Portland from California, so he was particularly pleased that he was able to be of help to tourists since he's new to the area himself.

"Always be mindful," Graham replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.

I asked Graham one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success, and he replied, "my career."

After the "interview," we took a few more pictures and continued to visit a while longer. I learned that Graham collects domain names.  He said he was pretty obsessed with it for a while, but he's eased up on it a bit.  A few of his current favorites are:  instagraham.com and sparklepony.com.    He hasn't developed them into websites - I understand the fun in just thinking of creative domain names and then procuring them as your own.  Graham now holds onto them for a year and then just releases them back into the wild.

I'm still so amazed when I have interactions with complete strangers and it ends up feeling like I've just spent time with an old friend.  I hope the people in this project have had the same rewarding experiences that I've had.

 

Day 321 - Chris

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This is Chris.  We met at the bus stop which always adds a degree of pressure since we're racing against the clock. Or, at least against the bus which could arrive at any moment.

"Summer vacation," Chris replied, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Chris if he had recently performed an act of kindness.  He replied, "yes," and then got a grin on his face. I asked if he wanted to share, and he explained that he got his girlfriend 6 birthday gifts!

When I asked Chris if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot, he said that he didn't have one, but his impromptu mission statement is: "to remember that everybody else is a person too."

One thing about himself which Chris would consider to be a success, is that he manages to go on a vacation every year.  Big vacations!  This year, he's going to Germany.  His favorite trip so far was his vacation in Paris.

The bus arrived just as we were finishing up and we were both on our separate ways.

 

Day 322 - Pam

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This is Pam.  She's actually the mother of my dear friend, Debbie. (from week 15.)  Pam was in town for Debbie and Lou's (from week 20) anniversary party and it would be my only opportunity to take her picture for the project.

The day after I graduated high school, I rode a greyhound bus from southern Oregon to Portland and Pam let me stay with her and Debbie for the summer.  Pam is yet one more motherly figure I have in my life, and one more woman that I'm certain my own real mom is grateful for.  Pam was one more woman in the  "gang of moms" who helped see to it that all of us girls were happy, healthy, and safe.

I knew I wanted to share a picture of Pam laughing. She's always laughing!  In order to do so, I recruited Becki (from week 7) to be responsible for making Pam laugh.  It worked. Actually, we were entirely too successful at making Pam laugh. (I don't even want to know what Becki was doing behind my back to make Pam laugh so uncontrollably. All I know is that at one point, Becki was sniffing my armpits.)   In nearly all of the pictures, Pam was laughing hysterically!  We actually had to tone it down a bit and compose ourselves, which was extremely difficult.  I finally decided on this picture.  Although I loved the others in which Pam was laughing,  this is a little more appropriate to share with you.

When I asked Pam the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she gestured to all of us sitting around her and said, "the togetherness of all this."

I asked Pam if she had recently performed an act of kindness. She said that she and her husband, Tommy, volunteer to deliver food for the "Meals on Wheels" program every wednesday.

When I asked Pam if she had a personal mission statement, or if she could think of one on the spot, Pam replied, "to learn to be the very best person I can be...and that means trying to be nicer to people."  Amidst the joking from the family who were sitting in on our interview, Pam started to get serious.  Pam had a health scare recently, and I can imagine it influenced her answer.  She went on to say that she's recently been thinking and seriously making an effort to be a better person because when you get "close to the edge, " you start to consider - "how do I want people to remember me?"

I asked Pam one thing about herself which she would consider to be a success and she replied, "I'm successful at being a dog owner."   I confess, I was surprised at her response because I could think of several different possible answers. I wasn't the only one surprised, because the rest of the family erupted, saying, "you're supposed to say your kids or your marriage!"  We all laughed.  She insisted that her dog is happy and she was standing by her statement.  Pam, again getting serious, went on to say that she's successful at "being close to family, to make them realize how important they are to me."  With that, I got teary-eyed, gave one of my other-mother's a hug, and thanked her for being in the project.  And then we all erupted in laughter again...and I can't even tell you about that. It was just embarrassing for us all.

jake

Pam touched on her thoughts about how people will remember her.  Pam is nice, even though she's concerned she may not always be.  She's enthusiastic, energetic, loving, and loud.  (You've got to be loud in that family!)  She's a good mom.  She's a hugger! She greets  you with a hug so big, it doesn't make sense how such a petite person can hug so big.  Pam lives.  She finds joy in simple little things like her dog, or a cup of coffee on a sunny morning.  Pam is welcoming.  Pam is someone you want to be around.  She's always reminded me of a woman who should own and run a cattle ranch, or better yet, a B&B on a cattle ranch. But yet, she very much gives off the vibe of the artist and writer she is.

Pam is an encouraging person.  She pushes you to do the things you dream of doing. Pam is a talented writer.  She was attending writing classes when I stayed with them that summer. It wasn't until I saw her passion and joy of writing, that I confessed I had my own passion for writing.  Pam told me about her classes, shared what she had learned, and she let me read her assignments.  I loved reading Pam's stories and I realized that some day, I'd like to become as skilled as Pam. Pam still encourages me to write and she's one of the few people who continues to fan my flame, so much so, that some day - I just may start that book.

Pam, you need not worry how people will remember you.  You are unforgettable, you.  Love you, Pam.

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

  • Nice matters.
  • My life's purpose is to be faithful to Jesus, take care of my husband, spend as much time as I can with my children and grandchildren, and to stay healthy.
  • To make music
  • To follow acts of kindness, compassion, love and acceptance of those I care about and those around me.
  • Always be mindful.
  • To remember that everybody else is a person too.
  • To learn to be the very best person I can be.

That's it for this week!  Thank you for following along!

My sincere thanks to each of you who have been subjects in this project. You are making it happen and I'm grateful for your kindness.   (And thank you to two of my other moms who agreed to be in the project. I love you.)  If you would like a copy of your picture, please don't hesitate to e-mail me!  I'd be happy to send it to you.

Have a big week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 44

Hello, and thank you for checking in on week 44 of The 365 Day People Picture Project! If this is your first time stopping by, I've challenged myself to take a picture of a person, every day, for an entire year.  I'm not a photographer and I haven't even taken any photography classes or lessons.  I started this blog and quickly realized that blogging is hard work! Especially when you live an uninteresting life.  I needed blog content!  Having good content also means having good images.  I had neither, but the one thing I did have was a brand new, decent, entry-level DSLR.   With subtle influences from a few different sources, the realization that my need for both content and good images, and my hidden desire to become a recreational photographer, evolved into The 365 Day People Picture Project.

When I started this project, I had dreams of developing into a talented and skilled photographer with an artistic eye.  Well, I'm not even anywhere close to achieving that, but I'm not giving up.  I simply haven't worked hard enough at this, I haven't learned enough, and I ended up not even taking any photography workshops or classes.

I've been on my own with a few books and unlimited online resources, but there came a point when I was trying to study so much and so hard, I really wasn't absorbing anything.  I was getting frustrated, feeling stupid and defeated.

Now that I'm nearing the end of the 365 days, and after reviewing my recent photos, I realize that I'm not going to magically become the artist I had hoped to become in these last few days.  That was an unrealistic expectation, especially considering that I need some experienced coaching to get where I would like to be.

These last few weeks, starting next week, I will end the project exactly how I began the project.  My objective will be to see each subject as the beautiful person they are, and simply set out with the intention to capture their unique sparkle.

Day 302 - Peter James

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Peter James was the last of my subjects from my working holiday in which I got to play tourist and stay at a hotel in Downtown Portland.  (I wasn't much of a good tourist, considering all I did was crash out as soon as we were done working.)

I asked Peter James the happiest thing happening in his life right now, and he replied, "inner personal growth."

When I asked Peter James if he had recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that he is in medicine, so he has the opportunity to perform acts of kindness for his patients.

"Self-transformation," was Peter James' answer, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement.

Peter James was pretty bashful in giving an answer when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  He looked sort of pained when I asked him the question. He explained that he's humble in giving an answer because he feels like he has lots to work on.  He finally decided on an answer, and said, "perseverance."

 

Day 303 - Andrea

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This is Andrea.  She's actually Brandy's co-worker. (Brandy was week 15.)  I spotted Brandy and Andrea outside of their shop and headed their way with the intention to say hi to Brandy, and also hoping Andrea would let me take her picture.  It was such a pleasant coincidence.  As I was walking toward their shop, I ran into Blanch (from week 37) and we were able to visit for a moment.  When I reached Brandy and Andrea, I could see another one of the subjects from this project waiting for the bus, just down the block! In that moment, I experienced another great community feeling.  In just a few short blocks, I encountered several new "friends."  All because of this project!

I asked Andrea the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "my boyfriend."  "My life is pretty great, actually," Andrea continued.

When I asked Andrea if she had performed a recent act of kindness, she explained that she was in line behind an elderly woman at the grocery store and when the elderly lady went to pay for her groceries, she realized she had forgotten her wallet at home.  Not wanting the lady to have to go all the way back home to retrieve her wallet, then come all the way back to the store to retrieve her already-shopped for groceries, Andrea paid for the elder's groceries.  She simply paid for them outright, not asking or expecting the woman to pay her back. It was a gift, not a loan.   What a sweetheart.

"Live life to its fullest," Andrea answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could make one up on the spot.

I asked Andrea one thing about herself she would consider to be a success and she replied, "my loyalty, and my children."

 

Day 304 - David

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This is David.  He didn't even hesitate to answer when I approached him to ask if I could take his picture for this project.

When I asked David about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he gestured to his camera-shy partner, Bryen, and replied, "this man right here- he's my partner in crime and my partner in life."

David and Bryen were attempting to have dinner but the Burger Bar where they wanted to eat, was closed.  Lucky for me, because had the restaurant been open, they wouldn't have been standing outside the locked doors with sad and hungry eyes, and I wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet them!

I asked David if he's recently performed an act of kindness.  David explained that when they go out to eat, they often donate their leftover meals to homeless people.  (sometimes people decline the gesture, but most often, people appreciate the meal.)

David was the third or fourth person in this project to have his personal mission statement actually tattooed on his body. (I've lost count - it's been a few though, and I love it!)  David's personal mission statement, the statement on his forearm, "endure life, be true, die happy."

I asked David one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied, "building friendships."  This was so obvious!  In the short time I had been visiting with David and Bryen, again, I felt like I had just met new friends.  I have no doubt, they build friendships wherever they go!

After we finished the picture and "interview," we visited a while longer. Knowing the guys were in the mood for a good burger, I suggested Sam's Billiards as an alternative since it was just around the corner.  We walked together since my car was parked next to Sam's.  I learned that David and Bryen had just moved to Portland, from Arizona,  the week prior.  I told them they brought the sun with them because it had been beautiful since they arrived.  They laughed and were actually looking forward to the rainy and overcast northwest weather.  David and Bryen would both be starting their new jobs in a few days and settling in to call Portland home.

Once again, this project has enabled me to be on the unofficial welcoming committee and welcome new residents to the area!

David and Bryen were nice and fun guys and I hope to run into them again some day.  A few days after David was the subject, the weather changed and we're back to our drizzly and misty Portland weather.  I was actually happy the weather changed so that David and Bryen could experience the weather of which they had been dreaming.

 

Day 305 - Dylan

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I've been seeing Dylan around for a few months now.  I often leave work at the same time he's taking a break from his job down the street.  I've known I wanted to ask if he'd be in the project for a while, but I always spot him just after I pass the entrance of the parking lot where he works.  I told myself to remember to stop if I ever see an open parking spot on the street and he's out taking his break.  Finally!  There was an open spot on the street and not just one spot, but two!  It was perfect because I'm not the best parallel parker- I sort of need a landing runway.

I realized how funny it must have sounded as I quickly rambled the explanation of my project and how I finally had a parking spot in which to pull over.  In my quick and excited rambling, I'm sure the poor guy was only able to gather enough information to feel just a little creeped out to know someone had been watching him...but he agreed to be in the project anyway.  I was pretty embarrassed after I thought about it.

I asked Dylan the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "my girlfriend, Emma."

I asked Dylan if he had recently performed and act of kindness and he said that because of the area where we work, he has lots of opportunities to perform acts of kindness. There's a fairly large homeless population in the area, so he often gives people something to eat or drink.

"What you put out into the universe, you get back," Dylan said, is his personal mission statement.  Dylan said he tries to be nice to everyone.

One thing about himself which Dylan considers to be a success - is that he quit smoking this year!!  I wished him continued success!

 

Day 306 - John and Trevor

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This is John (left) and Trevor (right).  I almost felt as though they were plants and I was being punked.

I could tell they were nice guys but they were sooooo mellow.  In their own way, I think they were playing with me- but they assured me they weren't.

