365 More People Pictures - Week 28

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

 

Day 189 - Angela

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This is Angela.

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Angela!

 

Day 190 - James

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, James!

 

Day 191 - Bill

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This is Bill.  We met on the street.

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Bill!  Good luck with your show!

 

Day 192 - Colin

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 193 - Anthony

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Anthony!

 

Day 194 - Taylor

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This is Taylor. We met on the street.

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Taylor!

 

Day 195 - Christopher

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Christopher!

 

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

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

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

 

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

Thank you!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 26

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

 

Day 175 - Lowell

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This is Lowell.  We met outside the mall.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 176 - Walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Walker.

 

Day 177 - Boo

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Boo!

 

Day 178 - Benny

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to Portland, Benny!

 

Day 179 - Richard

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Richard!

 

Day 180 - Kayla

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This is Kayla.  We met at a coffee shop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, beautiful Kayla.

 

Day 181 - Alvin

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Alvin!

 

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

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

 

Thank you for another week!

365 More People Pictures - Week 7

Hello! Week 7 is a wrap!

Day 42 - Teri

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This is Teri.  She was walking her dog at Esther Short Park when we met.  Teri quickly and happily agreed to let me take her picture and I should have realized then, it was because she's a photographer and she "gets it."

I learned that Teri has been a photographer since the age of 4!  She's a highly sought-after, fine art photographer from New York, and her specialty was nudes.  She recently moved to the Northwest to chase another dream of becoming a Park Ranger.  I enjoyed hearing about the the contrasts in Teri's life.  Teri moved from the east coast, big city, big art world, to pursue life on the laid-back left coast and to become a park ranger.  She said that being closer to nature has filled her with new inspiration and she now has an opportunity to concentrate on landscape/nature photography.

Teri and I made for such a funny pair.  You would think that we should have made for a great team, but I was busy being nervous about wanting to do justice to an accomplished artist, and Teri was busy being nervous about allowing herself to be in front of the camera instead of behind the viewfinder and in control of the process.  I found it so ironic that Teri has been up close and personal with nude subjects, but she's totally camera-shy when she's the one in front of the lens.  I can totally relate. Having my own picture taken is a miserable experience.   We finally both just had to let go and have fun with it!

I asked Teri the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she said that she just returned from a vacation on Maui.  The Maui trip was also the act of kindness Teri received, as it was a treat from a friend. As we were mid-interview, another woman approached us in the park and thanked Teri for the print she had just given her. The woman told Teri she had just hung it, and was remarking how much she loved it.  I interjected that not only had Teri been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, but it sounded like she had also just given an act of kindness as well.

"To live life to the fullest," Teri answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement.

I asked Teri something about herself which she considers to be a success and she answered, "being nominated for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award."  Teri clarified that she didn't win, but still, having been nominated was still quite an honor.

Teri explained that her site isn't up-to-date, but you can check out her work here.

I feel fortunate to have met Teri and I enjoyed listening to her, and trying to learn from her.   She even extended an offer for me to consider her as a resource as I get deeper into the process, and perhaps someday host a pop-up show to thank all of the subjects in this project.  (Which is something I've been dreaming of, but I've just become overwhelmed at how to actually execute a showing or celebration party for subjects from the first 365 Day Project.)

Thank you, Teri.

 

Day 43 - Elliot

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This is Elliot.  He was near the Hollywood Theatre, waiting for his friend to arrive.

"School is starting, I'm very happy about that," Elliot answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Elliot if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and he said that his mom recently gave him a nice set of knives.  I agreed this was an excellent gift because a good set of knives could possibly last his entire lifetime.

"Power to the people," Elliot said, is his personal mission statement.

When I asked Elliot something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "aside from the beard?"  Haha! Such a great answer!  He then circled back to his return to school and that he feels successful having finally figured out that he should be an English major.

 

Day 44 - Drew

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This is Drew.  I spotted him on the sidewalk.

"I got a new job," Drew said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Drew was just recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness, in that his friend gave him free tickets to a show.

Drew wasn't sure about a personal mission statement or a life's purpose, saying simply, "I'm just trying to get by."

I asked Drew something about himself which he considers to be a success and Drew answered, "graduating college."

Drew has a job in his field of study, so right now - it is a success when someone has a job and it's actually in the field for which they attended school!

 

Day 45 - Julie

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This is Julie.  She was waiting at the bus stop when we met.

I worked late on Wednesday and it was dark by time I left.  I was concerned because I'm now out of practice when it comes to  shooting in the dark.  Especially considering, I'm trying to learn how to shoot without a flash in low light and when it's dark.  It's NOT easy.  Until Julie, I don't think I've ever managed to take a nighttime/dark photo  that wasn't complete blurry or just horrible. Julie was great luck and she was patient with me as I tried both a flash and non-flash picture.

The happiest thing happening in Julie's life right now, is that she's working her dream job.  Julie is the owner of the Julie Lawrence Yoga Center.  Julie also feels this is something about herself which she would consider to be a success.  Julie followed her dreams of becoming a professional dancer, which lead her to her now dream-come-true situation of running a yoga studio.

I asked Julie if she had a personal mission statement and she explained she actually has a 5-part mission statement:

1 - "Experience and share love."

2 - "Seek out learning opportunities."

3 - "Be physically active."

4 - "Remember to laugh and play."

5 - ...

You know that feeling when your mind goes blank on you?  Well, that happened when Julie attempted to give the 5th part of her 5-part mission statement.  The bus was approaching us, we needed to hurry, so we just left it at 4.  Four excellent little nuggets for us to remember!

 

Day 46 - Becki

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This is my very dear, and very special friend, Rebecca.   Yes, she may look familiar to you from last year's project. It was almost exactly a year ago when Becki was a subject in the first 365 Day People Picture Project.  It's been fun to include my friends in the project and I try to take their picture when we get together for their birthday celebration.

"My family, my husband and my kids," Rebecca answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

I asked Becki if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and she replied, "Yes! Tonight...birthday gifts and an amazing dinner!"  We got together for dinner and laughs with the family and our other friends, Debbie and Lou.  When it came time to take Becki's picture, it was pitch dark outside and I couldn't even tell what these two were up to.  The sneaky little photobomber is our friend, Debbie.

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I asked Becki if she had a personal mission statement and she answered, "life's too short.  Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today because you might not be here."  Becki would know.  She barely survived what could have been a fatal car accident, shortly after we finished high school.  The crash, and her rehabilitation, were both life-changing and life-affirming for Becki.  Since then, she's become the most generous person I know when it comes to sharing love, laughter and happiness.

I asked Becki something about herself which she would consider to be a success. "My family, friends, and my volunteering," Rebecca answered.  Rebecca is always donating her time and efforts to one cause or another.  I'm completely awestruck with her life and how she makes time for work, family, volunteer work, and fun!  She'll be the first to tell you - she makes time for fun and she makes sure that we all make time for fun too!

Becki, I'm so glad you were born.  Happy Birthday, dear friend.

 

Day 47 - Sky

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This is Sky.   She was waiting at the bus stop when we met.

The bus would soon be approaching, so again, we had to keep things at a fast pace.  I quickly shot three pictures of Sky and then asked the interview questions.

"I'm really excited to go back to school," Sky answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

I asked if Sky has been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and she immediately replied, "yes, many times!"  But she explained she couldn't think of a specific example at that moment.  This is so common.  Several people seem to have a general sense and feeling that the world is kind to them, but usually the pressure of me asking for an example, makes it difficult for them to think of something specific.

"I'm all about my family, and I like to make my family happy," Sky answered, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or a life's purpose.

When I asked Sky something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she also circled back to starting school again.  Sky is only 20, but she already has 4 years of college under her belt!

I'm glad I bumped into Sky...brains, beauty, and a such lovely person to visit with.

 

Day 48 - Brian

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This is Brian.  We met at Esther Short Park.  When I approached Brian to take his picture, he agreed quickly, gave me a big smile, but then his expression changed and I couldn't get a read on what was happening.  Not wanting to keep him from anything, I asked if he was in a hurry.  He said that he had time.  The area is somewhat tourist-y, so I asked if he lives around here.  Brian then said that he's homeless.

Damit.  Damn.  Damit.

I've intentionally avoided asking people who are homeless if I could take their picture. The reasons are many, but basically, it is out of respect.  It is out of respect for their situation, and in wanting to preserve dignity.

I had already asked Brian if I could take his picture. It would have been more disrespectful and painful to abort, than it would be to move forward with the picture and interview.  And, from our very short interaction up until that point, I already got a good vibe from Brian.  I was already in.  I already cared.

Brian and I shared an intense and brutally-honest conversation.  The kind of conversation that is so intense, it's probably not even one that he's been able to have with his friends or family.

I hate addiction.  I hate that some people are born with different wiring.   I hate that some people are fortunate to have been born with a dimmer, but other people are born with an on-off switch.  For those people born with an on-off switch, there is no in-between.  There is no, let's turn-up-the-lights-just-a-little-and-have-a-cocktail-with-dinner setting.  There is only on, or off.  Once the switch is flipped and the person is exposed to a mind-altering substance, it's on all the way.  The hungry addiction receptors are fired up and begging to be stimulated and fed.  Once the switch is flipped, it's so easy for a person to abandon and lose everything they are, everything they were, and everything they hoped to become.  It's so easy to lose your footing when you're a person  born with a switch instead of  a dimmer.  Once you lose your balance on the tightrope of addiction, the fall may not be swift, but it is certain.  Once you've fallen off the tightrope completely, you don't even know, or care, that you're falling...as long as it feels good on the way down.

Not every person born with a switch instead of a dimmer,  falls to the point of homelessness.  Some are fighting the battle from the comfort of a warm and cozy home, but the battle is still life-destroying nonetheless.

Brian had a good life.  He was married.  He had a great job. He's soft-spoken and personable, and his intelligence is apparent in his articulate speech. Brian has just finished his time squaring-up with the law, and has intentions to go back to school.  He had intentions, that is, until he sabotaged himself.  Again.  Brian is feeling frustrated and disappointed with himself and he can't understand why he keeps repeating the cycle no matter how much he's ready to make the change for good.  He's so close.  I know he can flip the switch to off.

My canned interview questions seemed so ridiculous, given the circumstances.  I apologized to Brian.  I told him I was still going to ask the questions I normally ask, even though his situation is a difficult one. I explained the questions have been stealthily designed as an exercise in gratitude. (and inspiration and motivation as well.)    I hoped he would feel better and more optimistic when we were finished, but I knew there was a huge risk that the questions could result in him feeling more helpless and hopeless.

I asked Brian, if he could think of anything happy, in spite of his situation.  He shook his head, "no, nothing," Brian answered, as he appeared to hold back tears.  "Nothing?" I asked.  "No, this is pretty much the highlight of my day," Brian said.  "Well, we have that in common, because this is the highlight of my day too," I shared.  I pleaded with Brian to consider that every day he wakes up, every day that he's alive, is a reason to be happy.  "If you're alive, there's hope," I added.   Brian agreed, reluctantly at first, and then said "yes, I'm alive."

I asked Brian if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and he said that a woman at a church gave him a really nice sweater/jacket,  and then he turned to show me the jacket on his backpack.

I asked Brian if he had a life's purpose, or a personal mission statement.  Brian answered,  "to not to fall back into drug addiction."  I wanted Brian to walk away from our interaction feeling filled with hope and having a plan.  I wanted to hear the words from Brian about his next step in life.   No matter who we are, or what our circumstances, the more we share our plans or intentions, the closer we become to making them a reality.  I wanted to hear Brian tell me that he was going to get back on the waiting list for treatment.  I wanted to hear Brian tell me his plans to get financial aid to return back to school.  I wanted to hear Brian say the words that he will find a living situation and get off the street.  It was important to hear Brain say all of those words and lay out all of those plans, because I wanted Brian to hear the words, and believe them.  I want Brian to be one step closer to making his plans become reality.  He's got them. He's got the plans and a foundation is built.  I pray Brian can be freed from a life of addiction and reclaim his life, or a new and better one.

