Stylish Sunshades Man, October 2011 | Seemingly shy before the camera but willing to take the shot. He was as cool and as smooth as he appears to be in this photo. He didn't say much. However, he was flattered. It was a quiet moment but filled with opportunity - he made for a great subject. A great ex-stranger.
Adam - The Photographer, June 2011 | As I made my way upstairs in AvantGarden, I attempted to capture a photo of the stairway, it was extremely eerie. I prepared to snap when suddenly, a man starts coming down and stumbles in the way of my photo with his camera in hand and says in a heavy breath, "I'll let you take my picture if you let me take yours!" I laughed, then agreed to his offer. He directed me outside to the porch and we snapped photos of each another. Then, he requested that I take one without my camera in my face as he took steps closer and closer to me. He told me that he takes photos of people everywhere he goes. I asked him if I could get a shot of him and he said, "Of course!!!" After I finished shooting, he began telling me about himself and showed me his photos on his camera (all 72 photos!). He gave me a description of each and every photo and told me all of his friends names as well. He mentioned that he just bought the camera and loves taking landscape shots. He had some great photos of mountains and things of that nature (no pun :). Nonetheless, our encounter was filled with fun and an exchange of talent. This is where strangers become ex-strangers.
George and his newspaper, April 2011 | He spoke with me for a while. And he encouraged me in a way I was not expecting. He asked me what I wanted to do after college and said "Make sure you get a job in your field before you graduate! You can do so much, don't waste time because the job markets are tough now-a-day." He also told me about his life, in brief. Interestingly enough, he had a relationship with Christ and he allowed me to pray with him right there, as he patiently waited for his clothes to come out of the washateria.
One thing I won't forget is the way my heart unfurled after he spoke about his great appreciation for his feet. He travels, miles and miles, on foot. And he told me it takes him days to get to different locations. I was in complete awe. George was an amazing and extremely open man and I won't forget him. I simply can't. He shared words with me that elevated my spirits to a level I had not felt in a while that week.
This is what happens when strangers become ex-strangers become friends. Even if only for just a moment.
Pigeons fed by Men, June 2011 | Counterculture, for men whose meals come in small portions to share what they have with animals that die quickly and are treated with great disgust. It rocked me and shook my mind how beautiful their giving was. I do not know them men personally, nor do I know the pigeons. One thing I do know is the relationship between them both, two hungry entities sharing what they have , whether tangibly or intangibly, they were there for one another.
Rollion and Rick, March 2011 | Her passion for his drive was more than his own. Her passion for his potential was more driven than his own. But that made their love more evident, more real, truthfully genuine. She also encouraged me. She told me that I need to not let this gift dwindle away. That I should contact a magazine company and tell them what I do - she said that I have a lot of courage to walk up to a bunch of strangers and start snapping photos. Thank God for courage. She encouraged the both of us - and even in her current state, she still had much to smile about. Even in her current state, she still found it in her heart to encourage us. Love is so unselfish.
Mike Smith, December 2010 | his painting was quite the thrill. vertically, it read, "she threw both of her hands up in the air and said in a loud voice: 'I'M GOING TO BE GREAT! I'M GOING TO BE TRULY GREAT! NOBODY KNOWS HOW GREAT I'M GOING TO BE!' 'all right,' i said." as the words lead to a body in a bare body broken and in a position of fatal defeat. how far do we go to be considered "great" in this culture?
Grin Worth a Smile, January 2011 | i assume we expect that a beautiful smile should come with a mouth filled with pearly whites, perfect and in their proper place. but in my new findings, a beautiful smile is made up of a warm and genuine heart that is displayed through the expression on ones face. joy sprung on his face without hesitation, without teeth to display. it was beautiful. our expectations are sometimes set higher than the true value of what we are expecting.
Wade, December 2009 | this man was a character. he was intimidating at one point until i was able to sit down with him and just simply talk. i rummaged through my purse in search of a piece of paper to write with before we carried on. i got up, located a piece of cardboard and tore a piece off to record some things we spoke about. he was 33 in this photo. when he was 15, he was a part of a gang called "the polo crip posse." i laughed when he said that. he was serious. he witnessed an opposing gang member shoot at one of his friends. and at that point, he knew he needed to give his life to Jesus. "my sole purpose was to give back and to keep the youth out of harms way." what touched me the most was when he said after katrina hit, 25 family members moved in with him and all they had were 7 air mattresses. made me reevaluate some things. imagine that.
Nathan, November 2010 | i'm not quite sure if you remember him, but i do. and like i said once before, i'll never forget him. he was at the same park that he had been in may, my first time meeting him. and when i saw him this day, i was overwhelmed. overjoyed. i felt every good emotion but to a high extent. i walked up to him with my excitement and said, "nate! how are you!?" he responded with sorrow coated all over his voice, "i'm ok." i said, "do you remember me!? we met about four months ago!" he tilted his head to receive my appearance inside of his deep sea blue-green eyes and said, "no. not really." his body language had been one of discomfort and shame. he did not want to be bothered and he looked as if the world was on his shoulders. i was tempted to turn from him, to continue on with my day but i couldn't. i just couldn't because the bond we shared on first meeting one another was amazing. so i probed him a little more, then simply asked if i could pray with him and for him and he said yes.
after prayer, his mood shifted into a completely new position. he said, "i do remember you! jasmine! right?" his words and reaction inspired tears that i withheld and a smile and i responded, "yes." we carried light conversation before we departed. i told him how beautiful his eyes were again and he said, "you said that last time and since then, you've been the only one to tell me that." i reminded him about the scripture that he had given me from his Bible and he said "here you go!" while handing me another page that was crumbled into his pocket as his daily read, genesis 20. he, then, took a photo with me and allowed me to take one of him. i have never felt this type of feeling before.
this is where strangers become ex-strangers. this is why i am inspired daily. because strangers don't have to carry that badge for the rest of their lives if we just make an attempt to make them ex-strangers.