I asked the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and they both agreed they were happy about summer break.

When I asked the pair if they had recently performed an act of kindness, they both replied flatly, "no."  I laughed.  I thought they were joking because they were just so dry about it.  Plus, I got a good feeling about them, so I was certain they must have performed some sort of act of kindness. They kept insisting they hadn't.  Finally, I think just to make me shut up, Trevor said that he gave his girlfriend a glass of water.

When I asked if they had a personal mission statement, or could think of one on the spot, Trevor answered first, saying, "no fun."  John then quickly fired back, "party."  "No fun," followed by "party"...see why I thought they were joking with me?

If it was a challenge to find out if they had performed a recent act of kindness, it was even more challenging to find out if there was something about themselves they would consider to be a success.  I was so thrilled when they both gave genuine answers, and quite interesting ones at that!  Trevor finally responded, "I have a garden."  John then replied, after much more pressing, "decorating."

I knew these guys were interesting.  I just have a feeling they're so interesting, they were F'ing with me the whole time.

 

Day 307 - Ryan Sollee

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This is Ryan Sollee, of the band, "The Builders and the Butchers."  I know he looks like the sweet guy who works in the IT department, but he's one hellofa badass rock star.  The sound that comes from this man is absolutely incredible!

I'm embarrassed by how badly I blew this picture.  But in my defense, I was suddenly nervous when I approached Ryan to ask if I could take his picture. I only recently discovered The Builders and the Butchers a few months ago when Ryan opened for Langhorne Slim in a solo show.  I was blown away!  Ryan's voice and lyrics are intense and some of the songs caused goosebumps!  I purchased two CD's the night of that solo show, and when I'm not listening to audio books, I'm listening to either Lucero, Langhorne Slim, or The Builders and the Butchers.

Having only seen Ryan's solo show, I didn't even know what the rest of the band looked like.  I made it a point to arrive to the show early and I spotted Ryan just as soon as I arrived.  He was talking with some other guys, who turned out to be the rest of the band. I interrupted them, asked for a pardon for interrupting them,  and then asked Ryan if I could take his picture for the project.   Ryan agreed to let me take his picture and then gestured for the other guys to join.  You know how I am about group photos - I knew I would blow it!  It was so embarrassing.  Not only had I basically ignored the rest of the band by accident, but my terror of having to take a group photo must have read on my face like I only wanted to take Ryan's picture.  I just don't do well with group photos yet. (partially because a group picture is a challenge to begin with, partially because I don't know what I'm doing, and partially because I don't have the right lens.)  The other guys told Ryan it was ok and we went outside to take the picture.  If I had only known how badly I was going to fail, I would have insisted the entire band join in the picture. (I'm convinced I would have done a better job.)

We stepped outside to take the picture but I was so busy rambling on about how much I enjoy his music, that I lacked any sort of concentration or focus.  Ryan had been giving a cute little "ta-da" sort of pose and I just babbled right through it and took the picture at just the completely wrong time.  The result was not good.  The pictures were so poorly composed and my timing was so off, you would have thought I had taken the pictures with my eyes closed. Plus, I managed to somehow capture Ryan at just the wrong moment and it made him look like a contortionist because I caught him as he was ending his cute little "ta-da" pose.  The picture shown here was my effort to rescue at least one of the bad shots I had taken, enough so that I could share something with you. I had to crop the hell out of it.  (It was nearly 1am  by time I got home and since it was past midnight, I had to use one of Ryan's pictures.  I couldn't go out to find another subject since it was technically the next day and if I didn't use Ryan's picture, then I would have missed a day.)  So, here we are.  I had an opportunity to take the picture of an amazing and talented musician, but I let my admiration for his work interfere with my mission.

I'm not a music critic or reviewer, so I don't even know how to appropriately review a band or a genre/sound, but tried explaining them to one of my friends by saying The Builders and the Butchers are a blend between rock and alt country, a little folk/americana-ish, with a sprinkling of gospel and sometimes the almost-detectable pulse of Native drumming. (or what seems to be at least a slight influence of Native drumming. I get this vibe because of my own personal life experience. I'm not certain if it's accurate or true.)

They sing about addiction and redemption, death, women...and black dresses!  After seeing the entire band live, it became apparent why I pick up on a Native drumming sort of vibe - they have two drummers! You're compelled to stomp your feet and dance with the rhythm.  Ryan's voice also contributes to that vibe.   Ryan sings with purpose and intent and some songs feel like he's given you his soul.  He's not simply singing just to entertain - it's more like a cry or a prayer.  In some songs it's more like he's giving praise or thanks. You don't just hear the music, you completely absorb the lyrics and the stories Ryan sings in his songs.

In one live show, you journey from partying and hard drinkin', meeting a woman in a black dress who drinks away her history,  you encounter some bad parents, a few deaths, you succumb hopelessly and completely into addiction, ready for death - you cry to God, "take me home."  Broken, but not yet dead, you cry out again, "find me o' find me, in the air, Lord." And then you find it...redemption!  It's like an alcohol-soaked church sermon!  And, it's incredible!

So, you can see why I got a little preoccupied and blew my picture.

I asked Ryan the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "I have a 2 year old."  This was a pretty beautiful answer considering he was about to perform a show and they just came off a tour in Germany.

When I asked Ryan if he had recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that he had asked his friend, of the band Bash Face, to open for them in the attempt to help them up.  Had I not known this, I would have missed  the sincere appreciation expressed by Bash Face for the opportunity.  Several times throughout their performance, they thanked The Builders and the Butchers and it was obvious they were excited and grateful for the chance!

I asked Ryan if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.  I noticed that it seemed like he specifically had to make the distinction between his personal mission statement, and perhaps whatever guides his music.  He replied, "try to do as many different things as possible, all the time."

When I asked Ryan one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success, I speculated the answer would be his music/the band.  He surprised me and warmed my heart when he said, "being a Dad."  He must have detected the surprise in my face as I was expecting his answer to be about the band, but he went on to say that being a Dad is way more joyous and fulfilling than being in a band.

And with that, Happy Father's Day!

 

Day 308 - Casey

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This is Casey.

"Doing good with work, earning money," was Casey's reply, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Casey if he had performed a recent act of kindness and he said that he recently helped a person out who was in a bad place in her life.

When I asked Casey if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot, he had trouble thinking of a response.  Casey is young and just beginning his life - so this wasn't surprising at all.  I rephrased the question to ask about his life's purpose instead.  Casey replied, "to be successful."   Curious, and wanting to help narrow down the focus for Casey, I asked him how he defines success.  He went on to say that success is "accomplishing your personal life goals" and "doing what makes you happy".  I remember back when I was Casey's age.  Everything was so cyclical.  He's not certain of his personal mission statement, or his life's purpose, but he has the ambition to be a success. It's like you know you want to do something, and you want to do it well, but you just don't know what that something is!  At that age, it felt like the possibilities were endless and the thought of that was also terrifying and paralyzing. I remember feeling like I can do anything I want...but I don't know what to do!  Again, I narrowed down the focus even further and asked Casey about some of his life's goals.  We were then able to break things down quite simply. The first step for Casey, is that he wants to get his own place and take care of "life stuff" such as that.  Direction!  We found it!  I'm optimistic Casey will make these things happen for himself!

When I asked Casey one thing about himself he would consider to be a success, he again mentioned his job.

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

  • Self-transformation.
  • Live life to its fullest.
  • Endure life, be true, die happy.
  • What you put out into the universe, you get back.
  • "Party" / "No fun,"  (can we change this to be - find a balance between work and play?)
  •  Try to do as many different things as possible, all the time.
  • To be successful.

Thank you to every subject in this project!  It couldn't exist without you!  Please feel free to contact me if you'd like a copy of your picture and I'd be happy to e-mail it to you.

Thank you for following along with this project!

Have a great week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 43

Hello! I'm sorry I've been behind.  Don't worry, I've continued to take a picture of a person every day. I just managed to get a little behind with the blog post.

This is week 43, of The 365 Day People Picture Project. This is actually a review of the subjects from two weeks ago.

I knew when I started this project that there would be one week during the Portland Rose Festival which could possibly break me because it coincides with our peak season at my job. I was spread a little too thin.  I also squeezed in a quick road trip back home.   I'm happy to report that the peak week (actually, more like 2 - 3 weeks) didn't break me or the project- I continued taking pictures, but it did set me back with sharing them with you.  Remember, if you'd like to follow along with the daily picture, you can follow me on Instagram. My username is @missellanea.  Thank you for hanging in there with me!

 

Day 295 - My Mom

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This is my Mom and I love her with all my heart.  Sometimes, my head and heart feel like they could burst from the love I have for my Mom.  I don't make the nearly 300 mile drive home anywhere close to as much as I would like to, or need to.  Because I don't make the trip home as often as I should, when I do, it's both happy and deeply sad for me.  I realize how much I'm missing.

Before starting this project, I daydreamed about a fantasy roster of potential subjects for this project.  For the most part, my dream list was not grounded in reality. At all.  Oh yes, I considered several celebrities, business people, authors, and even a few politicians.  When I really allowed myself to consider all actual and fantasy possibilities, I decided that the #1 person on the top of my dream roster of subjects was - my Mom!  Yes, she won over Ryan Gosling, Ashton Kutcher and Meryl Streep.  Second on my dream list (because of course, my husband was a given), is Ben Nichols, of Lucero.

Between the two of us, I don't know who makes for the more challenging subject.  I now understand where I get my aversion to having my picture taken.  I think I'm actually a much worse subject than my Mom.  She was sort of ok with having her picture taken, but she had all sorts of rules.  The biggest, and funniest, rule - was that we couldn't take her picture where anyone could see us taking pictures.  This quirk of hers helped me to understand why when I started this project, one of the most awkward feelings I had to work through, aside from approaching strangers, was having to overcome that weird issue and fear I had of other people seeing me taking pictures. (I've since learned, apparently, this is pretty common with photographers and they must overcome the fear that people are watching and judging them when they shoot.)

When I asked my mom the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she replied, "my daughter is home visiting me."  I knew this would be her answer.  Again, I was both happy and sad.  For having such an amazing mom, I really need to be a better daughter and make the drive home more often.  My visit home was also the happiest thing happening in my life.

I asked my mom if she had performed a recent act of kindness and she replied, "I take my friends and neighbors around to do their errands, go shopping, and pay bills."  It struck me, my mom's entire life has been an act of kindness.  I know there were times when I was a kid when she gave away her last few dollars to someone who needed it a little more than we did. In her business, she's been reluctant to raise prices and I know it was also out of an act of kindness.  Even when the rest of the country wasn't suffering an economic crisis, the town where I'm from has always been economically depressed.  I can remember her explaining to me one time that she knew she needed to charge more, but she had trouble doing so because she wanted to keep prices low and affordable for her clients and the women who leased a station in the shop.  I can also remember many Sunday mornings when we had a house full of people and my mom cooked and fed us all.  My mom is a good mom, but she's just a really good person too.  I'm nowhere close to being as kind and as she is, but I will continue to try.  Perhaps my mom's biggest act of kindness - is that she lovingly put up with me and my dad.

I asked my mom if she had a personal mission statement, or if she could think of one on the spot.  She didn't know if it was a personal mission statement, but she decided on, "God created us in his image and I don't want to disappoint God."  She then went on to give me a few guiding principles in sticking to this - "Actions speak louder than words."  "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."  "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

I asked my mom one thing about herself which she would consider to be a success.  She replied, "working, my job."  My mom has been a hair stylist for 57 years and counting.  Her work ethic is absolutely incredible.  I don't remember my mom ever calling in sick to work when I was growing up.  There was that one time when she dropped a couch on her foot, and if I remember correctly, she had broken a toe or even her foot - but even then, I don't think she missed a full day of work.  I'm sure she has now that she's older, but she's the type of woman that when there's work to be done - she just does it.  It doesn't hurt that she absolutely loves her work and her clients.  Her clients have become her friends and extended family. Until just this past week, she's owned her own shop for many of those years.  She unknowingly taught me that if there's something we want in life, we can simply go out and get it.  It doesn't matter how the odds may be stacked against us, and it doesn't matter if we lack the resources.  We can make things happen for ourselves if we try.  It may not be ideal, it may not be the way we dream or envision things for ourselves, it may be far from perfect or fancy - but we can attain a variation of our dreams if we simply set out to do so.

I think part of the reason I got behind these past two weeks, in addition to simply being spread entirely too thin and downright exhausted, is that I knew I would never be able to adequately express my love and adoration for my mom.  This was going to be a challenging post to write.  For someone who dreams of becoming a writer - I'm completely at a loss for finding words sufficient enough to convey my love and emotion.  I love my Mom. It's overwhelming.  Mom, thank you for being such a good mother and woman.  I can never measure up to the kind of person you are, but if there are moments in my life when I can live with even a fraction of your kindness and spirit, then I know those moments are good ones.  I love you.

