Week 12 of the 365 Day People Picture Project ended on a high note - I achieved one small goal. (More about that in a bit.) Although I'm pleased that I made a tiny bit of progress, I'm also feeling nervous that I may be in over my head. We "fall back" tonight and with the time change, I will lose the daylight hours after work when I normally walk the stairs at the park, both for fitness and also to find subjects for this project. I want to succeed. I didn't challenge myself to an 84-day-project or an until-it-gets-too-difficult-to-find-subjects project. I want all 365 days! I said I was going to do something, and I want to finish what I've challenged myself to do.
I should explain to you why I'm so nervous because you may be reading this and wondering why I'm making such a big deal of things. I leave for work between 6:45 - 7:15 am and work till 5:03 pm, or later. My commute to work is a lot of freeway, and then about 3 miles of Sandy Blvd. in Portland. The only people on Sandy Blvd at that time of morning are people who are waiting for the bus, or people who wouldn't appreciate being approached by someone who wants to talk their picture. My work is in an area of Portland that, although densely populated with residences and businesses, doesn't get a lot of foot traffic. There are areas in Portland that are rich with interesting people and at any moment of the day, the sidewalks are filled with potential subjects. Our office is not in one of those places.
The reason I'm nervous is that I'm now going to have to work hard to seek out those interesting places in town and I'll have to do it in the dark and cold. People aren't as happy and willing to pause to let a complete stranger take their picture when it's dark and miserable outside. Now, the real challenge begins.
Day 78 - Dion
Dion just finished his mountain bike ride when I arrived at the trail. It was raining and he was trying to shed his outer layer of wet clothes when I approached him to be day 78.
Day 79 - Griffin
Griffin is the cousin of one of my co-workers. I spotted a group of guys walking down the sidewalk as I was driving and knew that was my opportunity to find a subject for the day. As I was debating on whether or not to turn around, I realized that I knew one of them - we're co-workers! I turned my car around and stopped them at the store. I approached my co-worker, who I never get to talk to at work, and explained the project. He volunteered his cousin to be day 79. (I wanted to save my co-worker for a rainy day. Literally.)
Day 80 - Anonymous Guy at the Park (with a dog, but I failed again.)
Are you keeping track? How many person-with-dog pictures have I failed? I think we're now at number 7! The last two have been so awful that I haven't even had anything to show you! It's ok, we're just getting started. Maybe by the end of this project, I will know exactly how to direct a dog and its person to be picture perfect, and then I will have learned how to take the damn picture!
I missed the picture but I had a nice chat with this guy and learned a lot about the breed of his dog and the origin of the Labradoodle.
Day 81 - Lee
It's been a while since I've been in to see Lee but she is one of the team of people that it takes to keep me looking somewhat-presentable. She works magic on my brows. I don't know how she does it, but she manages to make my 4 thin little eyebrow hairs look like I have normal brows.
Day 82 - "The Dude" (Seth)
I knew Seth would be in to pick up his order on Halloween and I was hoping that he would be in costume. I anticipated that he would be dressed as Bigfoot because he's about 6'5" (maybe even 6'7") and Bigfoot is sort of the mascot of his company, but he did not disappoint when he showed up as "The Dude."
Day 83 - Scott
I reached a small goal with Scott. Earlier this week, I had reviewed all of the #365daypeoplepictureproject photos on my Instagram. I was pretty disappointed in myself. Other than just a few, I didn't feel like I had taken any truly nice pictures. As I evaluated the pictures, I thought that they weren't even good enough for the majority of the subjects to even use as their Facebook profile picture. (if given the opportunity.) There were a few that I could imagine my subjects using as a Facebook profile picture, but for the most part - my pictures weren't nice. I have beautiful sparkly subjects and I wasn't capturing it.
Since starting this project, I've taken on my own independent study of photography. There are thousands of amazing photographers who share their knowledge online. I study their blogs and their online videos and although I'm beginning to learn a few things, it has also been very discouraging. These people are just amazing. I am not. I've questioned that maybe I'm just not "artistic." I will never be as good as the people I'm studying. I think I've been taking in so much information that I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and defeated.
I decided to break it down all simple-like. I need to take what I'm learning and do my best to process that information and in order not to become too overwhelmed, I simply set a tiny little objective to capture a picture that so nice that my subject would like it enough to make it their Facebook profile picture. I don't think it could be any more simple than this. I want to capture a person's sparkle and I want for them to like the image that I've captured.
Friday night, I decided that I was just going to plan on meeting Anne to find a subject instead of sending her an unplanned SOS text telling her I needed someone to take a picture of! She was way ahead of me. She had already volunteered Scott and briefed him that he was going to be in my little project.
Scott was a stranger to me but I got to know him a little by eavesdropping on his conversation with his friend. Scott was showing his friend some camera-phone pictures of actual paintings that Scott had done in a painting class. His friend was so encouraging and supportive of his work but Scott dismissed it, basically saying that he wasn't a painter. I asked if I could look at his work and I was blown away! Scott is an amazing artist! I was inspired by Scott and his desire to learn painting technique. He's quite good! I thought, there's hope for me yet. I just need to work on it. Just like Scott is taking classes to learn technique, I also need to take classes to learn technique.
When I got home to prepare Scott's picture to be Instagrammed, I realized - it's one of my favorites! Scott was a great subject and I didn't screw it up! I got a good picture! I texted Anne the picture and told her I loved how it turned out. She liked it as well. I didn't realize that Anne was still with Scott. A little while later, I looked down on my phone and saw that I had a Facebook friend request notification. You know how exciting that is! I quickly opened Facebook to see who wanted to be "friends" and I immediately recognized the profile picture of the requestor as the photo I had just taken! It was Scott!!! He used the picture I had taken of him as his profile picture. I know this is so silly, but it made my week! All I want is to be able to take a picture of a person and for them to like it. I did it!
Day 84 - Erin
I was on a mission in the mall this morning when Erin and her coworker passed by me. I quickly turned around and chased after them. I'm still cracking up at how I must look as I chase down potential subjects. It's obvious why I had to chase her down though…just look at her! She's great! I love everything about her style and on top of it, she was as sweet as could be!
Erin is a hairstylist at the JCP Salon in the Vancouver Mall. She asked if I already had a stylist and I explained that I'm loyal to my stylist and she's now practically like a sister. When I said that to Erin, she gave me a funny little look but I didn't think much of it at the time.
Later, after taking Erin's picture, I spotted myself in the mirror and I was mortified. I had completely forgotten about the little hack-job I did on my own bangs this morning. I still had a few little cut hairs on my nose and cheeks! I intended to cut just one little rebel bang and then it turned into two little rebels. Then two turned into a few and before I realized the damage I was doing, I had totally messed myself up! I felt so horrible. Poor Erin! I'm sure she could tell I had just cut my own damn bangs and she probably thought I was giving her a polite brush-off and then she was still nice enough to let me take her picture! So, if you're looking for a stylist in Vancouver - please give Erin a try. And do tell her I was an idiot! I really am loyal to my girl but if i didn't have Chandra, I would definitely go see Erin.
Thank you for following along with this week's adventures! Are you ready? We're really going to have to dig down and get to work these next few months. It won't be easy - but we can do it!
If you've been a subject for this project - thank you for being you! Thank you for letting me take your picture and for helping me with this challenge. I appreciate you!