Little Man, November 2010 | full of all types of wonders and excitement, this little man is. he seems to have a heavy mind weighed with ideas and thoughts that can't escape him because he's to young to speak complete sentences. but the mystery of him is intriguing in and of itself. each time we see him, he is calm and his lips curl into a smile that is so warm. i can't imagine him outside of the way i see him each time i do. his eyes are captivating and young. savor your infant years, little man.
The Hidden Eye, March 2010 | i could not quite tell whether they saw me or not but in the action of photographing this photo, the two men were engaging in a conversation that held importance. they stood and talked for awhile and i have never seen two men stare into each others eyes for that long. all i know is that some eyes are true, some eyes are visible, some are hidden behind what is true. i still wonder what it was that they were speaking about.
Don and Friend, September 2010 | i can almost smell the fumes of the heavy cigarette smoke that lingered from the both of their mouths and fingers. and i can almost feel the volumes of their cry for help beating the drums of my ears. i enjoyed every second of conversation shared with these two men and my brother. soon, we will meet again with you.
Bobby and Arthur, August 2010 | it was a pleasure seeing him again. it was even more of a pleasure that he, Arthur (right), remembered me from the last time we met. this is the friend he was waiting for that day. the both of them were very funny. this is where strangers become ex-strangers.
Ex-Stranger on Bike, July 2010 | i met him last night. he was sitting on his bike outside of a gas station. a friend and i walked over to him and i asked politely, "do you mind me getting a photo of you?" he said, "yes, i do." i said, "so i can't?" while nervously scratching his arm he stuttered and said, "what is it for?" i told him and he said "go ahead." i wanted to ask more questions but his piercing eyes led me not to. i was just thankful to capture the state he was currently in.
Man and Boy at Park, July 2010 | i was lurking around the park like some type of predator and i caught this man trying to climb up the railings of the swing set. i said out loud to him, "be careful!" in a jokingly manner. he came down slowly and passed a smile my way. i asked if i could capture the moment of him pushing the young boy. he said "yeah!" it was special. the comfort of a man, possibly his father or guardian, pushing the young boy on the swing, on a day filled with breeze. it made me think.
James, July 2010 | i can feel his energy as if he were still standing in front of me. i met Mr. James last night, sovereignly. he has been homeless for 3 years. due to depression and unforgiveness. he said to me, "i'm trying to allow god to forgive those who have wronged me." he had such a beautiful spirit. he also said, "God will make a way." i replied, "oh my goodness, so you are saved?" he said, "yes, i love my Lord, Jesus. He saved me!" he even gave me a handshake and a big old hug. i was so happy . so very happy. i felt my tears tickling and stinging my eyes. luckily, they did not trickle down for him to see. he told me he had been outside of _____ trying to help them move their equipment out of the place for a little bit of cash - it was his only promised income. he told me we should come out tuesday nights , that he could get us in! i chuckled, he laughed. after i told him my name, he smiled with such longing and said his neice's name was jasmine too. i could feel his loving energy towards his niece transfer into me, he missed her. he also told me that alot of people had been wanting to snap photos of him. i told him it was because he had such great features. he said all he needed was just a penny. because all he had was a dime. i wish i had something on me. my friend handed me some teddy grahms that were left over. i gave them to him. he said with a voice full of gratefulness, "that's great. some food. really what i need. thank you. bless you." i didn't wanna leave him. but the greensheet truck behind us forced us to keep moving forward. forced us all to keep moving forward. i pray that james here keeps moving. forward.
Bobby, March 2010 | a friend and i were taking a road trip and she needed her headlight fixed. we rode to an auto parts close by and we were referred to madd dog and shaggy dog. yes, those were their "real" names. so, as we were en route to search for these two dogs, we ran into Mr. Bobby here as he had been working on someone else's wounded vehicle. he instructed us to go back to the auto parts, there he would repair what had been broken. we stirred up conversation with Mr. Bobby and he had been repairing cars for cash for over 20 years. he said he couldn't afford to pursue what he really wanted to do, instead, he discovered his craft in healing wounded vehicles. he is paid enough to get by, with the pleasures of placing smiles on customers faces. a job he loves to do. for his community. it was a pleasure speaking to a man with so much pride in his handcraft.
Street Soprano, March 2010 | once he saw exactly what i was doing, he immediately told me to stop. because he hadn't been able to shave for days! after that, he began to tell us his passion for music. how he makes a lot of his money on this corner. i can vaguely remember what we exchanged words about, but he motivated me to continue to pursue my dreams. no matter what my income may be, continue to pursue my dreams.
Jukebox in Earphones, March 2009 | there was a moment where i was snapping a shot of downtown's atmosphere and this man was walking passed and stopped and posed for me. he said, "i feel like a superstar!" that statement warmed my heart. how an accidental capture can make someone feel so immaculate. so big. and so important. that feeling in that moment, for the both of us, was wonderful.