 

Day 296 - Adam

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This is Adam. He was on his bike and just hanging out at the bottom of Mt. Tabor Park when I met him.  I didn't know when I approached him, but he was waiting for his family who was to meet him there.

I asked Adam the happiest thing happening in his life right now and and he explained that they had just sold their house and are moving back to the East Coast.  You'll never guess how they're going to get there?!  PEDDLE POWER!  Yes, that's right - he and his wife and son are going to ride their bikes all the way back to New Hampshire.  Several legs of their journey will actually be made by train because Adam's son is currently enamored by them.  They anticipate it will be about a 3 month journey back home.

I asked Adam if he had recently performed an act of kindness, and I felt like I was giving him a pop quiz to name the presidents.  I could see him searching his memory and then it was though he felt bad when he couldn't produce a specific act of kindness. He finally just said, "I try to be nice."   Just in the few moments we had been talking, I'm certain he must do at least a half dozen kind acts a day. He's just a nice guy.

When I asked Adam if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot, he considered the question for a while. Again, I could tell he was getting nervous and a little stressed because he couldn't think of something and he said that he wished his English Teacher wife would arrive so she could help him out.  We laughed.  When I rephrased the question to ask about his life's purpose, he replied, "I want to be the best Dad I can be, and I want to make nice furniture."  Adam is a wood worker and furniture maker.  His website, Gloaming Hour Designs, isn't completely finished but you can check out his website to see a sneak peek of his amazing work.  Did you see that dresser?  It is the most beautiful dresser I've ever seen in my entire life. (Someday, remind me to tell you about my second favorite dresser.)

We only had one last question when Adam's wife and son peddled up on their bike.  Adam gestured over to his wife and gave a quick shout out explanation as to why he was being "interviewed."  I asked Adam one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied, "I think I'm a quality person when it comes down to it.  I work at it.  I'm an alright dude."

Adam went on to explain that he didn't always feel this way. He's made a conscious decision and made effort to be honest and have compassion for people.  Adam's honest assessment and answer was inspiring.  Adam's response confirms that we can choose to be the kind of person we aspire and desire to be.  If we want to be a good and kind person, we can choose to be one. It doesn't mean we're going to become a saint overnight. We can continue to make progress, even imperfect progress, if we set our sights on becoming a better person.  It doesn't mean we're going to be kind, patient, and compassionate every waking moment of our lives - but we can strive toward it.  We are human. We will lose our patience or our temper.  We will be, at times, less kind that we could have been.  We, at times, will forget to view people or a situation with compassion and empathy.  We, at times, may "flip the bird" to an inconsiderate driver.  We, at times, may be a little abrasive with a customer service person who is simply trying to do their jobs.  But, if we make the conscious decision to be a quality person, and then give it effort to be one, we will improve. Someday, we'll be able to say, "I'm an alright dude."

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Adam introduced me to his wife when we were finished and I was able to visit with them a little while longer.  Adam's wife, in her own act of kindness, offered me a chocolate treat she had just picked up from Whole Foods.  I wanted to decline because my hands were filthy from just having done push-ups, but I'm so glad she pretty much insisted.  I don't know what she gave me, but it was the most unique and amazing chocolate experience I've ever had.  (I learned that I've been doing chocolate wrong.)  I'm now going to have to try everything at Whole Foods that even slightly resembles the treat she had given me.

Wishing Adam and his family a safe and fun journey back to the East Coast!  They're a kind couple and this is going to be about he most amazing journey for their little son. They will make memories that will last his entire lifetime, and shape the rest of his life.

 

Day 297 - Billy Bob

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This is Billy Bob.  Were it not for one small thing, you could have been looking at the very best picture I had taken in all 297 days.  But, I blew it.  Again.  I couldn't even share that picture with you.  I met Billy Bob outside of the Hollywood Theater, and you probably remember me saying that basically this whole area has been my nemesis.  No matter what side of the street I'm on, I really, really struggle with getting a good shot there. It's caused me to be determined to get a good shot - and I almost had it with Billy Bob.

I was well aware of the challenges I was facing with the direct sun and the time of day, so I approached things using my head.  I was aware of the sun, where it was in the sky, and how it would affect the picture. I took a few pictures, then moved a little to the left, a little to the right, up a little higher, then down a little lower. I took pictures with and without his glasses, and then finally - I know we were making a great picture.  It was the last picture I had taken and I knew we had nailed it.

When I got home to "develop" the pictures, I discovered a huge problem on the picture I thought was going to be "the picture" - LENS FLARE!!!  Sometimes, a little lens flare is actually kind of cool and there are even aps that add in lens flare - but in this case, it was just wrong, wrong, wrong.  The lens flare was a big spot on Billy Bob's head and it ruined the otherwise beautiful picture.  (The sun was perfectly glowing and Billy Bob was perfectly lit, and he had the most perfect, confident, yet pleasant, look on his face.)  It was one of my best pictures so far and I had really worked at trying to get that shot.  I spent close to 2 hours trying to figure out how to edit out the lens flare spot.  I just don't know enough about lightroom, in spite of the crash course of youtube videos I had watched in the attempt  to learn how to edit it out, and then clone a patch of his hair to fill in the spot once I removed it. I finally just had to give up.

Another lesson learned the hard way.  I've been really good at not picking up the habit of "chimping," but in this case, it hurt me.  "Chimping" is what photographers call the habit of checking each picture you take. The thought is, if you obsess over each picture you take and are constantly checking your LCD screen, then you're going to miss thousands of beautiful photographic opportunities which are right before your eyes. (Because your eyes were buried in your LCD review screen.)  It was a heartbreak and even if I had checked the LCD to make sure it was a good shot, there's nothing to say that we could have perfectly reconstructed that shot again.  Just as in life, the moment the opportunity has passed, we will never have that same exact opportunity again.  The flipside, is that perhaps had I realized the lens flare problem was there, we could have somehow managed an even better shot. Or, maybe not. Maybe even being off by a few inches, would have resulted in a completely different look.   Regardless, I learned that it's in there. I have it in me - I just have a lot to learn.

I asked Billy Bob about the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "I just started a new job."

Billy Bob's recent act of kindness is that he gave a Street Roots vendor $10.  Street Roots is a program here in Portland where homeless people who sell the Street Roots newspaper, are able to keep the profit from their sales.

"Enough is when there is no more," was Billy Bob's response, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.

I asked Billy Bob one thing about himself that he would consider to be a success and he replied, "my interpersonal skills."

 

Day 298 - Wynn

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This is Wynn.  He was sitting outside on a patio table, enjoying a beer, when I pretty much just invited myself to sit down with him.  Luckily, he agreed to let me sit down and take his picture.

I asked Wynn about the happiest thing happening in his life right now - and at that particular moment, he was actually feeling conflicted. He was feeling uncertain about what his future holds in that his job may be transferring him starting September 1st.  Although he was feeling uncertain about the future, he said that he's happy that it's summer, we're having beautiful weather, and he was about to meet a friend for a movie.

When I asked Wynn if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he said that he tries to do an act of kindness every day.  That morning, he had given his boyfriend cash so he would be able to tip the shuttle bus driver who would be taking him to the airport.  Wynn then went on to explained that his job as a flight attendant gives him the opportunity to do kind things every day.  Recently, a pregnant woman on his flight grabbed Wynn's attention and explained to him that she really needed to go throw up, even though the "fasten seatbelt" sign had already came on.  Wynn told her it was ok, helped her to the bathroom, and while she was in the bathroom doing her thing, Wynn had placed a bottle of water on her seat, and if I remember, he even gave her a pillow and blanket too! Wynn was so thoughtful!  The poor woman...Wynn did just the right thing to help bring her a little bit of comfort in probably an otherwise extremely miserable situation.

I asked Wynn if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.  He replied, "Don't ever let anything hold you back. Don't limit your life. Don't be afraid to take risks."

One thing about himself which Wynn considers to be a success is that he's "always going on new adventures."

 

Day 299 - Jake

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"I'm getting married, Jake said, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Jake's response was pretty much the most unique answer to this question so far.  When I asked if he had recently performed and act of kindness, he replied, "yeah, I helped a buddy clean a pig skull to mount on a wall."

When I asked Jake if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of  one on the spot, he explained that he didn't have one and wasn't necessarily on board with the idea of having one. So, I continued and rephrased the question to ask about his life's purpose. He replied, "I haven't figured that out yet."  After a talking a little while longer, he shared this, "Do good, feel good. Do bad, feel badly."

I asked Jake one thing about himself he would consider to be a success, and again, he shared with a laugh, "I'm getting married!"

 

Day 300 - Evan

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This is Evan.  This was day 300!!!!

I met Evan down at Portland Waterfront Park.  I got to be a tourist in one of my own cities for the weekend, as I stayed in a hotel in downtown Portland in order to be close to the event site where I would be working over the weekend.

I asked Evan about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, and he said, "I'm just about to have dinner with my Dad."  His dad was in Portland, visiting from the East Coast.

When I asked Evan if he's recently performed and act of kindness, he said that he feels like he does so regularly, but currently, he was helping to mentor a friend who is in the process of opening his own business. Evan is only 28 years old, but has already owned 3 businesses.

"Try to have fun with whatever is put in front of you, " Evan said, is his personal mission statement.

When I asked Evan something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he said that he made the decision to be happy.  He, like Adam from day 296, made the decision to be a nice person and he works at it.  With enough effort, he explained, you can eventually con yourself into becoming a nice person.

 

Day 301 - Gary

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This is Gary. I also met him downtown.  Having to catch up on two weeks worth of posts, has me concerned that I may have lost information.   Although I take notes in my journal, the notes are taken hastily and sometimes I can barely make out my own writing even when I sit down just minutes or hours later.  Now that it's two weeks later, I fear I've lost a bit of our conversations.

So, I'm relying on my memory and my notes and hope I didn't confuse any of the subjects from this particular weekend.  If you're Gary, Evan or Peter James and you happen to read this, my apologies if I'm forgetting something.

The happiest thing happening in Gary's life right now is that he's generally a happy person, and he had just gone for a wonderful run.

When I asked Gary if he had recently performed and act of kindness, he went on to explain that coincidentally, he had found himself in a position to be of assistance to disabled people, on several different occasions, who were having difficulties with accessibility issues.  Basically, they were having trouble entering buildings because the doors were too heavy, or too small, or basically just difficult to enter when in a wheelchair because they weren't as accessible as they could have been.  Gary was able to help them enter/exit the buildings.

"To help the world make it a better place," Gary said, is is personal mission statement.  He wants to help people, to help make our world a better place.

One thing about himself which Gary would consider to be a success is, "I have a job that helps people."

Here's the summary of the wisdom found in the personal mission statements of the subjects from this week:

  • Actions speak louder than words. 
  • Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.  
  • Judge not, lest ye be judged.
  • I want to be the best Dad I can be, and I want to make nice furniture.
  • Enough is when there is no more.
  • Don't ever let anything hold you back. 
  • Don't limit your life. 
  • Don't be afraid to take risks.
  • Do good, feel good. Do bad, feel badly.
  • Try to have fun with whatever is put in front of you.
  • To help people to help make our world a better place.

Thank you for reading along and a sincere thanks to all of you who have been subjects in this project.  It wouldn't exist without you and thank you for letting me take your picture.

Thank you!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 42

Hello!We're finished with week 42, of The 365 Day People Picture Project!

I'm preparing to get back on the road for a 5 hour drive home, so we'll get straight to the introductions of the subjects from this week.

Day 288 - Chelsea

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This is Chelsea. We only had a few minutes as she was just stepping out from work to feed the parking meter. I walked with her to plug the meter and we talked while we walked.

I asked Chelsea the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she responded, "I really want to go to Africa and things are opening up."

"Everyday kindness is a very powerful," Chelsea replied, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot. When I asked Chelsea something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she replied, "I believe in Jesus. I'm a Christian."

Day 289 - Len and Mongoose

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Len and Mongoose were soaking up the sun at Esther Short Park. I had no idea when I approached them, that Len is hearing impaired. As I asked him if I could take his picture, he gestured to his ear to let me know he was deaf. I don't know sign language, but I had paper and a pen. I sat down with Len and Mongoose and wrote a note to ask if I could take his picture and explained I would instagram the picture and then tell a story on the blog.

I was happy when Len agreed and it was fun hanging out with the two for a few moments in the bright warm sunshine!