I apologized to Brian for "mom-ing" him, and told him I believed he could do it.  I believed he could get himself together. Brian needed to hear that another person believes in him, so that maybe he'll believe in himself.  Brian knows where to get help, and how to get help.  I dream for the day in our country that when a person is ready to get clean, the resources are there for them to do so.  The free program here in the area often has a waiting list to get into the residential treatment facility, and by time a person gets to the top of the list, they may be back out using again.

After we finished, I asked Brian if he had food for the day.  He answered, "not really."  I told him I had some in my car, if he wanted to walk with me.  We talked while we walked.  Brian openly and honestly shared the Cliff's notes version of his life story with me, and now it was his turn to ask questions about mine.  He mainly wanted to know about the project, and why I was doing it.  "What's the objective?" Brian asked.   I, also giving the Cliff's notes version, explained that I just wanted to see if I could do something every day for a year.  I pointed out the similarity between doing a 365 day photography challenge, and being clean and sober.  I took one picture a day, and before I knew it, I had strung together an entire year's worth of pictures without any gaps.  Brian understood and confirmed..."just like being clean and sober...one day at a time, and before you know it, you've got a year."

We reached my car and I unlocked the trunk and gave him all I had.  He asked, "do you always drive around with sack lunches in your car?"  "Yes, I try to," I answered.  "They're for the people I may meet...who may be hungry."   We talked just a few moments longer, we both thanked one another, and I told him once more that I believed in him...hoping he'd feel it enough to believe in himself.

If you're the praying kind, could you say a prayer for Brian and anyone you know who struggles with addiction.  May they be free.

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

  • To live life to the fullest.
  • Power to the people.
  • I'm just trying to get by.
  • Experience and share love.
  • Seek out learning opportunities.
  • Be physically active.
  • Remember to laugh and play.
  • Life's too short.  Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today because you might not be here.
  • I'm all about my family, and I like to make my family happy.
  • To not fall back into drug addiction.  

Thank you to each and every subject from this week, and in the entire project.

Thank you again for following along.

Have a great week!

 

 

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 52

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 358 - Bob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 359 - Phil and Sean

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 360 - Sanman

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

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

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

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

 

Day 361 - T.J.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 362 - Nick

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 363 - Ophelia Darkly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you success, Ophelia!

 

Day 364 - James

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you next week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 50

Hello, and thank you for checking in on week 50, of The 365 Day People Picture Project. If you're just checking in for the first time, I challenged myself to take a picture of a person, every single day, for an entire year.  When I started this project, a year seemed like so long that I couldn't even allow myself to imagine the end.  I could only focus on one day at a time, otherwise it seemed an impossible challenge.  Now that we're down to only two weeks left in the project, it seems like the past 50 weeks have flown by and I'm not ready for the project to end.

Let's just get down to business, shall we?

 

Day 344 - Jaisa & Anne

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This is Jaisa (left) and Anne (right).  Anne and I went to the same high school in Southern Oregon, and coincidentally, ended up moving and living within a few miles of each other in the Northwest! We had no idea we were even in the same town, but my co-worker's son played on the same sports team as Anne's sons, and one day they both connected the dots and realized they had a mutual acquaintance...me!

Jaisa and I were co-workers for several years.  Jaisa was 18, going on 28, when we started working together.

Anne has been a project-saver several times this past year.  There were several days, especially during the winter months, when I couldn't find a person, or it was just too stormy to go outside in search of a subject.  On those days, I'd meet up with Anne and her friends and find a subject at a bar/pub.  Were it not for Anne, I'm sure there were days I would have just thrown in the towel!

It was Anne's birthday and I wanted to finally get her picture for the project.  Jaisa had politely brushed me off the other times I'd asked  her, so this day - I finally got them both!

I asked them both the same questions as always, and amazingly, it was quite the therapeutic session for us all.  One that resulted in laughter, tears and hugs.  Not only has this project enabled me to connect with complete strangers, but it even aided in reconnecting with old friends!

"My son and his happiness, and his success and well-being," Jaisa said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Jaisa is always at the same level - you can't find a more even-tempered person than she.  However, when it comes to her son, her emotions are pure, raw, and intense. Her love for him has been evident since the day I first met her, some 19 years ago.

"My Birthday, surrounded by friends and family, and the boys are doing great," Anne said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Anne's sons are now both in college and their success gives her joy.  Anne was a star athlete when we were in high school, and her sons take after their mama in that respect!

I asked Anne and Jaisa if they had recently performed an act of kindness.  I was sort of shocked at how much of an impact this question had on them both.  Anne and Jaisa were rather distressed that they couldn't think of an act of kindness.  Jaisa, at one point, said, "I really have to think about this, it's serious to me."  After much consideration, Jaisa responded, "I opened up my home for a friend's wedding reception."  Jaisa was beating herself up that she couldn't think of anything else, but hosting a wedding reception at your house is a huge undertaking and a huge act of kindness.  Anne responded, "I'm always nice to people."  Anne works from home, so other than her cat and her roommate, she doesn't get to interact with people throughout the day, so the opportunities to perform a physical act of kindness, are fewer for her.   When Anne gave her answer, I realized that I have never, ever, heard her say an un-kind word about anyone, and she is always extremely friendly and nice.  Both Anne and Jaisa have devoted the past several years of their lives to raising their sons to be nice young men.  Raising nice young men and sending them out into the world, is an act of kindness for us all.

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I asked them both if they had a personal mission statement, or could define their life's purpose.  Jaisa responded, "to be successful and to be a provider for my son's future."  Jaisa went on to say that her life exists for her child and her husband.  Even though her son is now a grown adult and on his own path in life, she still continues to plan for his future, and she wants to be able to leave him with a sense of security.

"To find my future, to find my happy, " Anne said, is her life's purpose.  Anne's focus has been on raising her sons, and on her son's happiness. Now that they're on their own path, she realizes it's time for her to find her own happiness.  She's going to allow herself to be open to possibilities.  "I want to be in a loving relationship," Anne said.

I asked Jaisa and Anne something about themselves which they would consider to be a success.  Jaisa said, "my marriage and my son.  I have the most amazing husband and the most amazing son."  I pushed my friend for even more, and she replied, "I made it through the school of hard knocks."  Jaisa has pushed herself and survived a less-than-ideal childhood, and has gone on to become one fine woman.  She carries herself with confidence and class.  Anne's answer; "my boys - hands down.  They are happy, successful, well-liked people,"  Anne loves it when she hears people saying positive things about her sons, not even knowing that she's their mother.

Thank you, beautiful ladies, for being in this project!

 

Day 345 - Dave

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This is Dave.  He was parked right behind me and we were getting into our cars at the same time.  I took the opportunity to ask him to be in the project.

"I just got married," Dave said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Dave if he had recently performed an act of kindness.  "Nothing's coming to mind," Dave said.  I reminded him that it was an act of kindness that he let me take his picture.

"Never settle for the mediocre," Dave said, is his personal mission statement.

I asked Dave something about himself he would consider to be a success.  Dave responded, "I'm a great foosball player."  I laughed and told Dave that had he answered air hockey, then I would have challenged him to a game.

 

Day 346 - Pete, Nathan and Grace

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This is Pete (left), Nathan (center), and Grace (right.)  We met in the crosswalk as I was walking around, looking for a subject.  Knowing there are only a few days left, I pushed myself to take a group photo.  If you've been following along, you know how intimidated I am by group photos.  Ok, so I was secretly hoping one or two of the group would push one person into being the subject of the day, but all three agreed to let me take their picture, so I just had to make it work.

My new lens, a 50mm prime,  is so superior to the kit lenses I've been using.  Its superiority and performance actually bring with it even more challenges than before.  It's so powerful, on auto or any of the scene modes, it beautifully blurs the background. This is desired for a portrait, but not in a group photo.  If not set correctly, a group photo taken with the new lens will result in the person who is closest being in focus, but everyone else will be blurred.  The day before meeting these three, I had attended a very beginner photography class and the main take-away from the class, was that I need to push myself. (Yes, I know - pretty ridiculous that I finally took a photography class just days before the project ends.)  I need to stop being scared and intimidated and just experiment.  Having gained a little confidence from the class and knowing the challenges I was facing with the group and the lens, I was able to properly change settings and get a picture.  Yes, composition was lacking, but I was happy to get three people, in the frame, and have them each be in focus.  I chose this picture in particular, because Grace's genuine look of happiness on her face, makes me feel happy.  I don't think you can look at these three and not feel happiness and fun!

I asked them each the happiest thing happening in their lives right now.  Pete responded, "just everything in general.  I'm feeling less anxious."  Nathan, an artist, answered, "just painting."  Grace said, "I just moved into a new apartment."  Grace is happy she now has her own room!

I asked Pete something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  "work, my career," Pete answered.

I asked Nathan if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.  "focus on art, keep doing art, never stop doing art," Nathan responded.

I asked Grace if she had recently performed an act of kindness.  Her recent act of kindness is that she gave a gift of a drawing she had made, to a person she didn't even know very well.  She also returned her roommate's act of kindness by making him a cup of tea.

 

Day 347 - Samir Gonzales

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This is Samir Gonzales.

I asked Samir the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "that it's summer!"

Samir's recent act of kindness is that when he spotted someone breaking into a car in the parking lot, he got the license plate number of the suspects and called the police.  The police were able to apprehend the suspects a few blocks away!

I asked Samir if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot. Samir responded, "stay happy."

"I've gone through a lot of hard stuff this year and I've gotten through it," Samir responded, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

 

Update on the Person from Day 2 - Trenton

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This is Trenton.  He was day #2 in this project!! We just happened to run into each other!

After I had finished taking Samir's picture and as I was walking back to my car, I spotted a familiar looking person.  As we crossed each other in the crosswalk, I asked, "hey, what's your name?"  He responded back, "you took my picture!"  We stopped to visit and I couldn't help but notice the beautiful baby in his arms.  I asked Trenton if he had his baby when I had taken his picture.  Trenton said that he learned he was going to be a father right after he had been in the project.  It's been less than a year, but Trenton went from being a young man, to being a man and father.  It was awesome seeing him and his new little one, and I was struck at that moment, just how much things have changed this past year. Changed, yet, the same.  What a cool experience this has been!

Fatherhood looks great on Trenton, and I know he's an excellent Dad.

My husband was day #1 in this project, so Trenton was the first stranger I approached to ask if I could take their picture. Having had such a positive experience with Trenton, set me up with the confidence to carry on.  Trenton was nice and seemed interested in the project. Had I been rejected on the first attempt with a stranger, it's possible I may have bailed on this project before I even really got started.

 

Day 348 - Tamela

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This is Tamela.  Tami is my friend's friend, but that makes her my friend too! We met up at Ecotrust's Sundown Concert Series, to see The Builders and the Butchers. The Builders and the Butchers put on another awesome show!

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It's been close to 5 years since I've seen Tami.   It's sort of ironic that we re-connected at a concert together.  Tami is the the whole reason I discovered that I love attending shows/concerts by myself.  Years ago, when I couldn't find anyone who could go to a Lucero show with me, our mutual friend suggested I go alone.  She told me, "just go by yourself, Tami does all the time!"  What?  It's possible for a woman to go to a concert in Downtown Portland, all by her self!?!  I thought sure, Tami could to it.  Tami is Tami.  She oozes confidence and she's a totally uninhibited free spirit.  But, I didn't think attending a show alone was something I could ever consider myself doing.  My love for Lucero out-weighed my personal insecurities and I went to the show alone.  I haven't stopped since!  I've reached the point now, where I prefer going to shows solo.   I'm free to get lost in the music and the moment, without having to be responsible for making sure someone else is having a good time.  I will always be indebted to Tamela for showing me that it's perfectly acceptable for a woman to go out in this world and have fun all by herself!  It's ok to be a lone wolf.