After the pictures, I wrote another note for Len, asking him about the happiest thing happening in his life right now. Len wrote back that he and Mongoose are outdoors all the time! He even joked that he and Mongoose have ADHD and they would rather be outdoors than at home in their apartment.

mongoose3-365daypeoplepictureproject I only asked Len the one question but stayed with him and Mongoose for a little while longer. I could tell Len was happy about having his picture taken with Mongoose. He gave me his e-mail address and asked if I could e-mail him the pictures. I happily agreed and tried my best to get a portrait of Mongoose that Len would love. (I was struggling with getting a proper picture of the both of them in the bright sun, but I was pleased with Mongoose's picture and hope Len is too!)

 

Day 290 - Tanner

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This is Tanner. He was running at Mt. Tabor. Tanner is currently training for his first half-marathon in 2 weeks!

"School is almost out," Tanner replied, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Tanner's recent act of kindness is that he purchased dinner for a friend who was a little low on money.

"Progress, not perfection," Tanner replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or could think of one on the spot.

When I asked Tanner one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success, he replied, "I quit drinking and drugs." I congratulated him and we talked about how spending “happy hour” at Mt. Tabor, training, beats any happy hour around!

Good luck at the race, Tanner. As my friend Molly always says, “may your feet have wings!” Day 291 - Arthur

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This is Arthur. We met near Portland State University.

"I just had a good dinner, and I'm getting good grades," Arthur replied, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in his life.

Arthur also just finished writing a screenplay! I was exited to hear of his huge accomplishment and asked what he planned to do with it next. He laughed and said it was awful, so he'd most likely do nothing with it. Knowing we're always our own worst critic, I wanted to encourage him not to dismiss it so quickly. I also learned that Arthur just finished his own 365 Day Project in which he worked on writing a play, every day, for an entire year! Arthur has ambition and the burning desire sustained him enough to write every day for a year - I don't think this is the last we'll see of Arthur!

"Be happy for those who are happy. Be sad for those who are sad. Be indifferent to those who are wicked," was Arthur's response when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.

Wishing you lots of success with your writing, Arthur! Hmmm, if my friend Molly’s wish for runners had an equivalent for writers, maybe it would be - may inspiration always find you and the words flow easily. Or maybe it would be - may your ideas have wings! However we package the wish - may you find success!

 

Day 292 - Ambert

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This is Ambert. He was waiting outside the Hollywood Theatre when I approached to ask if I could take his picture.

When I asked Ambert about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he replied, "I just started dating a new girl." Ambert also loves his work.

I asked Ambert if he had performed a recent act of kindness and that's when he went on to explain more about his job. Ambert is a massage therapist at Asha Integrative Wellness and he considers his job as an opportunity for kindness. Ambert wants to make people happy and help them to feel better.

"Spread love and light," Ambert replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot. It was obvious in just the few moments I spent with Ambert that he does indeed spread love and light, and I was a lucky recipient.

After the pictures and "interview," Ambert gave me a hug and we wished each other well and I was on my way. Indeed, feeling happy and better!

I can't find the words to explain to you how amazing and enriching the experience is of stopping to talk with a stranger, and within a few moments, you’re exchanging hugs and well wishes with one another. Strangers becoming friends. Granted, the friendship is one of only a 5 minute duration, and we'll most likely never see one another again, but the impact of these little 5-minute friendships is life-changing. These interactions have been like a little jump-start for my heart and attitude. They give me a charge and help me to recover from, or cope with, the other times throughout the day which aren't as positive. Can you imagine if you gave yourself the opportunity to meet a new 5-minute friend each day? How would your life change? How would it affect the life of your 5-minute friend?

Day 293 - Rick

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This is Rick. He was getting gas in the car in front of me. "Going to the beach to go surfing," Rick replied, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. He was filling up and heading out to go surf!

When I asked Rick if he had recently performed and act of kindness, at first, he was stumped for an answer. Then it hit him, hit us both, actually. I had just witnessed Rick's act of kindness. Oregon still has gas station attendants who pump the gas for you and at a full service station, they even still wash your windows and check your oil. I had watched with my own eyes, Rick had just tipped the gas station attendant when they completed their transaction. That was his act of kindness! I was happy to be able to see Rick's act of kindness, and then all of the sudden it hit me. Is tipping the gas station attendant normal and "expected?" Have I been neglecting tip etiquette for all of these years? Rick and I talked about it and tipping a gas attendant is pretty rare, and makes Rick's gesture even more kind because it is unexpected, but very much appreciated. (as I witnessed by how appreciative the attendant was with Rick's kindness.) Rick also feels his job as a geologist helps him to do good for the planet.

When I asked Rick if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot, he replied, "Everyone has a place - no job is more important than another." I loved this sentiment and again, was reminded of the book, "The Leader who had no Title," by Robin Sharma. I asked Rick if he had read the book because what he had said was so in line with the message of the book. For example, gas station attendants are more than station attendants. They are people who gave us the fuel to get Rick on the road to surfing, and me on the road to work. They did more than pump gas, they gave us friendly and helpful service and set us up to have a better day! I asked Rick something about himself he would consider to be a success, and he said that he thinks he is good - morally and ethically.

 

Day 294 - Denise and Zac

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I met Denise and Zac, in Veteran's Park in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I made a quick trip to Southern Oregon, to visit my Mom, and am here now just preparing to get back on the road.

I had been around family earlier in the day, but the timing just wasn't right to ask any of my family if I could take their picture. I'm sad about that, but happy I was able to at least see them in person.

"We're on a three week road trip," Zac replied, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in their lives right now. Zac and Denise were just 24 hours into their trip when we met at the park. Denise told me about a funny sign they had just driven past in another small town. The sign outside of a restaurant read, "now serving good food." We laughed and I imagine and hope this was the first of many happy memories for them on their 3 week adventure.

I asked the couple if they had recently performed an act of kindness. They thought for a while as they were trying to recall a recent kind act. They're both sure they do everyday acts of kindness such as holding the door open for people. Denise then went on to say that she visited with some elderly ladies at a quilt shop which they had stopped into in a tiny little Northern California town. She questioned whether that was an act of kindness and we determined it was a very kind thing. Denise is a pleasant person and I'm sure it made the elderly ladies' day to have an out-of-towner from LA visit with them and sign their guest book. Denise and Zac could have very easily blown through the town in a hurry to get back on the road, but Denise took the time to hang out in the quilt shop with the elderly quilters. Kindness can be more than giving money or things to people in need. Kindness is sharing of ourselves. (Sharing the best of ourselves.)

Zac's act of kindness is that so far, he's been the driver on the first leg of their journey. I asked the pair if they had personal mission statements or if they could think of one. Denise borrowed her friend's quote - "trample the earth." She wanted to point out that the word "trample" sounds destructive but it's intention is to explore the world, not actually trampling it. Very fitting, considering they were just about to explore the west coast and Canada! Zac's personal mission statement - “live without regrets.”

When I asked something about themselves which they would consider to be a success, Denise immediately responded, "I feel like I'm pretty resilient." Zac thought, and considered, and pondered, and stewed...and then Denise suggested a response, "you're very good at over-thinking things." We laughed and Zac decided to go with it, saying that he's successful at being well thought-out and considerate of all possible options. I was happy to have met this cute and nice LA couple in the small town where I had grown up. I thought for sure I would run into an old friend at the park and it was kind of ironic to run into tourists, as I'm feeling a bit like a tourist myself.

Wishing them lots of fun and great memories, and a safe road trip!

Here’s the summary of the personal mission statements from this week:

  • Progress, not perfection.
  • Be happy for those who are happy. Be sad for those who are sad. Be indifferent to those who are wicked.
  • Spread love and light.
  • Everyone has a place - no job is more important than another.
  • Trample the earth.
  • Live without regrets.

Thank you for checking in this week. If you were a subject in this project - thank you for your kindness! Thank you for being a part of this project and sharing yourself with us.

Please remember - next week is going to be the busiest week of the year for me at work, so next Sunday's post may come a few hours late. (or possibly as late as monday.) Don't worry - i'm still taking the daily pictures but I may just need a little extra time to be able to pause long enough to share them here. You can also follow me on instagram - my user name is @missellanea.

Wishing you an excellent week and I hope you'll give yourself the opportunity to meet a few new 5-minute friends!

Thank you!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 39

Hello! We're finished with week 39 of The 365 Day People Picture Project!

If this is your first visit, I've challenged myself to take a picture of a person, every day, for an entire year.  My objective was to become proficient enough in photography so that I would be able to have images for this newly-hatched blog.  I had no idea when I started this blog that I would start this project, and I didn't know when I started this project that it would become the entire blog.

Although I've made some improvement in the quality of the pictures I take, I've realized this project took a turn and became less about photography and learning to use my camera, and more about discovering the kindness and friendliness in people, stepping way outside of one's comfort zone, and fulfilling the challenge to myself to do this thing I said I would do for an entire year.

The majority of the pictures have been of strangers, but also included are a few friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances.  I post each daily picture to instagram and if you'd like to follow along, my username is @missellanea.

 

Day 267 - Leo

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Leo.  Leo. Leo.  Wow!

I'd like to be able to tell you that because of this project, I now have an amazing eye to scout talent.  However, Leo came as quite a beautiful surprise.  As I was walking to the convention center to meet up with my friends for another dance competition, I spotted Leo immediately! I didn't spot him for the obvious reasons.  I simply saw a person who was standing still, not waiting for a bus, and who didn't appear to be in any sort of rush.  All of these increase my chances that a person will let me take their picture.  Ok, I confess, I did spot a pair of very tall legs but from where I was coming, I had no idea of the person who was attached to those legs.

When I approached Leo to ask if I could take his picture, I instantly got a great vibe from him.  He's another one of those people who just sort of oozes niceness.  He agreed to let me take his picture and made a joking remark about " don't tell my agent," which sort of just floated past me.  That is, it floated past me until I got him in front of the camera.  As soon as we started to take the pictures and as I was looking at him through the view finder, I said, "whoa, you really are a model!"  Leo confirmed, yes he was actually a model. The joke about an agent wasn't entirely just a joke.  The feeling I got with having a professional model in front of me was noticeably different to how it has "felt" with nearly all of the other people in this project.  There have been about a half-dozen people in this project who have had modeling experience or who could be models, or who are at least quite comfortable and familiar with being in front of the camera.

Other than those people, one challenge during this project has been learning how to put both the subject and myself at ease during our brief and awkward encounter.  Once we make a little connection, then the next step is to capture their image as they're loosening up and their little sparkle begins to shine. It was INSTANTLY recognizable to me, Leo was special and different. As soon as I saw him through the viewfinder, there was no waiting for his sparkle or for him to relax.  The man belongs in front of a camera! You can't miss his sparkle.

And of course, what did I do with all of his sparkleness?  Well, I froze and went from feeling quite connected and comfortable with him, to feeling horribly intimidated and inadequate!  This is going to sound bizarre but if you've been following along, you know that I battle insecurities and a lack of confidence which comes from being so inexperienced and uneducated about my camera and photography.  I felt like I wasn't worthy of taking this beautiful model's picture and I felt a great deal of pressure to perform well, given that I had such a beautiful person in front of me.

I've mentioned before, you can have the most beautiful person in front of you, but it's still surprisingly easy to take a bad picture of a beautiful person.  And I'm quite good at taking bad pictures!  The difference was Leo.  Leo's personality grounded me and helped me just to chill out, and take a damn picture.  Once I took the first picture, I was able to ease into a flow and actually "work" with him so that together, we could get a nice image.  I ended up having several decent pictures of Leo, but I intentionally chose this one.  Is this ok to say about a man? Leo is beautiful. He's quite pretty, and all of the pictures I had taken of him were beautiful and they came out just as nice as he is as a person.  You could look at the pictures and just know he is a nice person.  But I didn't want nice.  I'll explain more below.

When I asked Leo about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he replied, I'm trying out for "Grimm" and starting my own radio show."  Leo is trying out to be one of the villains on the T.V. show "Grimm," which is filmed here in Portland.  I joked and questioned whether or not they would be able to ugly-him enough to be one of the scary bad guys. (If you haven't ever watched the show, it's a pretty awesome show and the villains transform from normal-looking humans into nightmarish monsters!  Let's face it, if Leo came to you in a dream, it wouldn't be a nightmare.)  Once I learned this, it became my mission to see Leo in a way other than the sweet and beautiful person who was standing before me. I wanted to see him a little rough. So, what did we do?  We broke out the squinch! (watch Photographer Peter Hurley's Squinch video here)

In a weird twist, we went from being a pair consisting of a confident and experienced professional model + a girl with a camera who was practically shaking in her boots, to a confident and professional model + a girl with a camera who knew one of the greatest modeling/headshot techniques in the world, and I was going to teach it to him!  Yes! Can you believe it?   After settling down and in, I then explained Peter Hurley's squinch to Leo, and that the technique will result in a look that is edgy, sexy, and pensive.  He absolutely nailed it!  I was so pleased with this interaction. Leo is an amazing model, but I was able to contribute one small technique and together, we created a beautiful image.

Technically speaking, my first pictures were actually a little more technically sound as far as the focus and his positioning (composition), but this was my favorite picture and in looking at this, I believe Leo could become one of those scary villains on Grimm.  At the same time, if I opened a magazine and he were the model for cologne, sunglasses, underwear, or anything, I would be sold on whatever it is he was "selling," and my husband would be the recipient of said cologne, sunglasses, or underwear!

After we had taken the pictures and performed the interview, Leo showed me some pictures his friend shot in a makeshift studio which was his apartment.  Leo was in full make-up. I don't know the proper industry words, but he was styled quite high fashion-y, with heavy, artistic, theatrical make-up and the pictures were stunning!  Especially considering they were just taken in his friend's apartment and not an actual studio. His friend was a pretty amazing photographer, and of course, Leo is pretty amazing.  I appreciated the huge contrast between Leo's friend's professional studio-looking dramatic photographs, and my total amateur look-at-this-hot-guy-I-met-on-the-street photographs.  Although there's a marked difference in the type and quality of images, the one constant is Leo and his talent in front of a camera.

I was hoping Leo would have a website or link so that we could follow the podcast for his new raido show, but since things are in their infancy,  I'll be sure to keep track of Leo and share his progress so we can follow along.

I told you Leo was nice, but hearing this completely warmed my heart.  When I asked Leo if he had recently performed an act of kindness, he told me that he saw a homeless man who was hungry, so Leo went and bought him some food, and then he gave the man the food and $20.00.  Leo said, "he needed it."

It has sometimes been confusing and overwhelming for people when I ask the question about having a personal mission statement. This week, I've elaborated on that and explained that if it's challenging to think of a personal mission statement, then think of it as "what is your life's purpose."  When I asked Leo about his life's purpose, he replied, "to get my show going to develop culture centered around art and music."

When I asked Leo something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he replied, "the fact that I signed a new modeling contract with a new company."

I'm wishing Leo huge success with his modeling, acting and radio show and he's clearly a talented person.  To me, even more impressive, is that he was genuinely a kind and very nice person and I'm so glad I bumped into him.  Good luck, Leo!

 

Day 268 - Renee

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This is Renee, the owner of Ambiance Tan and Espresso.  Can you tell I've got a serious mexi-mocha addiction?  (ok, and maybe I've sneaked in a few assisted vitamin D sessions as well.)  Renee was the last person who I've been saving for a literal rainy day.

Apparently, Renee saw my car pull up and she told Ed (from week 33) that she just knew I was going to ask to take her picture that day and she was sort of less than thrilled about it.  After a long day at work, she wasn't feeling camera-ready and at best, she said she's not really comfortable having her picture taken.

Knowing that Rennee wasn't feeling her best or at least not feeling confident, made me empathize with her, so it was important for me to capture her as the beautiful and genuinely nice person she has been.  When you walk into her shop, you're greeted with friendliness and warmth and both she and Ed are amazing in that once you've been in - they remember you by name and by drink on the next visit.  It's pretty remarkable for them to remember your name and once you've been in a few times, you really get the feeling of belonging to a small community.

It was important to me to try to show that same welcoming warmth in Renee's picture, as she is in real life.

I asked Renee about the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she responded, "Eddy and I working as a team and that business is going well."

Renee was having trouble thinking of a recent act of kindness but then her customers spoke up for her, reminding her that she had recently organized three different fundraisers for people in need.  This reminder helped Renee to recall that she had also given a cup of coffee to a homeless person. She set it next to him as he was sleeping.

I asked Renee if she had a personal mission statement and she said that she's soon going to get a tattoo which says:  "Faith. Family. Friends. Strong."

I realize as I'm writing this post that I had forgotten to ask Renee something about herself which she considers to be a success, so I'm just going to share something I would consider to be a success, just in the few months I've been a customer.  Renee is successful at owning and running a small business and she genuinely welcomes her customers with warmth, friendliness and great service!

 

Day 269 - Oscar

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This is Oscar.  I spotted him as he was loading his groceries into his car.

I asked Oscar about the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied without hesitation, "my baby girls!"

It's pretty common when I ask people if they have a personal mission statement, or if they can think of one on the spot, for them to get this look of regret for having agreed to let me take their picture.  I end up apologizing for the job-interview-like question.  Oscar got that look on his face, but quickly replied simply, "to live right."

When I asked Oscar if he had any goals and dreams, he explained he had many, but I could tell he was ready to get on about his business. I then explained the reason I asked this question and the importance of doing so, is that I believe the more we talk about our dreams, the closer we come to realizing them.  He agreed and I can't quite remember  exactly what he said but he jumped on board in the effort to narrow his focus and start making his dreams a reality. I helped him to simplify his goals by asking him if he would identify at least 3 things.  He replied: 1) to record an album, 2) to go to France, 3) to visit his Sister in New York.

Before we parted,  I thanked Oscar and wished him well in accomplishing his dreams.

 

Day 270 - Sensei and Osiris

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This is Sensei (left) and Osiris (right).  They were on their way to skate at Mt. Tabor Park.  I workout at Mt. Tabor and on Wednesdays, the park is closed to vehicles so its a popular day and the park is filled with cyclists, walkers, runners, and downhill longboard skaters.  I knew they were excited to get up the mountain as they were getting a bit of a late start, but they agreed to let me take their picture.

Something felt off when I was in the process of taking their pictures. We even had to move places and things were still feeling different to me.  I was concerned enough that I even had to ask to take their pictures individually.  It is extremely challenging for me to take a picture of more than one person at a time.  An even bigger challenge is when the people have a difference in height.  I couldn't quite figure it out, but things just felt different.

When I got home and started to "develop" the pictures, I realized the feeling I was picking up on was two-part.  1) The decision to move spots was a good call.  I finally recognized and directed the picture in order to get a better shot.  2) That off feeling wasn't "off" at all, it's what it feels like to take a cool picture!  I'm just not accustom to it!

Sensei and Osiris were sweet kids and even though they were in a hurry to skate, they gave me all the time in the world and they were so thoughtful in each of their responses. Once again, I would have benefitted from having a recorder as I just couldn't write fast enough to record their amazingly insightful responses to each question.  It was quite impressive to hear such considerate answers come from such young people, and I realized it was their youth which was actually behind their beliefs and philosophies.  They're young enough not to have been too hardened by what life can throw at us, but old enough to have developed compassionate and hopeful ideals of people and life.  Do you remember back to when you were their age...the way you felt about life and people was quite ideal.

When I asked about the happiest thing happening in their lives, Sensei responded, "being able to follow my thoughts and ideas. I feel I can follow what is right."  He then joked but not joked, "also, Star Trek and Star Wars!"  What I gathered by Sensei's response is that he's at the point where he's coming into his own and finding himself, and he's gaining confidence in the person who is emerging.  (I could be wrong, but that's my interpretation.)

Osiris responded, "A lot of things are good right now - I'm going to Europe in a month, for two months, and this weather!"

I asked if they've recently performed an act of kindness.  Sensei responded, "I try to give people patience."  Indeed, he gave me his patience.  I think a lot of young men would have been way too squirrely in this situation.  The two of them are unique and remarkable in that they were so thoughtful and patient with me when they would have much rather been skating than answering the questions of some middle-aged woman with a camera and a project.

Osiris' recent act of kindness is that he left his un-expired bus ticket at the bus stop for someone else to use.

I asked the pair something about themselves they would consider to be a success.  Sensi replied, "being open to new things and evaluating myself with less bias."  Osiris replied, "I take pride in my compassion toward people, awareness of people and where they're coming from."  Again, the two weren't just saying fluffy words. They were living exactly what they spoke about.  They were open to letting me take their picture and they were considerate and empathetic that I'm just a beginner, and tolerant that I needed to take several pictures. They afforded me their time and consideration with their answers to my questions.  They're good guys!

I asked the pair if they had a personal mission statement or could think of one on the spot.  For some reason, they had in their minds the statement should be as succinct as possible.  As in, two-words!  I'm not sure how we got on this track but we did. Sensei responded, "love and awareness."  Osiris responded, "patience and understanding."  They both struggled with how to articulate their words into a full mission statement.   Together, we decided simply to add "to live with," which expanded their responses to be:  "to live with love and awareness," and "to live with patience and understanding."

These two completely blew me away and I felt privileged to meet such nice "kids."  (oh man, I'm old enough to be calling guys "kids" now. It's all downhill from here.) Joking aside, I was impressed by their maturity and kindness and wish these young men lots of happiness, success, and good skating!

 

Day 271 - Mat

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This is Mat.  I had exhausted my reserve of rainy-day people and it was pouring this day.  I couldn't find anyone at Tabor, so I decided to stop at a Plaid Pantry, hoping I'd be able to find a subject there. Thinking I had already taken the picture of every worker at this particular store, I was just hoping to find a customer who would give me the time to take their picture.  I was in luck!  I hadn't yet taken Mat's picture!  Just one problem - Mat got slammed right after I asked if I could take his picture.  After waiting for a while, it finally slowed down for just a minute, long enough for me to take his picture and ask a couple of the questions.

"Getting my financial aid together," Mat replied, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Mat's personal mission statement, "stick to your guns until, or unless, logic and experience prove otherwise."

It was quick, but I'm pleased with Mat's picture as well.

 

Day 272 - Christopher, Eunis, and Reba

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This is Christopher (left), Eunis (center) and Reba (right).  These three were a crack-up! And yes, I challenged myself in trying to take a picture of not just two, but three people at once!  In real life, Christopher is nearly a head and a half taller than each of us, but he didn't mind repositioning himself to make it easier for us to get everyone in the frame.

I asked the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and Christopher responded that he had just had an "incredible interview!"  "I fucking slayed it," he said.  Joking aside, he was pleased that he had overcome his insecurities about being under-qualified and decided to go for it!  This was his second interview for the position and he's clearly feeling confident!

Eunis and Reba were both happy to be out celebrating Eunis' boyfriend's 30th Birthday! Reba was happy to be spending time with her "bestie," Eunis.

I asked the trio if they had recently performed an act of kindness...and wouldn't you know it, I had met another group of social service workers!  They all agreed that their professions are ones of kindness.

Christopher's act of kindness is that he assisted a person with the process of  accessing SS benefits.  I've decided to shorten this.  We all discussed ways in which we could tell their stories without breaking confidentiality and they were incredibly considerate of the words they used so they would keep the confidence of their clients.  Having worked in the field myself, I'm also sensitive to it as well, and I've decided to shorten Chris' response even further.

Eunis gave her un-expired bus ticket to a frazzled girl at the bus stop who greatly appreciated the kind gesture and she also procured a much-needed donation for the organization where she works - they're going to receive a donation of 100 lbs of clothing for the next three months!  Reba spent extra time with a particular client, and by giving him some extra individual time and attention, she most likely set him up to have a much nicer weekend.

I asked if they had a personal mission statement or if they could think of one on the spot, and again clarified, if this is challenging, then to think of it as defining their life's mission.  Christopher replied, "justice, art and glamour."  Reba responded, "if i can be happy for one day, I can make others around me happy."  Eunice responded, "I want to find my mission. I want to find my passion."

Again, I was so glad to have run into a group of fun-loving, and fun and loving people!

 

Day 274 - Brent

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This is Brent.  We've known each other since about 1988 and he's married to one of my best friends.  And, he's one of my best friends too!

Brent attended our rival high school but we became acquainted because one of my best friends was a little sweet on him.  I helped keep stats for the wrestling team in high school, so I was the perfect cover for my two girlfriends to come to the wrestling matches.  But they weren't there to watch me keep stats - they were there to spy on Brent!  Here we are, some 26 years later and my friend and Brent are still married and we're all still the best of friends!

Brent is quietly one of the smartest people I know, and one of the funniest.  He just sort sneaks it in on you.  You don't know how funny he is at first, until he drops some of the most hilarious comments or observations on you!  He's so funny, his teenage daughter had to ban him from twitter because he was getting too big of a following and many of his followers were her friends!

I don't think either of us knew when we were in high school, that our Dads actually worked together, not directly, but close enough to where they developed a liking and a respect for one another.  Although they've both passed, I know our Dads would both be pleased that we're all still in each others lives, and all quite close.

It's been fun growing up and growing older with Brent and my girlfriends.  We've seen Brent grow from a quite mischievous kid, into an awesome husband and father.  Brent loves his family and when you meet him, you recognize it immediately.