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I asked Tamela the happiest thing happening in her life and she first responded, "I love this question! I ask people this question all the time!"  Tami then answered, "my family is my happiest thing; my husband and my dog."

When I asked Tami if she had recently performed an act of kindness, she explained that she's intentionally tried to perform at least 1 act of kindness a day.  Most recently, she paid the toll for someone behind her.

"Spread love, hope, and the possibility that you can have anything you want," Tamela responded, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on-the-spot.  Tami is the type of person who forges her own path in life.  She's always had an entrepreneurial spirt.  She's never let fear of the unknown, or fear of failure, prevent her from doing what she wants.  If she has a business idea, she goes for it!  If she decides things aren't what she wants, she simply changes course.

I asked Tamela something about herself which she considers to be a success.  Tamela replied, "my ability to activate and motivate myself and others... I'm an activator!"  Tamela is a Take Shape for Life coach and she's enjoying the success of her clients and wants to help as many people as possible.

Thank you, Tamela for being in this project!

 

Day 349 - Dustin

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This is Dustin. I just spotted him when I was walking down the street, in search of a subject.

"A new baby," Dustin answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Dustin works for a coffee company and his recent act of kindness is that he left two bags of coffee on the porch of his new neighbors!  A neighbor who brings you coffee is pretty much the best neighbor in the world.

"Laughter is the key to life," Dustin said, is his personal mission statement.

I asked Dustin something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied, "finding my wife."

 

Day 350 - Mary

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This is Mary.  We met at the 3 Days of Aloha, Hawaiian Festival.

I asked Mary the happiest thing happening in her life right now, and she didn't say a word...she just moved her hands to her tummy, rubbed it, and then the source her beautiful glow became totally obvious to me.  Mary is expecting another baby!

Mary's recent act of kindness is that she added more time to a stranger's parking meter.  She also feels like she's been on the receiving end of other people's kindness because she's received so many gifts.

"Love, loving people," Mary said, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or could think of one on the spot.  Mary's mission statement is influenced by her practice as a Yoga Teacher.

I asked Mary something about herself which she would consider to be a success. Mary said that her daughter is a success, but also that she had gone through some challenges but she was able to remain true to herself.  She didn't let the challenges change her.  "I'm still me."

Best wishes to you and your growing family, Mary!

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

  • To be successful and to be a provider for my son's future
  • To find my future, to find my happy.
  • Never settle for the mediocre.
  • Focus on art, keep doing art, never stop doing art.
  • Stay happy.
  • Spread love, hope, and the possibility that you can have anything you want
  • Laughter is the key to life.
  • Love, loving people.

Thank you to each and every subject in this project!  This wouldn't exist without your willingness to share a little bit of yourself with us.  Thank you!  Please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like for me to e-mail your picture to you.

Thank you for following along with me on this project.  Your interest and encouragement helped to carry me along when I questioned myself for even starting such an undertaking!

Have a great week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 48

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

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

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

 

Day 330 - Tom

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This is Tom.

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

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

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

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

 

Day 331 - Devaun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 332 - David

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 333 - Joey

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 334 - Naomi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Day 335 - Nick

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

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

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

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

 

Day 336 - my Aunt Nancy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

See you next week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 47

Hello and welcome to week 47 of The 365 Day People Picture Project!

I want to first mention that I experienced something quite exciting this past week.  I received an e-mail from someone, Hana,  who stumbled upon this project.  She complimented my efforts and said she had also been considering something similar, and wanted to reach out before starting her own project.  Of course I encouraged her to go for it!  Learning that I contributed some inspiration to another person, was pretty much a dream come true for me!

Hana didn't waste any time!  After e-mailing back and forth for just a couple days, she started her own 365 Day project! If you've enjoyed this project, I encourage you to follow @artysci on Instagram and check out her blog at www.artysci.co.uk.  Wishing you luck and success, Hana!

Day 322 - Marietta

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This is Marietta.  She had been delayed in her tear-down/pack-up efforts from having worked the Recycled Arts Festival all weekend, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to ask if I could take her picture.  She quickly agreed, and I later learned that she may have been quick to let me take her picture because her son is a photographer.  I love it when I happen to meet photographers or people who have a photographer in their family, because they get it.  They don't think it's weird to have a complete stranger ask for their picture.

I asked Marietta the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she paused for a moment, then looked over to her adorable little schnauzer who was waiting patiently in his kennel, and she replied, "I'm happy that my dog is well."  Her dog had experienced a medical scare but came out on the other side and is doing well.

When I asked Marietta if she had recently performed an act of kindness, she said, "I lost $50 and I'm sure someone must have found it."  I was impressed with her positive outlook.  She's certain someone found it and she hoped it had made their day or that it helped the person who found it.  She genuinely hoped the finder of the lost money was happy and her sincerity was obvious.

"What I put out, I get back," summarized Marietta's personal mission statement.  She explained that she tries to think about what would be good karma in everything that she does.  This helped me to understand Marietta's sincere wish that the person who found her money was helped in some way.

I asked Marietta something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she replied, "that I raised three wonderful boys."

 

Day 324 - Jonathan

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This is Jonathan.  He was so patient with me as we tried to locate the best spot for us to take a picture. The sun was shining brightly and causing the trees to cast shadows everywhere.  We finally had to wedge ourselves in a little alcove behind the bottle recycling machines at Whole Foods.  Jonathan was such a great sport about the weird location of our quick little shoot.

"I'm about to have 6 English Mastiff puppies," Jonathan said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  I can't even imagine the cuteness overload!

Jonathan's recent act of kindness was that he had given someone food.

"To be 100% - mentally, physically and spiritually, all the time," Jonathan said, is his personal mission statement.

I asked Jonathan one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied, "I'm a drummer."  Jonathan is a drummer in a reggae band and here's a video from a while back.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG0w4jr_Dpc

 

Day 325 - Alex

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This is Alex.  I went into Plaid Pantry (convenience store) the other day and Juan (from day 236) happily announced that Alex was new and I'd have another new subject for the project!  Alex, before he even knew what he was agreeing to, confirmed that he LOVES having his picture taken!  I laughed and told him I'd be back before the end of the week.

"My music," Alex said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  He debated between answering that it was his girlfriend who was the happiest thing happening in his life, but decided on music.  Alex and his girlfriend are actually in a band together, so he sort of covered both with this answer.

I asked Alex if he had recently performed an act of kindness and he replied, "I work here!"  His job gives him the opportunity to share kindness with his customers who are people from all walks of life.  He then went on to say that most recently, he discovered a bees nest, so he "warned" other pedestrians to stay clear of the bees. (which was an act of kindness for both the people and the bees!)

I asked Alex if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.  Alex replied, "to make people feel again."  Alex went on to explain that he's in 4 bands and he wants to move people with what he says, both on and off stage.

When I asked Alex something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I'm in 4 bands!"

Alex's 4 bands are:

  1. Alexander S. Hormann - Solo
  2. Lazy Finger - The band he's in with his Girlfriend
  3. Vince Yawn - Punk
  4. Soccer Moms - Alternative

Alex is full of personality and true to his mission statement, he definitely made me feel happier after meeting him!

Day 326 - Luis

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This is Luis.  Although I didn't see it, Luis had just taken a spill on his skateboard when I approached him to ask if I could take his picture.  He agreed to let me take his picture, but he was wincing in pain.  I thought I should just let him be, but I could also tell I was a bit of a healthy distraction for him so I decided to carry on.  Luis was sitting on his skateboard so I decided to sit down on the grass with him in order to take his picture.  Just then, it hit me... C-R-A-M-P!!!  My foot/leg started to cramp, and poor Luis was still wincing and tending to the bruise forming on his shin.  We would have been a funny sight were we not in so much pain!  I had to hop back to my feet to make the charley-horse subside, but Luis couldn't do a thing about his injury.

I asked Luis the happiest thing happening in his life right now and through the pain, he replied, "having a child."  Luis' face lit up when he responded, even though he was hurting.

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Luis was having trouble remembering if he's performed an act of kindness, but pretty much the only thing he could think of was the pain he was feeling.  I reminded him it was kind he had let me take his picture.

I asked Luis if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on-the-spot.  Knowing he wasn't thinking of much at the moment, I rephrased the question and asked about his life's purpose.  "To support my kid, is my first goal," Luis answered.  I looked down at the bruise forming on his leg and asked curiously, "do you want your kid to be a skater?"  He looked down at his hurting leg, rubbed around the bruise a bit, and answered that he wants his son to do what makes him happy.   In a flicker, I could see in Luis that he wants both to protect his son from the bumps and bruises that skateboarding/life dishes out, but he wants him to enjoy the ride too.

"Being a father, " Luis answered, when I asked one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success.  Wishing Luis and his family a lifetime of happiness!

 

Day 327 - Sir Charles Wiggins III

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This is "Sir Charles Wiggins III."  He looked like he had someplace to be, so our interaction was short and efficient.

"My 3 1/2 year old daughter," Sir Charles Wiggens III said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked "S.C.W.III" if he had recently performed an act of kindness and he answered, "I would like to think so," but he couldn't recall a specific act.  Again, I reminded him that he let me take his picture.

"Live, grow, and thrive," Sir Charles Wiggins III answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one.

I asked one thing about himself he would consider to be a success and Sir Charles responded, "being content."  I love this answer!

 

Day 328 - Eric

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This is Eric.  I spotted him taking pictures in the park so I figured he would most likely let me take his picture for the project.

"Vacation," Eric said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now. Eric is here vacationing from California.

I asked Eric if he had recently performed an act of kindness and his friend helped to remind him of the answer.  "I bought Voodoo Doughnuts for the family this morning," Eric answered.

"Enjoy life to its fullest," Eric answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.

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

Best wishes for a happy vacation, Eric!

 

Day 329 - Ben

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This is Ben.  Ben asked me for directions and it gave me the opportunity to ask him for his picture!  I was struck with the realization that Ben was the first person in this project to approach me first.  After meeting Ben, I was so glad that he had gotten turned around.  I would have never met him had he found his destination.

I asked Ben the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he responded immediately, "growth!"

Knowing that people often experience an explosion of personal growth and development after having experienced something "bad," or at least not positive, I asked Ben if something bad had happened.  Ben then went on to explain that there are two types of growth - growth away from something, or growth toward something.  In Ben's case, the growth he's experiencing is a result of him being an incredibly driven person and his growth is toward building a really amazing future.

Talking with Ben feels like you're talking to a motivational speaker.  I couldn't help but catch a little of his enthusiasm and it's just what I needed.  I've been feeling a little blue about the project coming to an end and not knowing what I would do next, but then Ben happened.

Ben's words stuck with me and I wanted to learn more.  I figured Ben's wisdom must have come from a source,  - a psychological or philosophical theory, or perhaps a famous author on personal self-development.  When I got home, I googled to see if I could find the source and learn more.

I had created a dilemma in my mind - for example, if a person who experienced a terribly sad break-up decides to pick up the pieces of their broken heart and trudge on, is their growth away from the pain, or is it toward happiness?  Or is it both?   When a person with an addiction breaks free from that addiction, is their change to grow away from the pain and devastation caused from their addiction, or is their growth toward living a healthy and productive life?  I wanted to learn more, but my search didn't reveal the author, psychologist or philosopher behind this thought.  Instead, I discovered a whole lot of information about plants and phototropism.   You know how plants often grow toward the direction of the light?  That's phototropism.  I learned that when plants grow toward the light, it's called positive phototropism.  When plants grow away  from the light, it's called negative phototropism.  In my little botany lesson, I better understood what Ben was explaining to me and I reached the conclusion that although positive or negative phototropism is meaningful for plants, for humans - it matters not if we're growing away from something (negative), or toward something (positive), it matters most that we're just continuing to grow.

I asked Ben if he had recently performed an act of kindness and he explained that he had offered to help a group of people who are looking to improve their lives.