"Seeing the kids doing well in sports and in school," Brent replied, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Brent couldn't think of a recent act of kindness but I know for certain it was only because his "memory is slipping," as Brent put it.  He and his family are ALWAYS doing some act of kindness and volunteer for several different groups.  He then remembered that most recently, he volunteered to be a waiter for the "Women's Tea" at their Church.

When I asked if he had a personal mission statement he replied, to never give up, and then settled on, "keep trying."

"My family," Brent said, is one thing at which he would consider himself to be a success.

I asked Brent if he were to challenge himself to do one thing, every day, for an entire year, what would it be?  He replied, "learn an instrument."  He explained that he'll practice for a while, make progress, and then stops, and he keeps repeating that process.

I'm so thankful that Brent and his family are in my life.  They are my family away from my real family, and I think that each of our families rest a little more assured, knowing that we have each other in our lives.

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

  • To develop culture centered around art and music.
  • Faith. Family. Friends. Strong.
  • To live with love and awareness
  • To live with patience and understanding.
  • Stick to your guns until, or unless, logic and experience prove otherwise.
  • Justice, art, and glamour.
  • If i can be happy for one day, I can make others around me happy.
  • I want to find my mission. I want to find my passion.
  • Keep trying.

 

Thank you for following along on another week of this project!  I love sharing this project with you and am so happy to have you along for the ride.

If you've been a subject in this project - I'm completely unable to express my gratitude and appreciation for you and your time and for letting me take your picture, no matter how weird it may have been.  Thank you for sharing yourself with us and this project.

Thank you, and have an awesome week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 38

Hi! We're finished with week 38 of The 365 Day People Picture Project and you know what that means?  We reached 265 days this week!  Only 100 more days to go!

I can't even believe we've made it this far because it feels like we started this project just a few weeks ago. Thank you for following along on this journey!

Day 260 - Jack

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This is Jack.  I spotted him in downtown Vancouver where he was working at a record store.

When I asked Jack about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he replied, "easily, the Trail Blazers in the playoffs!"

I asked Jack if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he said that he tries to do something every day.

"Don't be an asshole. Do what you want to do as long as it doesn't infringe on anybody else," Jack replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of anything on the spot.

I asked Jack about something at which he would consider himself to be a success and he replied, "I'm finally doing things that are making me happy. Finding happiness."  This is among one of my favorite answers so far. It doesn't matter what we aspire to do, when you think of it, we're all in search of happiness.

 

Day 261 - Diane

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This is Diane.  We met at the stairs at Mt. Tabor Park.  When I spotted Diane, I was so busy trying to analyze if she looked like a person who would let me take her picture, that I nearly missed seeing the car that she was busy watching.  Seeing the reaction in her face, caused me to look just in time to see what looked like Vince Neil and David Lee Roth driving straight out of the 80's and into Mt. Tabor Park, in what I can assume was a time machine, cleverly disguised as a convertible BMW with 80's anthems blaring on the stereo to complete the experience.

When I approached Diane, she was still taken with the BMW Time Machine and laughing about the whole sight.  I asked Diane about the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "my garden is growing."

I asked Diane if she's performed an act of kindness recently and she replied, "I help students in their time of crisis."  I assume Diane is a librarian, as she went on to explain that students often come in to the library shortly before a big project is due, and instead of nagging them about starting earlier, she just helps to put them on the right course to complete their report or assignment in time to turn it in on the due date.  Can you imagine being a student in that situation?  Diane would be such a welcomed life-saver and probably one of the few adults/teachers who would skip the lecture and just help you to do what needs to be done.  We laughed when I made the observation that it's funny because the habit of waiting till the last minute, seems to follow some of us into adulthood as well.

I asked Diane if she had a personal mission statement or could think of one on the spot, and she replied, "be kind and do things in moderation."

"Friendship, and building community," Diane replied, when I asked her one thing at which she would consider herself to be a success.

I asked Diane if she had any dreams or aspirations and clarified, "climb-Mt.-Everest" type dreams, at which she said she has actually always wanted to hike Table Mountain.  She then replied that she wants to learn to walk on stilts.  I love the idea of a stilt-walking-librarian and hope she pursues that ambition!

Now seems like the appropriate time to mention this because I need to learn from Diane's students and not wait until the last minute.  Since we're nearing the end of the project, I need to consider a few posts which will reflect back on everything I've learned in the project.  For photographers who stumble upon this project, I feel I should share what I've learned, even though it's actually painful to refer to myself as a photographer. I know I said I would stop this sort of talk. I'm working on it.  Anyway, I'd like to compile a list of things I've learned from a photography perspective, and things I've learned about people.  In the vein of not waiting till the last minute like some of Diane's students, I'm going to jot down something every day from now until the end of the project, so that I'll be ready with a closing and reflection post about this project.  (Thanks, Diane, I needed this reminder!)

 

Day 262 - Debbie and Kathy

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This is Debbie (left) and Kathy (right).  I had spotted them several times as we were all working out at Mt. Tabor.  They finished the stairs shortly after we did, so the timing was perfect for me to ask if I could take their picture for the project.

I asked the happiest thing happening in their lives right now, and practically in stereo, they responded, "going to Paris!"  They're celebrating their 30 year anniversary with a vacation to France.

Debbie and Kathy are so aligned, they basically share answers!  When I asked if they had performed an act of kindness, they both agreed that they try to do something every day, such as opening doors for people, giving compliments, and recognizing their co-workers for a job well done.

When I asked if they had a personal mission statement, or could think of one on the spot, Debbie first answered for them both, saying, "treat others the way you want to be treated," and Kathy then added, "and Pay it forward."

I'm convinced I either need to get a bigger note book, write more legibly, or just get a recorder.  I've confused my own self with my note-taking once again, so I'm just going to share that Debbie and Kathy are looking forward to retirement and working on their fitness and getting in shape for Paris.

Bon Voyage, Debbie and Kathy!

 

Day 263 - Jesse

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This is Jesse, from Ritual Arts Tattoo and Body Piercing, in the Hollywood District.  I spotted Jesse outside of his shop.

I asked Jesse about the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "there's so many! My kids are excelling, business is thriving, motor cycle riding, and gardening."  I mentioned to Jesse that the person from the day before was also happy about her garden growing and we talked about the satisfaction one feels when you can see all of your hard work start to grow.  Gardening and backyard chicken farms are huge in Portland!  If you don't personally have a garden or chickens, you know someone who does, and often, you're able to reap some of their bounty.

Jesse's recent act of kindness is that he gave things to a friend who just got her own place, and he's currently teaching/mentoring a person to tattoo.

I asked Jesse if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot and he explained that he's more of a spiritual person than religious, but that he tries to live by "the golden rule."

Having "strong integrity," Jesse replied, when I asked something at which he would consider himself to be a success.

When I asked Jesse if he had any dreams or ambitions, it was pretty amazing to watch his face as he went on to explain that he's basically realizing his dreams.  Opening the shop with his partner was and is his dream, and now he's "in the heat of it."  I love hearing people who've made their dreams a reality! It's inspiring to those of us who are in the process chasing our own.

When I got home to prepare Jesse's picture to be instagrammed, I was disappointed in myself.   I'm learning that photography is this delicate little dance with light and I'm fumbling through the dance with two left feet.  The weather changed drastically in Portland.  Practically over night, we went from our typical cloudy and rainy spring, to 80 degree bright sunshine-y days!  It has been a huge process of trial and error in realizing the significance of light.  I need to learn that I'm not leading this dance.  It seems like the sunlight, or lack of, often results in a look opposite of the look I conceive in my mind.  The upside of learning by trial and error, is that although painful, it's effective.

I was disappointed with the images I had of Jesse, and once again, I had to fight myself to not show you another picture in black and white.  Black & white is truly becoming not only my default, but my preference.  I opted to share this picture of Jesse, even though I favored other black & white versions.  Jesse, tattoo artists in general, are colorful people and I thought I needed to push myself to share this in color.  In addition, Jesse was a nice guy, and the black & white version feels a little more hard-edged than Jesse was in real life.  (All of the tattoo artists and tattooed people in this project are all pretty nice people, and I'm not sure I should be blowing their covers. Perhaps the desired look is to have a bit of an edge and here I am...telling you they've all been a bunch of sweethearts!)

I battled with my disappointment and did the best I could to make corrections in lightroom until I finally got to a point where I think the picture would pass my "would-this person-Facebook-this-photo" test.  For the remainder of this project, I need to remind myself of this objective.  I want to take pictures of people that are nice enough that when they look at them, they feel good about themselves.  In order to do that, I need to remember that I'm sparkle-hunting.  The next 100 days are about dancing with light, and hunting for a person's sparkle.

 

Day 264 - Sean

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This is Sean. He had just taken off his helmet when I approached him at Mt. Tabor.  At the time, I told him the little helmet mark would only add to the look of the picture, but when I got home, I realized I was wrong.  The indentation from his helmet didn't add to the look, it was distracting.  Sean is my first dive into a real "edit" or "re-touch."  Until Sean, I've only experimented with basic adjustments to exposure, contrast, some color/saturation, cropping and softening or sharpening.  Sean was a nice guy and he trusted me to take his picture and I wasn't about to let him down by sharing a picture with a helmet mark.  So, I did what I had to do...I googled and youtubed and self-taught myself how to make an edit with the brush and clone the un-marked area of his forehead and smooth out the indentation caused by the helmet.  I think I did ok?  If I didn't tell you, would you know?  There's just so much to learn!

I asked Sean about the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "my girlfriend."

"I held the door open for someone this morning," Sean replied, when I asked if he had performed and act of kindness.

I asked Sean about something at which he would consider himself to be a success and he replied, "I got my degree".  (in web design and interactive media!)

When I asked Sean if he had any dreams or ambitions, he said that he would like to travel to the Middle East someday.

When I asked Sean if he had, or could think of, a personal mission statement, he replied, "when I die, I want to feel like I did the best I could."  I asked/told him that maybe we should leave out the "when I die" part because it's too morbid.  The more I thought about it, I realized that Sean is totally right!  A personal mission statement guides us in living our lives so that when it's our time, we will have known that we did the best we could because we will have known what we stood for. Our personal mission statement helps us to shape our own path.  And the reality is, we will die - but knowing our life's mission, helps us to fully live.

 

Day 265 - Robbie, and "Eddie."

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I was so overwhelmed by cuteness, I didn't realize until I got home that I hadn't written down the name of Robbie's dog, but I'm pretty sure her name is Eddie.  Robbie, if you happen to read this, I'm sorry if this isn't the correct name.

Although I may have slipped on her name, Eddie was an an irresistible sight!  It's not every day you see a giant Saint Bernard strolling down the streets of the Hollywood District.  Robbie and Eddie were across the street from me and when I spotted them, I hustled right across the street. I would like to think that I stopped to check for cars first, but I'm not so positive about that one.  (One more thing to remember...while dancing with light and hunting sparkles, first stop to check for traffic before running across the street.)  Luckily, Robbie is use to all of the attention that Eddie gets and didn't hesitate to let me take his picture.  (In the time we were taking pictures, several people had stopped to remark about Eddie!)

Eddie was tiring from her walk, and Robbie also explained that as soon as the camera is turned on her, she sort of goes aloof.  She'll be doing something cute at home but when they go to take her picture, she stops the cuteness.  I'm convinced there are definitely camera-shy dogs and they definitely know what we're up to.  In addition to Eddie being a little camera-shy and tired, her dark coloring around her dark eyes, made for a challenge in trying to capture her little sparkle.  Instead of getting frustrated with myself like I used to, if I know I'm not capturing a good "portrait" of a dog, I just want to get them admiring their humans in the cute little doggie-way that dogs show happiness, love and contentment.  We don't see much of her eyes, but it's pretty clear that Eddie loves her Robbie.

I asked Robbie about the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "my fiancé and I are engaged."

"I'm happy," Robbie replied, when I asked one thing at which he would consider himself to be a success.

Robbie's personal mission statement, and his dreams & aspirations are one in the same.  He's on an "ongoing mission to be creative for a living."  Robbie writes screen plays and has made submissions to film festivals.  I'm wishing Robbie success in his mission, and when he's famous and fulfilled his dreams,  we can say "we knew him when..."

 

Day 266 - Abby

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This is Abby.  He's my Sister-in-Law's Brother.  I didn't know my family was coming to town so I was happily surprised when my Sister-in-Law called Saturday morning to say they would be at Portland State University for a Pow Wow.

Since I've already had both my Brother and Sister-in-Law as subjects in the project, my Sister-in-Law volunteered Abby to be the person of the day.

Once again, I was wishing I were a much more skilled "journalist," as Abby made for great interview. Since my journalistic skills are lacking, I'll share as much as I can remember and what I can read of my notes.