"To develop myself so that I can offer others as much as possible," Ben said, is his personal mission statement.

I asked Ben something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he said that he's able to experience "where I am in the moment, and have peace."

I left Ben feeling a bit of a boost.  Like the sun is for plants, Ben is like a light source for humans.  You can't help but experience a little growth and renewal when you're around his enthusiasm. His genuine desire for self-improvement and to be of service to others is contagious.  Ben told me his dream was to become a teacher.  He realized his dream, and now he wants to improve it.

Dream it. Realize it. Improve it.  Wow!

Ben filled me with inspiration and now the answer is right before me.  I had a dream to take a picture of a person every day for a year.  I'm now making that dream a reality.  Next step - improve it!

See why I'm so glad Ben was lost and he asked me for directions?  Seems we were both able to help each other to get where we needed to be.  Thank you, Ben.

 

Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week. I also added a little extra from Ben.

  • What I put out, I get back.
  • To be 100% - mentally, physically and spiritually, all the time.
  • To make people feel again.
  • Live, grow, and thrive.
  • Enjoy life to its fullest.
  • To develop myself so that I can offer others as much as possible.
  • Dream it. Realize it. Improve it.

 

Thank you to each of you who have been subjects in this project.  I'm grateful for your kindness and that you shared yourself with us.  Thank you.

And thank you for following along for another week!  These past few weeks have been bitter-sweet knowing the project is coming to an end.  Meeting Ben made me realize - I can keep going! I can improve it!   Knowing that I can always keep going helps me to not stress about the future of this project and this blog, and to focus on what's important.  Today.

Thank you!

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.

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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 45

Thank you for checking out week 45 of The 365 Day People Picture Project! I compare this point in the project to being around mile 21 in a Marathon.  For anyone looking on, it would seem that if a person has made it to mile 21 - the rest would be in the bag.  But, a lot can happen in those last 5.2 miles and in those last few miles, the battle that's happening in your head is now a full blown war.

By mile 21, you know if you can still hit your goal, or if you're so far off track that you now just need to concentrate on crossing that finish line.  At mile 21, one moment you're praising yourself for all of your training for the past several months, and then the next moment, you're cursing yourself for not training harder or smarter.  You fight to quiet the voices of self-doubt in your head and replace them with with a loop of positive mantras - I'm strong. I can do it.  I'm strong. I can do it.

So here I am, around mile 21.  I'm off track to meet my goal as far as showing improvement in the quality of the pictures I take - but I'm determined to cross that finish line anyway.  I could have done more.  I could have "trained" harder.  I could have studied more, practiced more, and learned more.  Just like in a marathon - it's time to hush those stupid negative voices and just finish strong.   For now, let's just concentrate on these last 5.2 miles ahead of us.  Let's just finish strong.  Finishing strong doesn't always mean that it's pretty, and quite often it hurts. Badly.  Finishing strong means giving it your entire heart. Finishing strong means you dig down deep to pull out more from yourself than you even knew you had left to give.  You might even just surprise yourself with what you can find when you dig deep.  Finish strong.

Day 309 - JL21

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This is JL21.   I broke my own rule and decided to include a costumed street performer in the project.  But, there is a very good reason why I broke the rule.

Saturday night, I met up with my friend Anne and her friends.  We were having the kind of conversation I live for - one in which we talked about exploring and honoring creativity, doing what we love, finding who we love, and how all those seemingly random life coincidences one day align themselves to reveal that they weren't at all random, but meaningful occurrences orchestrated by the universe to lead us to exactly where we're meant to be.

Anne's friend, Jeannie, brought up "the Robot" during our conversation.  Jeannie knows the true identity of "the Robot," and although now I can't even remember how he was introduced into our conversation, he just fit the topic and he actually played a pretty key role in our beautiful conversation.  I didn't know "the Robot" who Jeannie was referring to, as I had never seen him before.

The next day, as I was driving to the library, I somehow turned down a completely different street than I normally take to go to the library.  I thought it was odd at the time because I get pretty set in my driving routes and routines.  I took a few turns in the attempt to get myself back on my normal route and all of the sudden --- THERE HE WAS!!!!  THE ROBOT!!!  Less than 18 hours after hearing about "the Robot," in a conversation about coincidences-not-being-coincidences, "the Robot" was right before my eyes!   I decided that even though it was against my rule, I just wanted and needed to include him in the project.

In the time that I had "interviewed" JL21, several people had stopped to take pictures with him.  He's quite the popular robot!

I asked JL21 the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "my relationship," and "I'm not overheating."   JL21 is a seriously determined robot.  I can imagine that on a hot day, his robot suit could get practically unbearable.

JL21 works for tips but his act of kindness is that he still lets people take pictures with him, even if they don't have money for a tip.  People love him!

"To live every moment," LJ21 replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement, or if he could think of one on the spot.  JL21 explained that living every moment is actually the art of slowing time and that it helps if you have a love for everything.

I asked JL21 one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied in a robot-like voice, "that I am a happy Robot."

If you would like to meet JL21, he can be found on Saturdays and Sundays  near Vancouver Farmers Market and Esther Short Park.

 

Day 310- Ian

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This is Ian.  A person sitting alone at a patio table has officially become an invitation for an invitation...it's become pretty easy for me to invite myself to sit down with them to ask if I can take their picture.

"I'm moving to Canada in 2 months, " Ian replied, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

I asked Ian if he had recently performed an act of kindness.  He said that he does little things all the time, the most recent thing that came to mind is that he had just given a man a cigarette.

"Be nice to people, leave a little footprint, and spread happiness," Ian responded, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.

I asked Ian one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied, "I'm still skateboarding at 28 years old."  I both kidded him and encouraged him, telling him my boss is 50+ and still skateboarding, and that hopefully he'll be able to say the same when he's his age.

 

Day 311 - Mercy

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This is Mercy.

"I'm working on trying to buy my house," Mercy said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

I asked Mercy if she had recently performed an act of kindness.  Mercy couldn't think of something specific, but she then explained that she works in customer service and she has the opportunity to be kind to people every day in the job she does.

"To be better and better," Mercy replied, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot.

I asked Mercy one thing about herself which she would consider to be a success and she explained that in addition to her job, she also has a coaching business - Left Turn Coaching.   Mercy travels the country teaching and coaching Roller Derby Teams!

Good luck in the home-buying adventure, Mercy!

 

Day 312 - Marc

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This is Marc.

In my search for a daily subject, I often pass by Portland Shoe Repair, in the Hollywood District, and it always looks like such a happening place!  I couldn't figure out why so many people would be at a shoe repair shop, so I finally decided to stop in and that's where I met Marc.  There were enough guys for a basketball team and I learned they were all family, just hanging out and helping the family member who was working at the time.

I asked Marc the happiest thing happening in his right now and he replied, "enjoying the summer."

Marc's recent act of kindness, one in which he often does, is that he gave a person a MAX (lightrail commuter train) ticket.

"Take pride in your work," Marc responded, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.

I was a little surprised and impressed at Marc's next answer, given his age.  One thing about himself which Marc considers to be a success - is his perseverance.  Marc said he stays mentally strong and no matter what happens, he sees the silver lining.   Marc has a pretty wise outlook for someone just beginning his life.  With that mindset, he'll go far.

 

Day 313 - Emily

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This is Emily.

"I'm dancing again," Emily replied, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Emily is a dancer and when I asked if she danced a particular style, she explained that right now, her work is mainly Latin style dancing.

Emily was having a hard time recalling if she had recently performed an act of kindness.  I could tell she had been searching her memory when she finally stated that she had made pancakes for her boyfriend.

In this project, I've noticed that some people have a tendency to minimize the act of kindness they perform for their partners.  Seems we don't place enough value on the little things we do for our friends, family and loved ones.  Those little gestures are of huge significance because they set people up to do good things throughout the day.  My husband makes my coffee 96% of the time and I can't even begin to thank him enough.  This one little act of kindness is not so little for me...it's HUGE!

We just never know...a tiny little thing we do for someone could be the stone that starts the ripple of kindness.  We don't have to be millionaire philanthropists to make a difference. It can begin with a smile, or a pancake.

"To stay in a constant state of evolution," Emily replied, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot.

I asked Emily one thing about herself which she would consider to be a success and she replied after careful consideration, "defining my own success."  Again, such an insightful answer from a person who's just beginning her life.  She pretty much nailed the whole point of this question and the reason I've been asking it.  How do you define success?  Specifically, how do you define success for your own life?

 

Day 314 - Andi Caroline

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This is Andi.  He's another person I met by simply inviting myself to sit down with him at his patio table.  Thankfully, he didn't mind me interrupting his break from work.

When I asked Andi the happiest thing happening in his life right now, the first answer he gave was, "getting to walk to work every day."  He then revised it to be, "consciously simplifying my life."  Andi has made the decision to simplify his life. He doesn't want to waste time or money.  It was as though Andy had been reading my mind.  Just earlier I had been thinking that the majority of the money I waste, ironically, was wasted by trying to save money.  In addition to wasting money, I end up with closets or drawers full of stuff I just won't or can't use. I had decided it was time to do another exercise in simplifying and Andi was a great reminder the time is now.  Living simply can feel liberating and obviously for Andi, it's bringing him great happiness.

I asked Andi if he had recently performed an act of kindness and I could tell he was feeling a little stressed and disappointed because he couldn't recall a specific act of kindness.   He made a very good point that if he does an act of kindness, he doesn't write them down or log them mentally, so nothing was coming to mind.  I think that's the same for a lot of us.

"Live by your values,"  Andi replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.

I asked Andi one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success and after considering the question again, he replied, "growing brussels sprouts."

As we visited, Andi kept circling back to the "act of kindness" question, determined to provide an answer.  When people start to feel bummed because they can't think of an answer, I normally remind them that they allowed me to take their picture.  For some reason, I don't know why I didn't tell this to Andi. I t Andi seemed so disappointed in himself.   He questioned if I was going to say that he hadn't performed an act of kindness.  It was really bothering Andi!  Poor guy!  I was so happy and relieved when Andi reached the conclusion on his own when he announced - I let you take my picture!  His inclusion in the project was his act of kindness!  Yes!  Andi gave me a huge amount of his kindness by letting me take his picture and share it with you.   After agreeing with Andi that it was an act of kindness and actually a pretty big one since a lot of people don't enjoy having their picture taken, he confessed he's one of those people. He's much more comfortable being behind the camera.  I have not doubt Andi performs acts of kindness on a daily basis - he's a nice person and his act of kindness, is his kindness.

 

Day 315 - Yesenia, Maria, and Angel

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This is Yesenia (left), Maria (center), and Angel (right).

I headed down to Ester Short Park and the Vancouver Farmers Market in search of a subject.  The park was gated off for a wine festival, so I was restricted to the Farmers Market and the area around there.  It's difficult to explain, but I have the hardest time finding a subject in big events.

Not having any luck at the farmers market, I decided to just go sit on a bench outside the park and wait for someone.  I noticed a steady stream of sharply dressed men and women flowing by me.  The Hilton Hotel and Convention Center is just down the block from where I was sitting, so I gathered there must be an event happening.  I decided to ask Yesenia, Maria and Angel if I could take their picture for the project and they confirmed they were attending a Hispanic business conference.

Given there were three people, I asked them each only two questions.

I asked the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and they answered as follows: Yesenia - "the opportunity of being financially free."  Maria (as interpreted by Yesenia) - "in a few months, I will be financially free and without a boss."  Angel - "the opportunity to succeed."

I asked the the trio if they had a personal mission statement or if they could think of one on the spot, and I clarified the question by asking about their life's purpose.  Yesenia replied, "faith can get you to where you want to be."  Angel replied, "trying to better the life of hispanics and immigrants."  Maria responded, (with interpretation provided by Yesenia) "to help other people and to put God as a priority.  Thanks to him, we're free."  Yesenia went on to say that we have two choices in life. We can choose good or bad.  She wants people to know the good in life.  She wants people to uphold family values.

I was totally kicking myself after meeting Yesenia, Maria and Angel.  They were three beautiful and kind people and I could have better captured them had I had the right lens. I just had to make do. I almost didn't approach them, knowing I had on the completely wrong lens for a group picture, but I'm so glad I didn't let it stop me.  I'm so glad I got to meet them and I'm inspired by their genuine desire for good things and prosperity for the Hispanic community.  I just had to remind myself that limitations are only limitations if we allow them to be.  Sometimes, we just need to figure out a way to work around them.

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

  • To live every moment.
  • Be nice to people, leave a little footprint, and spread happiness.
  • To be better and better.
  • Take pride in your work.
  • To stay in a constant state of evolution.
  • Live by your values.
  • Faith can get you to where you want to be.
  • Trying to better the life of hispanics and immigrants.
  • To help other people and to put God as a priority.

Thank you for following along on another week of this project.

If you've been a subject in this project - thank you for your kindness and your generosity in sharing yourself with us.  I appreciate you, and thank your for letting me take your picture. If you like your picture, please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail and I'd be happy to e-mail you a copy.

Have a successful week - however you define success!

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 41

Hello! Thank you for checking in on week 41 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.  I had never owned a real camera, other than just point and shoot.  (and it was film!)  My intention was to learn how to operate my new DSLR, and to learn the art of photography.  I feel the only thing I can say about my progress, so far, is that I've learned how to approach a stranger and talk with them without feeling like I could possibly die of shyness.   The process of forcing myself to approach and interact with strangers has been exhausting, but also completely rewarding and life-changing.

It's almost as though I'm becoming re-wired.  Before starting this project, I was always operating in the red on the stressed-out-o-meter.  The only time I wasn't intensely contemplating work or life pressures, was when I was walking or hiking my favorite trails and parks.   This project has forced me to get out of my own stressed-out head and to really see the people around me.  Some of whom are also equally intense, or some people who seem to be the complete opposite and who seem to have mastered the ability to be completely present.  It seems that no matter what our moods may have been at the moment I met each subject, I think we both left our interaction feeling a boost of happiness!

I've left each interaction feeling like my life was a little more enriched and I left feeling a slight honor that a person was willing to let me take their picture, and willing to share a little something about themselves.  Now when I'm out and about, I make a conscious effort to spread smiles and act with patience and kindness.   So many people in this project have shared their smiles and patience with me...I want to keep passing it on.  It is my hope that this little project inspires you to feel and do the same.

 

Day 281 - Brandon, Ted and Fozzie

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I met Brandon, Ted (the light dog) and Fozzie (the black dog) down at Esther Short Park, in Vancouver.   I spotted Brandon and his wife and their canine kids when I first arrived at the park but I was a little hesitant on asking them if I could take their picture.  I knew if they agreed, I would be in for a big challenge.  By now you know how I am about group pictures, then add in a pair of dogs, and I wasn't sure I could manage.  It was also starting to down-pour, and both Brandon and his wife were wearing bright Steelers gold jackets.  I had realized that I hadn't ever taken a picture of such bright colors and although it sounds funny, I was intimidated by the color.

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I was glad I finally got up the nerve to approach them.  Brandon and his wife were new to the area and so friendly!  I was happy to be part of the unofficial welcoming committee.

I asked Brandon the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he responded, "waking up everyday, doing this, and nature!"  Brandon just moved from Arizona and he and his wife have already fallen in love with all of our green!  They love spending time in nature and are enjoying the huge contrast between the Northwest and the desert.

I asked if Brandon had recently performed an act of kindness and he explained they had just adopted Ted at the Doggie Dash the week before.  The way Ted and Fozzie were playing and loving each other, I thought they were old pals!  I'm so happy for Ted and his new home with Brandon and his wife!  Ted came with a long list of potential issues and negative traits and Brandon and his wife were prepared for a rough settling-in period but it sounds like Ted has been a dream of a dog. I would have never guessed they hadn't all been a family-unit for years.

I asked Brandon if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.  He's actually a person who has given it some thought and he said that it's been redesigned the past year, but right now he's decided on, "find a way to be happy."

I asked Brandon something about himself he would consider to be a success and he replied, "my three men."  The youngest of his 3 sons is graduating and now he's happy to be "sending three men off into life."

 

Day 282 - Wendy

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This is Wendy.  We met at Mt. Tabor park.

"Just digging being healthy, deep breathing, and being alive," Wendy responded, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

Wendy's recent act of kindness is that she had just given a donation to a Church group, and she didn't take the chocolate they were "selling."  We joked that resisting the candy was also an act of kindness for her self, especially after working so hard at Tabor to be healthy.

When I asked Wendy if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one, she said that it is actually something she's had on her to-do list for a while.  Her current working personal mission statement is, "opening my heart, cultivating love and kindness, and finding ways to be of service."

Throughout this project, I've been amazed there have been a few people who have actually been giving thought to the idea of developing a personal mission statement.  If they hadn't fully decided on a personal mission statement, they've been at least prepared with some sort of guiding quote or the beginnings of their personal mission statements.  Equally amazing, have been the people who have been able to come up with an impromptu personal mission statement which has been quite meaningful and powerful.  Has reading the mission statements from the people in this project inspired you to write your own?

"I'm a good listener," Wendy replied, when I asked her one thing about herself she would consider to be a success.

Wendy and I visited for a while after the "interview" and pictures.   This project is making the world even smaller.  When I go to the park, I usually end up seeing several people who have been subjects in this project and we now exchange greetings and well wishes.  Since most of the people I meet at Tabor are there working out, it's been nice meeting new fitness friends and acquaintances.

 

Day 283 - Ryland

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I've seen Ryland and his dog around a few times.  I've even tried to chase after him once, but he was peddling way too fast for me to catch.  There's only so many footsteps you can take when you chase after a person before you cross that line from simply trying to catch someone's attention, to being a weirdo who is, well, chasing after someone!  This time, he and his dog were going slow enough for Ryland to see and hear me when I called out to get his attention.

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There were several other dogs around, and some traffic, at the time Ryland stopped so he decided his dog would be most comfortable just hanging out in its crate-trailer.  Ryland and I talked about how much we appreciate and enjoy the park.  He and his dog were on their way to go watch the sun set.  (Watching the sun set from Mt. Tabor Park is one of the very best activities in Portland.  It's worth putting on your must-do list.)

"I'm getting to climb a lot," Ryland said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Ryland was having difficulty remembering if he had performed a recent act of kindness.  He seemed like a considerate and nice enough person, I knew he must have done something.  I pushed a little, explaining it could be any gesture of kindness.  He remembered that, earlier, he had held the door open for a person.  Yes, as simple as this is, isn't it a great act of kindness?  I love it when people take that extra moment to hold the door open for you and share a smile.

Ryland's personal mission statement is a quote from the poem, Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver, "you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

When I asked Ryland something about himself he would consider to be a success, he replied, "I convinced Vanessa to marry me."  I thought he and his wife must be newlyweds for such a sweet sentiment, but he said they'd been married about three years.  We then tried to decide on a definition of "newlywed," and decided three years is still the "newlywed" phase.

 

Day 284 - Matt

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This is Matt.  We met downtown Portland, near PSU.

I asked Matt the happiest thing happening in his life right now, and he responded, "my daughter."

"To learn everything I can," Matt replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.

When I asked Matt one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success, he replied, "my thirst for knowledge."

Matt and I talked a little while longer and I asked him about his hopes and dreams.  He hopes to be able to get to a point where he can afford, outright, to send his daughter to college, and to buy a home.  We talked about his dreams being more grounded and practical than some, but what a beautiful dream.  I'm wishing Matt luck and success in making those dreams a reality.

I don't often get to go downtown but since I had a meeting on the westside after work, I decided to head downtown after the meeting let out.  Matt was just one of a hundred different people within a few block radius who I could have asked to be in this project.  I had the realization that I've had additional challenges with this project, simply because of my routine and location.  If I could spend more time in downtown Portland, I would have thousands of potential subjects.  As it is, it's been quite the challenge to find a person during my routine of: commute, work, work-out, commute home.  Although I love the idea of having hundreds or thousands of different subjects to choose from within a few block area, I've also mostly enjoyed the added challenge of having to actually search for a subject.  It makes me appreciate the process that much more, and makes me extremely appreciative when I do find people who will let me take their picture.  I don't know if this makes sense, but it would almost be "too easy," were I able to spend a ton of time in downtown Portland.

 

Day 285 - Joseph

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This is Joseph.  We met when he was waiting for the bus.  I was feeling like people-repellent this day and was just about to decide this was going to be the day for my self-portrait.  Luckily, I met Joseph and he was willing to let me take his picture!

"I just got a promotion," Joseph said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

When I asked if he had recently performed an act of kindness, he said that some kids in his line at work came up a few dollars short on their purchase, so he paid the difference for them.

I asked Joseph if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.  He was having trouble thinking of one, so I rephrased the question and asked about his life's purpose or hopes and dreams.   Joseph said he has dreams to travel the world.

Joseph was reserved in answering if there was something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  I pushed a little for an answer and knew he must have something.  I was going to remind him about his recent promotion if he couldn't think of an answer.  I again pushed a little and explained if it's difficult to think of something as a success, then what's something you're good at?  "Sports," Joseph replied.

 

Day 286 - Kestrel

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Kestral was waiting for the bus when I sat down at the bench beside him to ask if I could take his picture.  Kestral agreed, but then went on to say that he isn't photogenic.  When people have told me this before, I explain to them that I totally understand and that's the reason I'm behind the camera!  I can completely empathize with people who don't really enjoy having their picture taken.  When I hear of this, it makes it really important to me to get a nice picture.  I want people to feel good about themselves!  I love the picture of Kestral and that you can detect his personal style and hope that if he sees this picture, he will be pleased.  This particular spot is a challenge to me and I struggle with getting the iconic Hollywood sign in the background. One of these days, I'll get it just right and perfectly capture both a nice portrait and a cool view of the Hollywood sign in the background.

When I asked Kestrel about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he replied, "my partner."

Kestrel's impromptu personal mission statement, "going forward because you can't go back."

I asked Kestrel one thing about himself he would consider to be a success and he replied, "the equity work at the job I'm doing."

I thanked Kestrel and we were on our separate ways.

 

Day 287 - Delray

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This is Delray.  We also met at a bus stop where she and her son were waiting for their bus.

I asked Delray about the happiest thing happening in her life and she replied, "I'm working."

When I asked Delray if she had recently performed and act of kindness, she said that she had just given a woman a bus pass.

Defining a personal mission statement was proving to be challenging for Delray. I had given examples of other people's personal mission statements, but Delray was still having trouble thinking of a personal mission statement.  I presented it a few different ways, and then explained that it's like a personal motto or statement which guides you in living your life.  After hearing it presented in this way, Delray then replied, "try not to sin."

When I asked Delray if there's something about herself she would consider to be a success, she considered the question for a while but she just couldn't think of an answer. She finally explained that she used to think she was successful at being a good mom.  She then gestured to her very energetic and curious son, and said, "but sometimes he won't listen to me now." We talked about it and I pointed out my observation that even though he wasn't  listening, she was still very patient with him, and that's a good mother.  Delray then decided on her answer and replied, "parenting."

Delray is a beautiful young lady and I got the feeling she's as beautiful on the inside as she is on the out!

 

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

  • Find a way to be happy.
  • Opening my heart, cultivating love and kindness, and finding ways to be of service.
  • "You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."
  • To learn everything I can.
  • To travel the world.
  • Going forward because you can't go back.
  • Try not to sin.