I probably haven't seen Abby since I was a kid.  This picture is when my Sister-in-Law was trying to tell Abby to look at me so that I could take his picture and of course, he didn't know who she was talking about since we were much younger when we last saw one another. I snapped this picture right as his lightbulb wen't off with the spark of recognition.

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I asked Abby about the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "my family is healthy and we're together."  Abby was the Arena Director for this event and he said that "Pow-Wowing is putting my heart at rest for my friend Lee."  Abby's  friend recently passed away and Abby selected a few certain songs to help honor his friend Lee, as a healing for himself and for Lee's family.  Abby is also happy about his spirituality, and his walks in life.  He's been having good dreams, and "dreams are powerful."  Abby is also happy that he has a good job.

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Abby works at the Warm Springs Tribal Museum as facilities maintenance.  I appreciate and admire the way Abby views his job.  He feels that his job of keeping the building clean, safe, and secure, gives him a small part in preserving culture and history.  When Abby explained how he views his job, I immediately thought of the book, "The Leader Who Had No Title." Abby's respect for his job is exactly the message the book was trying to convey...Abby isn't simply maintaining a clean facility, he is, in fact, entrusted with the safe-keeping of history and culture.  (I've been meaning to write a full review of "The Leader Who Had No Title," but since I have yet to do that,  I just want to encourage you to put this book on your must-read list and it will change the way you view your entire life, and the lives of others.)

I asked Abby if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.  He replied, "to sustain a meaningful life and to project that to those around me."  He wants people to not take things for granted.

Abby said his goals and dreams are to "live my life meaningfully, provide for my family, and sustain happiness."

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I shot a few hundred pictures at the Pow Wow and of those, I was pleased with only about 4 of them. I'll share a couple with you.   I jokingly said to my Brother and Sister-in-Law that I'll now have to attend every Pow Wow in Portland until I can learn how to shoot properly.  A Pow Wow would be a real photographer's dream.  The color and texture of the Regalia, and the spirit and emotion of the dancers, makes for beautiful and moving photographs for someone who is skilled.  I left there feeling frustrated and disappointed in myself for not being able to properly capture and honor the dancers.  A Pow Wow really is an amazing test for photographers.  Those who are skilled will leave with beautiful images and those of us who are learning, will leave with more lessons learned the hard way.  No matter what images I walked away with on my camera's memory card, I still walked away feeling a little more nourished in my head and my heart.

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

  • Don't be an asshole. Do what you want to do as long as it doesn't infringe on anybody else.
  • Be kind and do things in moderation.
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Pay it forward.
  • The golden rule  (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.)
  • When I die, I want to feel like I did the best I could.
  • ...to be creative for a living.
  • To sustain a meaningful life and to project that to those around me.

I just want to thank you if you've been a subject in this project, this week, or any week. It was a pleasure and an honor meeting you and thank you for giving me a moment of your time, and your kindness. Please remember, if you like your photo, please send me an e-mail and I'd be happy to e-mail it to you!  It's the very least I could do!

Thank you for following along so far!  I'm going to give it my best these last 99 days.  I've just got to remember to let go of the stress and pressures of trying to understand and learn ISO, shutter speed and aperture,  and I'll just remember to have fun while dancing with the light and hunting for people's sparkle.

Wishing you an excellent week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 36

Happy Easter! We're finished with week 36 of The 365 Day People Picture Project!

This week has been unique in that four of the subjects ended up being friends or acquaintances.

A heartfelt "thanks" to each of you who have been subjects in this project.  I realize how weird it must be to share a part of yourself, especially if we're complete strangers, but in doing so, you've shared with us your kindness and wisdom and I appreciate you.  We appreciate you.

Day 246 - Kacey

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This is my friend and co-worker, Kacey.  This picture was taken shortly after we finished the Race for the Roses Half-Marathon!

This was Kacey's first Half and she did awesome!  Kacey and I have been training together the past few months and we entered as *just* walkers but a little over half-way through, Kacey turned into a runner and didn't look back!  It was a pretty amazing experience to see someone you care about, dig deep down and pull something out of themselves they never knew they had.  And yes, I witnessed it all from behind her! Haha!

Kacey had been pretty insistent that she's not a runner.  We've discussed how much we would love to be able to run and we both admire and long to be runners, but we both have  weirdness/issues when we try running.  Something happened with Kacey, though.  She took off running and kept running. (a little walking here and there, but mostly running.)  She looked stronger as a runner than looked when walking!  It was amazing!

I admire and appreciate Kacey.  Our jobs are challenging and stressful because of the constant pressure of deadlines, but she manages to keep calm, no matter what challenges we send her way.  When she's finished with a hard day at work, she then starts her other job as a wife and mother. In our training, we've had the opportunity to talk and share a lot of our personal lives and I've been blown away by her insight and how she always knows just the right thing to say as a mother.  Her daughters are so lucky to have such a wonderful mom.   Her daughters will grow up knowing how much they're loved and supported, but they're also not going to be able get anything past their mom!

"Finishing a half-marathon," Kacey said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now!

When I asked Kacey if she had recently performed an act of kindness, she simply said "no."  I told her that's a "big fat lie!"  Kacey is humble.  She's constantly doing kind things for our co-workers and even strangers.  There are too many to list, but I know she's given away her last few dollars, just to help someone who needs it.   Kacey wouldn't realize this, but I think one act of kindness that she performs daily is that she's an excellent listener and counselor.  Kacey is objective and straight-forward.  She's going to tell things like they are and she manages to not coat things in so much sugar so as to make you feel like you're eating candy, but just enough sugar to help you swallow any bitter pills that need swallowing so that you can go on about the business of getting better.

I asked Kacey if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on-the-spot.  Kacey replied, "one foot in front of the other."  This is pretty much an expected answer from someone who had just finished their very first half-marathon!

Kacey replied, "being a good mom," when I asked about one thing at which she would consider herself to be a success.  Yes, indeed!  Kacey is an excellent mom.

Kacey was just a kid when we met.  She started working this job in High School and just celebrated 20 years with the company.  Although she's mature beyond her years, it's been a privilege to see her grow from high school student to an amazing wife, mother and manager.  I feel so lucky she's a coworker and friend.

 

Day 247 - Jason

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This is my friend, Jason.  He's a big guy, about 6'4" or so, and heavily tattooed and pierced.  He's an intimidating sight, but he's the gentlest teddy bear you'll ever meet.  One thing that struck me when we first met, is that he and his guy friends (some of whom could also look intimidating if you didn't know them) always give each other hugs every time they see one another.   It doesn't matter if they last saw one another a day ago or a decade ago, you can count on the fact that they're all going to share a big group hug, and it's often followed by, "I love you, Brother."

"My little girl," Jason said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Jason if he had recently performed an act of kindness, he replied, "everyday."  He tries to do something each day, and this day's act of kindness is that he helped an elderly lady get her shopping basket off the bus.

I asked Jason if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one and he replied, "push my own envelope and never stop learning."

"Being a Dad," Jason said, is something at which he would consider himself to be a success.

 

Day 248 - Phil

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This is Phil.  He and his friend were talking on the sidewalk when I approached them to ask if I could take their picture.  Phil's friend was leaving but Phil agreed to be in the project.

"I quit smoking, finally," Phil said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked Phil if he had recently performed an act of kindness, at first he replied, "I don't know the answer."  He thought about it for a while and then replied that he cooked dinner for his wife.

I asked Phil if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot, and he replied, "to love people."  Phil is a musician at the Church where he works and he feels  that through music, he's able to use his talent to help share love.

I've tried to introduce this question a few times but it's actually rather awkward. I haven't quite figured out the most succinct way in which to present this question so I've just fumbled through it a bit. As a result, the answers have been pretty broad.  I asked Phil his dreams or ambitions, and he replied that he dreams of being a Dad one day.

I asked Phil one thing at which he would consider himself to be a success and he replied, "I'm an honest person.  Authentic."

I enjoyed talking with Phil and when we finished, again, it felt like I had just finished talking with an old friend.

 

Day 249 - Carolyn

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This is Carolyn and she's pretty awesome!

At 68 years young, 69 next month, Carolyn can do 35 push-ups in a minute!  She works out several times a week and she's a paddler on a few different Dragon Boat teams.  She's a petite woman but she's a powerhouse!

I jokingly said that we should take a picture of her doing push-ups in case there were any nonbelievers.  She laughed, and said, "do you want to? I'll do it!"  She then proceeded to drop down in the middle of the parking lot and do push-ups!  I didn't want her to because I didn't want her to ruin her cute pointy-shoes, but she just went for it!

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I asked Carolyn the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "Everything!  I'm so blessed."  Carolyn feels blessed with family, health, lots of friends and financial stability.

I asked Carolyn if she's performed a recent act of kindness and she said that one thing she likes to do is to smile at people who look down or unhappy.  We talked about the huge impact that a smile can have on a person. I've noticed this at the grocery store. I now intentionally smile at people no matter how stressed I may be feeling at the time.  I give other shoppers smiles because they may be feeling even more stressed than I.  This is so easy to do and when you connect with a person, it's pretty moving to see their mood lift, simply because you cared enough to give them a smile.

I asked Carolyn if she has a dream or aspiration, and she said she has lots of "Bucket List" dreams, and she's pushing herself to be the best that she can be.  She's trying out for Team USA Dragon Boat Team, and going to Italy for the World Championships.

"To always be open to grow, and listen to the lessons that the universe has for you," Carolyn said, is her personal mission statement.

I asked Carolyn one thing at which she would consider herself to be a success and she replied, "I'm not afraid to take a risk. I'm not afraid to try new things. I'm not afraid to fail."

In addition to being a sweet and kind person, Carolyn is an inspiration.  After finishing with the picture and "interview," I thought a lot about the things Carolyn had said.  Truly, the fear of failure is one of the biggest obstacles which prevents us from realizing our dreams.  I thought long and hard before doing this project and I remember being nearly paralyzed from fear.  I was so afraid of sucking as a photographer and not having the stick-to-it-ness to do this project.   It wasn't until reaching that "so what" point, that I was able to begin this project.  I let go of my fear of failure.

I'd like to add to Carolyn's mission statement by including; take a risk, try new things, don't be afraid to fail.

 

Day 250 - Lance

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This is Lance.  I met him walking down the sidewalk and asked if he would be in the project.

"I think I'm getting a new job," Lance replied, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Lance if he's performed an act of kindness and he replied, "yes."  I didn't want to pry, but Lance is a social worker so he's another person whose profession is an act of kindness.  I don't know the professions of every person in this project, but it seems we have a high number of social workers who have been subjects in this project.  I think that says a lot about them and the vibe they give off.  I've somehow managed to gravitate to a high number of people who work in social services.  I suspect I must be subconsciously picking up that they like people, and the likelihood will be high that they will let me take their picture for the project.  Working with and helping people is their passion and their calling, so it makes perfect sense that I've been able to get a good vibe from them, even when just passing them randomly on the sidewalk.  They're doing what they were meant to do.

I asked Lance if he has a dream or ambition and he replied, "I want to live a comfortable life and to be as present as possible."   Lance decided that, "to be present," is also his personal mission statement.

One thing at which Lance would consider himself to be a success, "I'm good at helping people."

 

Day 251 - Josh

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This is my friend and former co-worker, Josh.  We didn't know each other when we were younger, but we're actually from the same small town in Southern Oregon and, coincidentally, we ended up working together at the same shop in Portland!

I've mentioned this several times, but taking pictures and "interviewing" friends/acquaintances has, at times, been even more challenging than when working with strangers.  I get so nervous because I want to do a nice job and take a picture they'll  love.  The added pressure has caused me to blow it.  However, I'm pleased with this picture considering the background we had to work with was the Burger King drive through.

"My family," Josh said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Josh if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of something on the spot.  He replied, "to help people to learn and be inspired."   This is perfect mission statement to help guide him in his new job teaching screen printing.  I can't think of a better person more suited to teaching people the art and science of screen printing.

When I asked Josh about one thing at which he would consider himself to be a success, he replied, "being flexible in life."

Josh had a hard time answering a few of the questions and I let him off the hook knowing that he needed to get home to his family.  I asked if he could text me his answers but since he didn't, I'm just going to answer for him.

I think the reason he had such a difficult time answering the question about a dream or ambition, is because his life is now completely fulfilled.  His family and new job are his dream come true.  It makes me so happy to see that a friend is so happy.

 

Day 252 - Michelle and Brett

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This couple is as sweet in real life as they are in this picture!

It's still quite a struggle for me to take a decent picture of a pair or group, but I'm determined to work through it.  I just need to challenge myself more and approach more groups and couples instead of avoiding them.