If you've been a subject in this project  - thank you for allowing me to take your picture and for sharing a little of your life with us!  Please don't hesitate to e-mail 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 another week of this project.  I just want to give you the heads up that the next two weeks are going to be pretty bumpy!  They're the busiest two weeks for me at my work.  I'm going to be out of town one weekend, and staying on-site at an event the following weekend.  I'll still post the daily pictures to instagram, @missellanea, but please know the blog post may be a little delayed.  Don't worry.  Everything is ok and I'm not giving up the project.  It'll just be a particularly challenging and busy couple of weeks and I'll post as soon as I'm able to.

Have a great week!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 40

Hello! Week 40 of The 365 Day People Picture Project is now a wrap!

Day 274 - Mom, Daughter, and Dog

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Sunday was Mother's Day and since I'm over a couple hundred miles away from my own Mom, I wanted to find a Mother & Daughter to be the people of the day.

I met these three in the park.  They didn't have much time to spare, as they were just on a quick break from work.

We had time for just one question, so I asked about the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and they both agreed, "moving back to Vancouver."

I wished them a happy Mother's Day and welcomed them back home, and we were all on our way.

And have you noticed that nearly every dog I've met at Esther Short Park, in Vancouver, has that same intense focus on something other than posing for a portrait?   I think there's one distracting squirrel who's ruining all of my shots!

 

Day 275 - Jen

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This is Jen.  She was waiting for the bus.  I looked all the way up the street and didn't see a bus in sight, so I decided to ask her if I could take her picture.  Of course, it magically appeared as soon as we got started.

We had just enough time for one question.  "I have a new boyfriend that I like...so, falling in love," Jen replied, when I asked about that happiest thing happening in her life right now.

I blew everything this day.  When I got home to "develop" the picture, I realized how harsh the sunlight was and how simply turning could have made for a much better picture.  I was so tempted to go back out and find a new person, but I decided to keep this one because I really liked Jen, and also to share my mistakes with you.  The pros always say never to show your bad work and to only share your best images. I'm not a pro.  You've been with me and know I'm just learning, so I just wanted to share that process with you. Just when I start to make progress and learn a thing or two, the weather changes and I get tripped up again.  People who are real photographers are pretty amazing. Until starting this project, I've never fully understood or appreciated all of the hard work that goes into a nice photograph. I think sharing my mistakes,  helps to exemplify the quality work of other real professionals or artists.  Seeing my mistakes helps me to see just how great the work is of other real artists and professionals.

 

Day 276 - Kevin

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This is Kevin.  He was nice enough to stop mid-run so that I could take his picture.

The happiest thing happening in Kevin's life right now is, "taking over a new house."

When I asked if he had performed an act of kindness, he said that he's having his younger brother move in with him at the new house, for very low rent.  He wasn't sure if that counted as an act of kindness, but yes, it does.

Kevin's impromptu personal mission statement is, "to leave it better than I found it, and to give a voice to the voiceless."

I asked Kevin one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success, and Kevin replied, "that I'm happy!"

Are you starting to notice some reoccurring themes here?

 

Day 277 - Lindsay & Beatrix

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High Five!

I met Lindsay and Beatrix as they were finishing their walk/run.  Again, having been tripped up by the sun the past few days, I made it a point to have us move into the shade, but we didn't go quite far enough under the tree to escape the harsh sun.

Beatrix is clearly Lindsay's well trained little pal!

I asked about the happiest thing happening in her life right now and Lindsay replied, "the house we bought on Mt. Tabor."  If Beatrix could talk, I know being in the "taborhood" would be the happiest thing for her as well!

Lindsay & Beatrix's recent act of kindness is that they participated in the "Doggie Dash" fundraiser.

I asked Lindsay if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot.  Lindsay replied, "to do one small thing to better your life, every day."

When I asked Lindsay one thing about which she would consider herself to be a success, she replied, "my relationship with my husband."

 

Day 278 - Matt, Brooke, and Winslow

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I met Matt and Winslow as they were waiting outside of a drug store. I loved the very first picture I snapped of Winslow, but I blew it by not getting enough of Matt in the frame.  Winslow gave me that one picture, but he was finished after that. His focus was on something else.

I later learned that his focus was on Brooke, who had been in the store for all of an eternity.  Well you know, 5 minutes is an eternity for a dog.  We eventually ended up with another cute shot of Matt and Winslow, but when Brooke came out of the store and joined us, I wanted to get the whole family.

Winslow was so excited to be reunited with his mom after the exhaustive few-minute wait, that he just couldn't contain himself!

I asked Matt and Brooke the happiest thing happening in their lives right now.  Matt replied, "Brooke and Winslow."  Brook replied, "everybody that I care about is healthy."

I asked Matt if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one.  He was having trouble, but I pushed a little, and he settled on, "everybody changes."

When I asked Matt and Brooke if they could name something about themselves which they would consider to be a success, Matt again stalled a little in his answer but Brooke offered up that, "he grows really good plants."  Being that this is Portland, I laughed and asked if it was ok (legal) to talk about his plants.  Matt then explained that he's a botany student and he's been able to successfully grow a rare, tropical, carnivorous plant which is extremely difficult to grow.

Brooke's success is that she's doing things that she enjoys, and she's successful in her job.

Winslow, Sir-Licks-a-Lot, is successful at being the best doggie kisser in the world.

I should mention, it's been really important of me to get flattering photographs of people.  I explained to Brooke that I thought I had captured Winslow right as he was giving her kisses and it was so cute, but that of course she was making the squinchy-face we all make when we're the lucky recipient of our dog's lovin' kisses.  She was ok with it.

I know the quality and technical aspects were off with both Beatrix from the day before, and Winslow from this day, but these are two of my most favorite pictures!

 

Day 279 - "Blackwell"

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I named this guy "Blackwell," because we met as we were walking outside of Blackwell's Pub.  When I stopped "Blackwell" to ask if I could take his picture, he was agreeable, but uncertain.  He wanted to defer giving me his name until after I had asked the questions.  After our pictures and "interview," "Blackwell" asked for my name, gave me a hug, we wished each other well, and we were on our way.  It wasn't until I got home that I had realized I hadn't learned his name!

The happiest thing happening in Blackwell's life is the growth of his career, and he's excited about the next phase in his life, settling down, and buying a home.

The rest of our interaction is not actually "quotable," for the reason that it was like we were just a couple of friends talking.   It was less interview-like, and more like we were just having a conversation.  Blackwell is open and frank and he shared so much, I wasn't able to write everything down word-for-word.  I'll just share some of our conversation.

When I asked Blackwell if he had performed an act of kindness, he replied that he'll do anything he can to help a person who's trying to help themselves.  He explained that he has an acquaintance who recently went into treatment.  The growth and progress the person has made in just a few weeks in treatment is actually apparent in their physical appearance.  Entering treatment, however, meant that the person has been off work for a few weeks.  Blackwell gave the person some money to help him out until he's back on his feet again.

I asked Blackwell if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.  When I saw that he was having trouble thinking of a personal "mission statement," I explained that we could think of the question instead, as what is your life's purpose?  Blackwell  then listed so many things I couldn't even keep up!  He wants to take care of his family. He wants to raise a a child in an environment different from what he was raised in.  He wants to live a simple life. He would like to give back what he's learned and he wants people to value what's inside and in their hearts, instead of  the "things" in life.

When I asked Blackwell if there's something about himself to be a success, he replied, "myself!"

I sometimes forget to ask, but I do like to ask people if they have anything they would like to promote - such as their own blog, website, art, music, business, etc.  I remembered to ask Blackwell and although he didn't have anything we could link to here, he said he'd like to promote for people to "slow down."  Life passes us by fast enough.

 

Day 280 - Willy

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I met Willy at Mt. Tabor Park.   He was just peddling into the park.  I had finished my stair workout and decided to sit down and wait for a person to come by so I could ask to take their picture.

The park is entirely different on the weekend than it is during the weekday happy hour.  During the weekday, the park is filled with tons of walkers, runners and cyclists.  Saturday, although there were lots of people, it felt as though I couldn't find a subject.  There were lots of large groups or families and I didn't want to interrupt their time.  A few individual people passed by, but I just didn't feel they were approachable for whatever reason. I had been waiting so long that I finally told myself I was giving it five more minutes and that was it!  I knew that within five minutes, I was either going to find my cue to leave and search elsewhere, or I would meet someone particularly special.  Willy came by at about 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

Just as the day before, talking with Willy felt familiar.  Again, it was as though we were old friends, catching up, not complete strangers who just met.  We said so much in just a few minutes, I couldn't even keep up.  I end up reaching a point where I abandon my effort to take notes, and just enjoy the conversation and the person before me.

When I asked Willy about the happiest thing happening in his life, he replied, "lots of learning going on."  As soon as Willy said that, I got the feeling that his response was an optimistic outlook of, perhaps, some not-so-happy things.  Seeking clarification, I asked if he was a student.  He then explained that he wasn't a student, but that he now has a new awareness of things.  Again, seeking clarification, I questioned if these were bad things and explained the reason I was asking is because I, personally,  seem to learn the most when I "learn it the hard way."  He laughed and agreed that yes, life is like that. It's easier for us to learn the hard way, and through bad things, because life presents the lesson to us immediately!  He's experiencing both good and the bad, but he can appreciate the clarity and directness of life's lessons which are delivered the hard way, or when we experience something negative.    It's like life is telling us...here's this bad thing that happened, and here is the lesson you were to have learned from it.  See how "easy" that is?

Willy's job has a co-worker recognition program and Willy's recent act of kindness is that he acknowledged and nominated some of co-workers for a job well done.

When I asked Willy if he had a personal mission statement, or if he could think of one on the spot, he said that he hadn't defined a personal mission statement...and he's thought they were a little funny.  Pushing for an answer, I re-phrased the question and asked about his life's purpose.  Thinking it would help him to narrow down the response, it actually broadened it.  Willy went on to say that he doesn't even know or understand his life's purpose.  He's fascinated, and basically in awe, of the hugeness of it all.   Willy's face lit up when he began talking about the possibilities of his life's purpose and at the same time, I could see that it was both liberating and perplexing.   Willy is so respectful of life and he said he knows that he can't even begin to understand the meaning of it all.

Willy and I talked some more, and still trying for an answer, I tried to present the question from  a third perspective.  I asked how one could go about reaching their goals. (Thinking this is essentially parallel to a mission statement or determining our life's purpose.)  Willy responded that in order to reach goals, "you identify your goals."  Yes!  My head is still all twisted thinking about our conversation.  I agree with Willy in that it feels nearly impossible to define a personal mission statement or life's purpose, but Willy's response of, "you identify your goals," makes things all so cyclical.

Does our life's purpose or personal mission statement define us, or do we define our life's purpose and personal mission statement?  Do we become who and what we declare ourselves to be? Or do we wander and discover our life's purpose as though it's been there all along and the universe is just waiting for us to happen upon it?  Are we active in determining our life's purpose, or are we to be passive and just discover it?   What I do know, is that identifying goals and developing a personal mission statement, has brought me the closest to feeling like I'm either on the path, or near the path, of discovering, or defining, my life's purpose. We have to have definiteness of purpose and amazingly, we do have the ability to define and shape our purpose.  Identifying goals, and laying out the outline of our lives, such as by defining a personal mission statement, are the steps needed to fulfilling our life's purpose.  I could have talked with Willy for hours!

Although I didn't ask, I would be willing to bet that Willy must be a creative person (artist, musician, or both) and one who has a number of different talents.  It's been my experience that people who are skilled and gifted in several different areas, are often the ones who find it challenging to chose or declare one set path.  They're so talented, their options are unlimited and they're keeping them all open.

When I asked Willy something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he said that he's been successful of escaping the burden of being forced to be a particular type of person, and that he's not governed by external ideas such as being what is considered cool, or popular, etc.  He's just who he is.

 

I'm not going to summarize this week's personal mission statements since I didn't get the opportunity to ask two of the people from this week, and because we were basically freestylin' with Blackwell and Willy.

A huge thanks to each and every subject in this project. I appreciate your time and your kindness! If you would like a copy of your picture, please send an e-mail and I would be happy to e-mail you!

Thank you for following along for another week!

Have a good one!

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 37

Hello! Week 37 of The 365 Day People Picture Project is now complete!

If this is the first time you've stopped by, I'm taking a picture of a person a day, every day, for an entire year.  If you'd like to follow along daily, you can follow me on Instagram at @missellanea.

Day 253 - Debra

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This is Debra.  We met at Esther Short Park in Downtown Vancouver.  I spotted her taking pictures of some of the sculptures in the park and figured she looked like a person who would let me take their picture.

Debra was on break from the most awesome job in the universe.  I had no idea this job even existed!  It is Debra's job to attend movies!  Some of her responsibilities are to observe the audience's reaction to movie trailers/previews.  The audience reaction to the previews shown in movie theaters, then shapes the previews which are shown to us on T.V..

Debra was among the most interesting people I've met in this project and she was happy sharing her thoughts with me. If I were a journalist and taking more in-depth interviews, Debra would have been a treasure of a person to meet!  She has well thought-out views on many subjects and is able to articulate those views brilliantly.  I'm not equipped to take such detailed notes, so although I enjoyed hearing her thoughts, I'm just sharing the answers to "the questions."

"The fact that my daughter will graduate in June," is the happiest thing happening in Debra's life right now.

I asked Debra if she had recently performed an act of kindness and she said she couldn't really think of anything, however she had just been extremely nice, near overly-nice, to the person who was working at the Subway from where she had just purchased her lunch.  She's always sure to be polite and thank fast-food workers.

"Being kind-hearted," Debra replied, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on-the-spot.

I asked Debra something at which she would consider herself to be a success and she replied, "volunteering."  Debra has been volunteering in schools for 28 years and still intends to after her youngest graduates, but she's considering the change to give her volunteer time to supporting animal advocacy causes.

When I asked Debra if she had a dream, she first replied, "to start a shelter for homeless cats, and probably dogs too."  As she explained more, she said this was actually her mom's dream and it was a dream of hers as well.  She then went on to say that her true dream would be to free all of the orcas in captivity and return those who are suitable, back to the oceans.  Those who are unable to survive in the ocean would be kept in sea pens instead, which would be a much healthier and humane environment than aquariums where they're forced to perform and sometimes kept in isolation.

Debra is indeed a kind-hearted person and her love for both humans and animals is pretty apparent and beautiful.

 

Day 254 - Ryan

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This is Ryan.  We met at the Doug Fir.

Normally, the back patio at the Doug Fir is a people-watching dream and I've always been able to find an interesting person for the project.  However, when I met my friend there on Monday, we were one of the only people who weren't deterred by the rain.  Just as I was getting concerned that this would be the first time ever that I wouldn't be able to find a subject on the patio, Ryan, our server, agreed to let me take his picture.

I asked Ryan the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "I got to go on stage with Three 6 Mafia last night!"  Ryan had been called up on stage at the show the night before!

Ryan was having trouble thinking of something when I asked if he had recently performed an act of kindness, but he then replied, "walking my dogs."  Yes, his canine kids would definitely agree this is a great act of kindness for them! Ryan may have had difficulty thinking of an act of kindness, but if I had asked about an act of awesomeness, he had that covered with his on-stage appearance with Three 6 Mafia.

I asked Ryan if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one, and he replied, "no rules!"

"Keep making money," Ryan replied, when I asked if he ha a dream or ambition.  When I asked Ryan about one thing at which he considers himself to be a success, he said, "skateboarding."

 

Day 255 - Loren

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This is Loren.  He's an awesome co-worker!

"Getting married," Loren replied, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Loren couldn't think of an act of kindness that he had recently performed.  I persisted because Loren is one of the nicest humans you'll ever meet. I know he's done something but he just couldn't think of a particular "act" of kindness.  "I just don't think of it that way, I guess," Loren said, before giving up trying to identify something.  It makes sense to me why Loren wasn't able to think of a specific act of kindness. Loren's existence is an act of kindness.  He's not able to think of a single act of kindness because he is an act of kindness.  I love hearing him interact with his customers because he is just sooooo nice.  He's so nice and so genuine, his mere presence in our office feels grounding to me.  We're so lucky he's our co-worker.  Loren also performed a huge act of kindness by letting me take his picture for the project. (I'll explain below.)

"Do no harm," Loren answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.

I asked Loren about one thing at which he would consider himself to be a success and he replied, "compassion."

When I asked Loren if he had a dream or ambition and he replied, "to be disgustingly wealthy." Loren said that when he was in his twenties, he had set a goal for himself to make 24 million dollars per month.  He wasn't sure where that figure came from, it's just the figure his younger self set out to achieve.

I've embellished and exaggerated the few times I've said that I've nearly blown or ended the project.  Most of those times, I had been overreacting and there was no serious risk of the project ending once I was able to get my head on straight.  However, Tuesday, the project nearly ended.  For real.  Loren seriously saved the project.

I had gone into work on Tuesday, thinking I would be fine, even though I had been awake most of the night being sick with what I assume was food poisoning from something I had eaten over the weekend.  Although I had stopped being sick, I didn't realize how severely dehydrated I had become.  I made it through a few hours of the work-day but decided I had to go home. I was so dehydrated, my head was foggy and the only thing I could imagine myself doing was getting myself home and to bed.  Nowhere in those plans, could I imagine myself trying to approach a stranger and ask for their picture.  Not only did I not feel well enough to talk to someone, but I just didn't even have enough strength to drive around, park my car, and then walk around looking for someone.  I had just enough strength to get myself home.  In my foggy-headed state, I had convinced myself it was ok to fail at that point.  I had done an excellent job and taking a picture of a person a day for 254 days in a row, was an accomplishment few could ever claim.  See, I think I was near delirium! I would have been ok just ending the project that day!  I convinced myself that I had given it my entire effort.  It was ok.  I was ok with the project ending.   I finally snapped myself out of it and decided to ask Loren if he would take a break with me and let me take his picture before I went home for the day.

Loren was a life-saver!  He hadn't known about the project until then, and I could tell that he really didn't want to have his picture taken. I was barely able to explain the project to him but he's a smart guy and was able to connect the dots from my mumblings of "365 days, must take picture, I'm not well," and he totally understood that he would be helping me out and saving the project from ending.   As it was, I was pretty wobbly and we had to sit down so that I could use the picnic table to steady my hands and camera in order to take his picture.  Loren, thank you for saving the day and the project!

 

Day 256 -  Blanche 

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This is Blanche.  She was waiting at the bus stop and once again, the bus came from nowhere and scooped her away before I could ask Blanche all of the questions.

"The fact that you get up every morning and you're breathing," Blanche said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

There are a few stray hairs covering Blanche's eyes, but other than that, this would be among one of my favorite pictures so far.  Is it me, or do you just get a feel and a sense for Blanche, just by looking at the picture?

 

Day 257 - Karen

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Karen's picture was taken at the bus stop around the corner from where I had met Blanche the day before.  Again, we were in a race against the bus.

I asked Karen the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "being clean and sober."

"I gave money to a homeless person," Karen answered, when I asked if she had recently performed an act of kindness.

I asked Karen about one thing at which she would consider herself to be a success, "staying clean and sober," she replied.

The bus arrived so I didn't get to ask Karen any other questions.

 

Day 258 - Tiffany

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This is Tiffany.  I spotted her the moment I walked in to meet my friends at Charlie's.  Although I spotted her instantly and knew I wanted to ask for her picture, she was with her friends and I didn't want to interrupt.  I spent a good hour scoping out the place for another possibility but I kept coming back to Tiffany and finally just asked her if she would be in the project.

I asked Tiffany the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she replied, "the possibility that we may be moving to New Jersey."  Tiffany's husband's job may take them across the country.

Tiffany's recent act of kindness is that she paid for a week's stay at a hotel, for a couple who were temporarily between homes.

When I asked Tiffany if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot, she didn't hesitate when she replied, "indulge in anything at any given time."  Tiffany went on to explain that she's experienced a few deaths recently which have influenced her and caused her to realize that life is too short not to indulge in doing the things we love.  Tiffany is another person who believes so strongly in her mission, that she even has it tattooed on her arm!  The work isn't yet finished but she shared its beginning.

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I asked Tiffany if there is something at which she considers herself to be a success and she replied, "I'm a good mom."  She has made it known to her children that there's nothing they can't go to her with.

I got an instant read on Tiffany that she's both an excellent mom and a nice person, but she's also a pretty great Blazers' fan too!

Day 259 - Arash and Ben

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This is Arash (left) and Ben (right).  They were both pretty adorable and funny!  I had been wandering around the park and Vancouver Farmers Market area for a while, but just hadn't found the right person, then I ran into these two.  They're opposites in personality, but the perfect complement to each other.  Arash is outgoing, outspoken, and confident, and Ben is a little on the bashful side.

When I first stopped them, Arash agreed to let me take his picture before I had even finished explaining the project.  He jokingly said he didn't want Ben in his picture and playfully stepped to the side and gestured for me to take his picture, solo.  I snapped a few pictures of them together and explained, ironically, that I was getting a nice picture of Ben, but I wasn't capturing a nice picture of Arash.  Arash was shocked!  Of all of the people in this entire project, Arash is the only person who confidently said that he was quite photogenic.  He was a complete character!  He has more confidence than about three people combined, but somehow, it comes across as sweet instead of arrogant and annoying.  Again, Ben is the opposite and much more soft-spoken.

I asked the happiest thing happening in their lives right now and Arash replied, "moving to San Diego to go to college."  Ben replied with silence and a bashful smile.  Arash replied for him, saying, "he's happy he got a new co-worker."  Arash and Ben used to be co-workers at the Farmers Market but Arash is now working for one of the vendors in the market and Ben now has a new co-worker to fill Arash's vacancy.

I asked the pair if they had recently performed an act of kindness.  Arash tries to perform an act of kindness every day and help people when he can.  Ben had recently given someone food.

"If you do good in this world, good will happen to you," Arash replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or could think of one on the spot."  Ben's response to the question - a bashful smile, and silence.  He tried so hard to think of something and Arash tried to help him by asking if there's something from the Bible he could quote.  I could tell Ben has a lot going on in his head and I'm sure after I left, he could think of a half-dozen possible mission statements, but I know I just caught him completely off guard.

I asked the guys if there is something at which they would consider themselves to be a success and Arash replied, "life."   I couldn't help being amused with Arash's response, given that he's just getting started in life.  I playfully asked, "how do you know you're successful, you're just getting started?"  To that, Arash replied, "I feel like a winner!"  I agreed, saying if that's the kind of attitude he begins his life with, then I'm certain he will indeed, be a winner.

Somehow, Arash manages to ooze confidence, but he's not at all arrogant.  He's confident. He has the confidence that one can only possess before life beats them up a little. I truly believe Arash's attitude and confidence will take him far and carry him through any bumpy spots in the road he may encounter in life.  I have a friend who was told, by a doctor, "you're cute, your life will be easy," and she somehow internalized that.  For her, life has been easy, even when it hasn't been.  It's like that little comment made by her doctor (who was just trying to encourage her to loosen up a little because she was wound quite tightly as a teen) implanted her with a roadmap and an assurance that "life will be easy," and it became self-fulfilling prophecy.

We could learn a lot from Arash.  Our world and our life becomes exactly what we think and believe.  If we feel like a winner, we'll be winners.  "Fake it till you make it," Arash also added in the conversation.

Ben's response to the question about something at which he would consider himself to be a success - more bashful smiles and silence.  I prompted him, asking if he's a good friend.  Arash, again speaking for him, confirmed he's successful at being a good friend.  Arash then added that "he's a good Christian!"  As our "interview" was coming to an end, Ben said, bashfully, "I like video games. I'm good at video games."  Yes!  I was so happy he said something!   It's difficult to say good things about ourselves, so I was happy Ben was able to answer this question!