"Our Baby," Michelle said, is the happiest thing happening in their lives right now.

When I asked if they had recently performed an act of kindness, they bashfully avoided the question.  Their friend then jumped in, saying, "they always do!"  Michelle then answered, "we give good tips!"   Brett said that he also just helped his neighbor change a flat tire.

When I asked if they could think of a personal mission statement, they decided on, "Live. Love. Laugh."

I asked the couple if they had a dream or ambition and they replied they want to make lots of money for home, and to be able to take nice vacations.

When I asked about something at which they would consider themselves to be a success, Michelle replied, "being a mom and wife."  Brett replied, "being a father and step father."  Michelle also added to Brett's response, telling him that he's a good provider.

I love summarizing the personal mission statements of each subject. Seeing them all together is starting to form one heck of an inspirational message!  This week, the subjects have taught us;

  • One foot in front of the other
  • Push my own envelope and never stop learning.
  • To love people.
  • To always be open to grow, and listen to the lessons that the universe has for you.
  • Take a risk. Try new things. Don't be afraid to fail.
  • To be present.
  • To help people to learn and be inspired.
  • Live. Love. Laugh.

This week has been another extra special week because I was reminded of the kind and great people I have in my life.  It's been an amazing experience meeting all of the new people in this project, and I feel privileged by knowing the amazing people who are already in my life.

There are still a few months left in the project but my mind is really starting to get concerned about "what's next!?"  For a moment, a very brief moment, I entertained the idea of a new challenge for next year.  I thought about the possibility of next year's challenge to be a picture of a different band every single night for an entire year.  I couldn't contain my excitement about this idea, and then reality set in and I realized what a huge, huge undertaking it would be. It would be an incredible and amazing challenge, but just not one I'm up for. Yet.  Can you even imagine?  It could be done, but I just don't think I'm the person for that job.  We'll see.

Thanks again to all of the subjects in this project and thank you for checking in on another week of this project. It's been an honor having you follow along and I can't thank you enough for your support.

Wishing you a Happy Easter!

See you next week!

 

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 35

Hello! Thank you for checking in on week 35 of The 365 Day People Picture Project!

If this is your first time stopping by, I've challenged myself to take a picture of a person every day for an entire year.  I had no idea how to even use a camera when I started this project and I had no real photography experience, other than a few snaps over the years with a point-and-shoot film camera.

The majority of the subjects in this project have been strangers, but also included are a few family, friends, and co-workers. The pictures are taken each day - I'm not stockpiling pictures for use at a later time.

The project has evolved slightly and I now ask a few questions of each subject. I ask the same questions of each subject.  Although the questions are the same, I've had wonderfully unique interactions with each and every person in this project.

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

 

Day 239 - Dwayne and Maple

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I met Dwayne and Maple down at Esther Short Park in Vancouver.  I didn't realize when I stopped them that they were on a mission to meet up with their family at the playground, so I tried to be quick.  "My family," Dwayne said is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Dwayne if he had performed a recent act of kindness and he said that he had just given his neighbor's car a jump-start.   He also said, "Every day is an opportunity for an act of kindness when you have kids."

In my attempt to hurry our "interview" so that he could meet up with his kids, I flubbed my note-taking.  I asked Dwayne if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on-the-spot, and he replied that it would be to keep his family and his own self in good health. (I can't quote this, because this is my interpretation of my hastily written notes and my memory. I'm not sure which is more reliable in this case.) Dwayne said that he also likes a saying which hangs on the family's refrigerator.  He couldn't remember it exactly, but it says something along the lines of; "be kind, fairness, compassion, and love."

By this time, Dwayne was signaling to his family that he would be right over. I can imagine they must have been wondering if I were a persistent sales person and perhaps they were strategizing a rescue plan.  I asked Dwayne if there was something at which he would consider himself to be a success but I practically answered for him, "being a Dad," he agreed.  Dwayne said that he's constantly striving to be a better Dad, to be less self-centered and more compassionate.

 

Day  240 - Molly

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Molly was just starting her Tabor workout and I had just finished mine.  Actually, I had finished quite some time before meeting Molly but I had been hanging out and waiting for a subject.  Several people had declined me that day and then it seemed like the park was empty for a while.  I used to get so disappointed when this would happen. Now when it happens, I actually get a little excited with anticipation because I know I'm going to meet someone extra special.  As soon as Molly pulled up, I knew she was the person I had been waiting for!

When I approached  Molly to ask if I could take her picture for the project, she seemed interested in the project but she reeeeeaaally didn't want to have her picture taken.    When a person doesn't seem to want to have their picture taken, I normally don't persist.  When I'm declined, I just thank them and walk away.  When I first started this challenge, I would leave feeling quite deflated but now it's no biggie.  However, for some reason, I just wouldn't walk away from Molly.  I persisted and encouraged her that she would make for a great subject.  I'm so glad I did! Once again, Molly did indeed turn out to be an extra special person.

The happiest thing happening in Molly's life right now is that she just returned to school for the first time in 30 years.  I jokingly asked Molly if she had any first-day-of-school nightmares and she laughed saying that it is easier to work than it is going back to school! School is a lot more challenging now.

When I asked Molly if she had recently performed an act of kindness, she told me that she had just re-connected with a friend with whom she had been out of touch for 20 years, and is now helping that friend cope and deal with his recent diagnosis of cancer.  Molly has fought, and is winning, her own battle with cancer.  She's able to say things to her friend that others can't say, because she's been there.  Molly is a nice and gentle person, but I can also feel her strength and straight-forwardness.  I can imagine that she is a source of great comfort and strength for her friend.

Molly's impromptu personal mission statement - "Be Curious.  Stay Open.  We're all going to be fine."   I'm happy Molly was open to being in the project.  She's a kind person and I'm glad we met.

I asked Molly if she could name something at which she considers herself to be a success and she replied, "I'm a good friend."  I have no doubt she is.

Meeting Molly was just another reminder that you never really know the battles one is dealing with in their life.  Wishing Molly and her friend good health and healing.

 

Day 241 - Roz

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Roz was waiting at the bus stop and of course I approached him when his bus was only a  block and a half away.  We quickly snapped the picture and we only had time for one question. I asked Roz the happiest thing happening in his life and as he was about to board the bus he replied, "I'm going to marry my fiancé."

 

Day 242 - Rob

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Rob was just arriving at Tabor as I was about to leave.

I asked Rob the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "I just finished making a ukulele!"  Now that he's made it, he's learning to play it as well.  I couldn't resist telling him about the time I saw a man driving down the street in a Prius and simultaneously playing a ukulele.  (True story! Yep, that's Portland!)

Rob's recent act of kindness is that he took a sick friend to get medical care and he now visits him while he's in the hospital.

I asked Rob if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one.  He replied, "stay strong and take care of each other."

When I asked Rob if there was something at which he would consider himself to be a success, he replied, "napping!"  Thanks, Rob.  I now have two things at which I would consider myself to be a success.

Rob is a DJ and you can check him out at Orographic on Soundcloud.

 

Day 243 - Tristin

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This is Tristin. He and his dogs were starting their daily Tabor walk when I approached them.  Although I now love the challenge of trying to get a nice picture of dogs and their humans, I could just tell it wasn't going to happen that evening and didn't push it too hard.  Tristin later told me they do this walk every day.  I was definitely interrupting the dogs and their routine and I'm sure they wanted to get on with their park business. With a little more time and patience, I'm sure we could have got a decent picture of Tristin and both dogs, but I didn't want to slow them down any longer.

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The happiest thing happening in Tristin's life is that his partner just returned from her trip to India.

When I asked Tristin if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot, he decided on, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I asked Tristin if there's something at which he would consider himself a success and he explained that he cuts old bottles and repurposes them to be glasses.  I was hoping he had a website or etsy shop where we could see his work, but right now he's just doing it for himself and friends.

Have you noticed how many men in this project have identified their relationship as being the happiest thing happening in their life?  I'm learning men are a lot more sensitive and sentimental than we give them credit for.

 

Day 244 - Annie

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I had a hair appointment in NW Portland on Friday evening and I was looking forward to finding a subject afterward.   Most of the pictures in this project have been taken in the same few parts of town, and are of people I've met or run into during my typical day-to-day happenings.  It's fun when I'm able to explore and search for subjects in a different part of the city.

My hair stylist's shop is in a busy part of town but once again, the moment I stepped out in search of a subject, it's like the sidewalks cleared of all life and I was left there without any options.

I wandered around for a while and after being declined by a person, I decided to head back toward my car. On my way back, I spotted Annie.  Again, I was struck with the thought - oh, this is who I'm supposed to meet today!

Annie had all kinds of style happening but the two things that caught my eye were her metallic silver wedge booties and her hair.  When I approached Annie, it seemed like she had a lot on her mind and places she needed to go.  I asked if I could take her picture for the project but she was hesitant to agree.  I told her I was certain she would say yes because she's wearing metallic silver shoes.  I think that logic worked! If you're the kind of person who likes to wear metallic silver shoes, you're probably the kind of person who would be open to letting a complete stranger take your picture for her little project.

Annie is another one of my favorite pictures so far.  In addition to Annie being beautiful, the lighting was in our favor as it was early evening and the sun was setting.

I asked Annie the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "I'm happy I serve Jesus."

When I asked Annie if she had performed a recent act of kindness, she said yes but I had to inquire to learn more.  She explained that her friend was just diagnosed with cancer and Annie is going to take care of her friend's daughter.  I was saddened to hear of Annie's friend but imagined that her friend must find some relief in knowing her daughter is going to be loved and cared for.

Annie had difficulty finding a personal mission statement, saying that, "I'm just grateful."  I could tell she wanted to articulate that into something more, and together we sort of talked through things and agreed that "to live a life of gratitude," is just about one of the best mission statements one could have.

One thing at which Annie would consider herself to be a success is "teaching preschoolers the word of God."

I knew the very first picture I had taken of Annie was a "yes" picture, but I took a second just to be sure.   I will figure out how to articulate this into words for you, but for now, I can only say that it's been a rare but exciting and satisfying feeling when I know we made a good picture.   I'm not yet able to explain the feeling  when the subject and I are connecting.  If we're connected and in sync,  I'm somehow able to press the button just as the subject's internal light begins to flicker which is identifiable by the sparkle in a person's eyes.   If you can time it just right to catch a person's sparkle, I don't think it matters what camera you're using or what your experience is as a photographer,  it's going to be a beautiful picture.

 

Day 245 - Johnny

day245-365daypeoplepictureproject

This is Johnny.  We met outside of the Portland Expo Center.  We had just gone through packet pick-up for the Race for the Roses which is on Sunday.

I knew immediately I had a challenge - caps make shadows, especially when the sun is shining.  It didn't matter.  Johnny's Rose Festival Cap is one of the first things I spotted on him, so I just went for it!  In this case, I'm ok with the shadow..  It makes me want to look a little deeper to get a better peek of Johnny's eyes.

The happiest thing happening in Johnny's life right now is that he's running two races, two weekends in a row!  Wow!  He's doing the Race for the Roses Half Marathon this weekend and then he's running another race next weekend too!

When I asked Johnny if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he replied, "I try to do something every day."  Johnny said that he likes to interact with people.  Johnny drives for a living and he jokingly said he hasn't flipped anyone off all year!  That's actually a pretty big accomplishment if we're all being honest.

I asked Johnny if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one.  He said he would borrow the quote, "Train. Race. Beer."

"I've been married for 12 years," Johnny replied, when I asked about one thing in which he would consider himself to be a success.

Wishing you good luck and fast times, Johnny!

Our take-aways from the subjects this week are:

  • Keep your family and self in good health.
  • Be kind. Fairness Compassion.  Love.
  • Be Curious.  Stay Open.  We're all going to be fine.
  • Stay strong and take care of each other.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  • Live a life of gratitude.
  • Train. Race. Beer.

Thank you for reading this right now!  If you've been a subject in this challenge - I can't thank you enough.  I appreciate you and I'm sure when we met, I didn't do an adequate job of showing you my appreciation.  Thank you for your time and for sharing yourself with us.  If you would like a copy of your picture, do drop me an e-mail and I'm happy to e-mail you back with your picture.

If it is your routine to read the weekly review on Sunday morning, I'll be doing a half-marathon as you're sipping your coffee and checking out the people for the week.  If only I could take my camera along on the marathon!  We'd really have some fun then!

Have you given it any more thought about a "Meet someone Monday" challenge  in the vein of "Throwback Thursday," -  where we could share pictures or stories of a stranger you met during the week?  This has been such an amazing and life-changing experience, I just want other people to experience it too!

Thanks again for your continued encouragement and for following along in this process.

Have a fabulous week!