I had fun meeting these two, and I think they did too. I think even Ben was having fun, even though he was a bit shy at first.  I wished them both good luck in life and was on my way.

Our take-aways, complied from the personal mission statements of the subjects this week, are:

  • Being kind-hearted.
  • Do no harm.
  • No rules.
  • Indulge in anything at any given time.
  • If you do good in this world, good will happen to you.

I'm unable to adequately express my thanks and appreciation to those who have been subjects in this project.  Thank you for sharing a piece of your lives with me and with this project.  I'm so thankful for your kindness.

If you're reading this right now - I'm thankful for you as well!  Thank you for following!

Wishing you a fabulous week!  Go feel like a winner!

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

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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!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 34

Hello! We're inching closer to the finish line and I confess, I'm starting to feel a little sad about the thought of the project ending. Taking pictures and meeting new people each day has become such a huge part of my life, I can't imagine not doing it.  It's been strange that I keep hitting little roadblocks in the photography workshops I've intended to take.  Maybe it's a sign that I should continue for another year so that I can get some real instruction under my belt, and then I can really be able to improve on the quality of the pictures I can take.  Maybe this first year is just a little warm-up?  For now, I just need to concentrate on each and every day and not worry about what's to come. I will just enjoy this process each day.

This week is a first. You'll notice the pictures for the entire week are all Black & White.  Until now, I've forced myself to include color pictures each week.  For having basically zero photography experience, the first thing I noticed about myself and the process, is that I immediately developed a preference for Black and White.  Although I think I'm influenced by growing up in the 70's and 80's and the recall I have of my most favorite photographs being in black & white, it just seems like you can see people better when they're in black and white.  You can really see them. You can see their sparkle.

 

Day 232 - Scott

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Scott had just finished a 15 mile run when I asked if I could take his picture.  I mean, he actually just finished.  Hardly even winded, he agreed.  Scott is training for the upcoming Timberline Marathon and an Ultra Marathon, the Mt. St. Helens Volcanic 50. Wow!

I asked Scott the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied that he's super happy about his son's new school.  They had made the decision to transfer him from his current school and into a new program and the switch has been working out for him.  Scott also finds happiness in running.

I asked Scott if he had recently performed an act of kindness. He replied, "I said 'hi' to a bunch of people on the trail."  I laughed and confirmed that he had said "hi" to us, every time he passed us by.

When I asked Scott if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one, he replied, "You're stronger than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can."  

I love the sentiment in this quote and it's pretty much the perfect motto for a runner.  Scott and I had a nice visit afterward about the mental aspect of completing a marathon.  One thing that I've found so interesting and beautiful about runners, especially one who has finished a marathon, is that they appreciate the efforts of anyone who has finished a marathon, regardless of their time or if they're a walker or runner. Scott is an Ultramarathoner but he didn't discount my accomplishment as a walker and having finished 4 marathons.   It really is a beautiful community!

Day 233 - Broc

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This is Broc. The happiest thing happening in his life right now is his relationship.

I asked Broc if he had recently performed an act of kindness. He explained that his girlfriend's mother had just passed away and he went with her to support her during this sad time and will continue to support her in anyway he can.

I asked Broc if he had a personal mission statement, or if he could think of one on-the-spot, and he replied, "you get what you put into it."

I've been playing with a new question this week and it's actually proving to be difficult for people to answer.  I've enjoyed watching people as they search for an answer, and it's been priceless to see the look of satisfaction on their faces as they decide on the answer.  I asked Broc if he could name something at which he considers himself a success.  He replied, "music!"  Broc is a drummer, and also DJ's the weekly BassFace show at The Q Nightclub in Downtown Vancouver.

Day 234 - Ken, Bear, and Tiz

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I first spotted Bear and Tiz playing at Mt. Tabor.  Concerned they may have been escape artists who had fled from their yard, I walked down to the grassy area where they were playing so that I could investigate.  Once I was closer, I also spotted Ken, their human.  Once I realized they were ok, I then decided to ask Ken if they would be in the project.

It was pretty funny.  Ken happily agreed to let me take his picture and then as we began to shoot, he then confessed he really doesn't like having his picture taken. At all. He said he gets all weird.  It was pretty evident that Ken went from being nice and easy-going, to looking as though he would have been less uncomfortable if he were at the dentist.  I could read the discomfort on his face and we weren't getting a happy picture.  I finally suggested we just go back to him playing with the dogs. Instead of trying to get a "portrait," I would just try for a fun picture of the dogs admiring him.  It was a fine enough idea, but by then, the dogs were finished being models and they just wanted to play more fetch!  I got this picture just in time!

I asked Ken the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he responded, "this!"  I'm absolutely positive if Bear and Tiz could talk, they would have agreed completely!  All three of them were having a blast!

I asked Ken if he's performed an act of kindness. He was having difficulty thinking of something specific, and then replied that he's "interested in other people's lives."  Although this isn't a specific act, I started thinking it is actually the entire foundation upon which kindness is built.  Being kind begins when we care about people other than ourselves.

When I asked Ken if he had a personal mission statement, he laughed and said that having a mission would go against everything he stands for.  He wants to "Roam the Earth."  We laughed and discussed the irony that his lack of a mission, "Roam the Earth," is indeed, actually his mission!

I asked Ken if he could name something at which he considers himself to be a success.  "I'm a successful bike commuter," he replied.  He rides daily, and he's also never had a serious accident.

Day 235 - Jessica and Minh

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Jessica and Minh were running the stairs at Tabor.  I was concerned I was interrupting their work-out, but I think they were ok with an extended breather at the bottom of the stairs.

I asked Jessica and Minh about the happiest thing happening in their lives right now.  Jessica replied, "being young and relaxing."  Minh replied, "living life!"

Jessica's recent act of kindness is that she picked flowers for her Mom.  Minh's act of kindness is that he gave a stranger a ride home back when we had the big snow storm.

Jessica and Minh were both ready with an answer when I asked if they had a personal mission statement or if they could think of one. Jessica said, "helping people to integrate physical activity into their daily lives."   Minh replied, "inspired to inspire!"

When I asked the friends if there was something at which they considered themselves to be a success, Minh quickly responded, "I'm a good role model to my nieces and nephews."  The question was more challenging for Jessica.  She named several things she wanted to, or hoped to be successful in the future, but was stumped for something at which she was currently successful.  Wanting to help her out with some ideas, I said it could be something fun, "like being a successful chocolate chip cookie-maker".  I somehow randomly hit on something at which she does indeed consider herself to be successful!  Jessica replied, "I'm a good baker!"

Jessica and Minh, in my opinion, are both quite successful at being really nice people.

Day 236 - Juan

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This is Juan from Plaid Pantry.  I've been saving Juan for a literal rainy day.  He's worked at the new Plaid Pantry for a while and I've known I wanted to ask him if he would be in the project, but I've delayed asking him.  Knowing there would be days which would be too rainy to look for a person outside, I've been reserving a few back-up people who I would be able to take their picture indoors.  It was pouring Thursday and I was in luck that Juan happened to be working.

I asked Juan about the happiest thing happening in his life an he replied, "my girlfriend and my music."

I asked Juan if he's performed an act of kindness and he replied, "yeah, hopefully."  He thought for a moment and then said that his buddy is going through a break-up so he's tried to be a friend and counsel him.

When I asked Juan if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on-the-spot, he said it could be summed up as "self-actualization."  He wasn't referring to self-actualization in the Maslow sort of way.  Juan said, "I want people to embrace who they are, and what they have."  Juan went on to explain how terribly shy he was before starting his job at Plaid Pantry. His first few shifts sounded like they were awful because he was painfully shy.  As time went on, he became more comfortable talking to customers and now he's able to easily and comfortably talk with anyone.  He said he had to first figure out who he was so that he could break through that barrier of shyness and interact with other people.  I found it pretty ironic that Juan and I, both painfully shy people and basically strangers to one another,  were sharing a meaningful conversation and taking pictures like old friends.  I guess we've both had breakthroughs.

I asked Juan if there's something at which he considers himself to be a success. He was having a hard time identifying something, so I prompted him by asking about his music.  He didn't consider it to be a success because he's not finished yet. He hasn't gotten to where he wants to be.  (Hmmm, that made me want to reconsider and redefine our meaning of success.  Why can't we be a success during the process? Isn't sometimes the process of becoming a "success," actually the true success?)  Juan decided that he's a success in that he's always working on something and he's been successful in his relationships. He's had one relationship since he was 16 years old.

Check out Juan's band, Hail the Artilect.

Day 237 - Ed

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Ed was waiting for his friend to arrive when I approached him on the patio at Rontoms.  Ed was so nice and so interesting, I would have enjoyed hanging out with him a little while longer.

I asked Ed the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he replied, "I'm looking forward to summer."  (Of course everyone looks forward to summer, but I don't think people quite understand how much of a thing this is.  Summer and sunny weather in Portland is a very big deal!  Doing nothing on a summer day in Portland, is one of the greatest things you can do!)

When I asked Ed if he's performed a recent act of kindness, he said he tries to find an act of kindness to do each day.  Ed is another person whose life and profession is actually an act of kindness.  Ed supervises a community based, mental health crisis team.

I asked Ed if he had a personal mission statement or could think of one, and he was quick to answer, saying it's important to have a mission statement to help us in guiding our lives and knowing what we stand for.  I loved listening to Ed.  Ed's personal mission statement, "measure life in love."

Ed's mission statement is inspired by the musical, "Rent," and the song, "How do you measure the Life"  but it was his time working in an orphanage that helped him to solidify his mission and purpose in life.

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

When I asked Ed if he could identify something at which he considers himself a success, he replied, "I'm a good social worker."

After we were finished with the pictures, Ed asked if he could preview them. He pointed out his two favorites and told me he would prefer I posted one of those two pictures.  Ed was the most stylishly dressed man at Rontoms and although I loved the color of his sweater, I told him I intended to make his picture black and white.  I think Ed's picture is another one of my favorites.  Ed is model-like handsome, but what helped me to get a nice picture is that I was able to sit down at Ed's table and take my time.  Plus, I immediately felt at ease with Ed.

We talked about how we, people, don't talk with one another any more. I told him this project has caused me to wish for a movement similar to "throwback thursday" where instead of people posting a picture from their past, I dream of "meet someone monday" where we post a picture of a random stranger we befriend. I'm meeting so many amazing people whom I wouldn't have had the pleasure of meeting had I not set out to do this project.

We finished just as Ed's friend arrived and Ed planned on asking his friend the same questions I had just asked him!

Day 238 - Jamie

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This is Jamie, another master of the art of Mexican Mochas, from Ambiance Tan & Espresso.  

I asked Jamie about the happiest thing happening in her life and she replied, "my new job."  (Ambiance is Jamie's second job.)

Jamie's act of kindness is that she let a little fender bender slide and didn't report an accident in which a little old lady ran into her car.  Jamie said she was fine, uninjured, and the dent in her car wasn't worth the bother. She didn't want the woman's insurance rates to increase because of the tiny accident.

Jamie's personal mission statement is golden - "treat others the way you want to be treated."  

I loved Jamie's answer when I asked if there's something at which she considers herself to be a success. She replied, "learning how to control my control issues!"

 

Thank you to each and every person who has been a subject in this project!  Thank you for your kindness and your time, and for sharing your picture with all of us. (Please let me know if you'd like a copy of your picture and I'd be happy to e-mail you!)

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

  • "You're stronger than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can."  
  • "You get what you put into it."
  •  "Roam the Earth."
  • "Helping people to integrate physical activity into their daily lives."  
  • "Inspired to inspire!"
  • "Self-Actualization - I want people to embrace who they are, and what they have."
  • "Measure life in love."
  • "Treat others the way you want to be treated."  

Thank you for following along!

If you'd like to follow along each day, I post the post the pictures to Instagram daily. My username is @missellanea.

Wishing you a great week...and what do you think, should we start a "Meet Someone Monday"?

Thank you!