Monthly Archives: January 2018

Stranger 48/100 – Shequita

100 Strangers - ShequitaStranger 48/100 – Shequita

What brings you uptown? “Date night!”

Meet Shequita.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “To pay more attention and to get close to Jesus at an early age.”

Is that something you didn’t do when you were younger? “When I was younger, yeah, I was a little rebellious…”

What do you do in your free time? “I minister to people, encourage people to live better, to apply wisdom. I love encouraging the youth… I like to encourage them to live better and to walk in their identity and their truth.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “If I had a million dollars, I would invest it. I would invest it in my gift. I would invest it in something with purpose like to help the homeless, help somebody else.”

How would your friends describe you? “They would say that I’m outgoing, strong, fun person, family person.”

Technical Notes: This is my first night shot with my new LED panel, and I’m very happy with the way it turned out. I set it to a warm setting (3200K) and adjusted the color temperature in Lightroom to 2960K to make the colors cooler. In the future, I will add more light on the subject to help me bring down the ISO and to avoid burning in the bokeh so much.

Stranger 47/100 – Isabel

100 Strangers - IsabelOur next stranger was on break for the day in Charlotte with her friend — stranger #46 Katie.

Meet Isabel.

Are you also a flight attendant? “Yeah, we travel together.”

What do you do when you’re not working? “Just meet up with my friends, go to cinema or shopping. I live around Munich, near the center, so there’s always a lot of stuff to do.”

Are you looking to go to university? “Right now, I’m going to university, but I’m not actually studying this… I like Chinese Sinology and the History of Arts, but I’m not actually doing those. Right now I just started being a flight attendant, and that’s my actual thing to do.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Just not take everything too serious. If anything happens, just say ‘it’s not the end of the world’. In the end everything will be good.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “Maybe buy lots of houses and then let other people live there, so you have like a lot of money your whole life and for the next generation. Yeah, and just go with all my friends shopping and just traveling a lot.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “I put too much pressure on myself.”

How would your friends describe you? “I think open minded {laughs} and maybe funny.”

Stranger 46/100 – Katie

100 Strangers - KatieIt was one of those days where I didn’t get any stranger portraits and was leaving empty handed. On the way back to the car, I ran into our next stranger and my luck suddenly changed.

Meet Katie.

“I’m actually from Austria… Innsbruck. I’m a flight attendant.”

What do you do when you’re not working? “Meet up with my friends, go to the fitness studio {laughs} and just chill. That’s it.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Just use every chance you get in life and be open to everything.”

What are your goals? “For the next couple of years, be a flight attendant… I started two months ago, so I’m really new at this job. I really want to work at BMW.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “My biggest challenge is to decide what I want to study back in university because I don’t know yet. Maybe Economics…”

Technical Notes: We were in a shady plaza with no direct light. I used a reflector to bounce as much light as possible onto Katie’s face.

Stranger 45/100 – Dante

Stranger-45–Dante.jpgI met our next stranger as he was heading to work at a local bakery.

Meet Dante.

What do you do in your free time? “See my son, with my Mom, family… family time man. When I’m not working, I’m with my people.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Take advantage of opportunities that come to you. If you see an open door, take it. Don’t just look at it and go down the hallway.”

Do you have a philosophy on life? “Family matters. That’s it really. Just look out for your people you know what I’m saying?”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “Give it to my mom.”

How would your friends describe you? “Calm. I’m always happy. It’s just something that I’ve always been like that.”

What are your goals? “I’d like to own my own pet shop. If I save enough, maybe I can get a loan, get enough money, open up my own store, get a little property. I’m an animal person. I love dogs. Dogs are good companions and good for people, period. They heal.”

Thank you Dante for being part of my 100 Strangers Project.

Technical Notes: This picture was taken with natural light towards the end of the day. There was a bright reflection of light coming from a building across the street.

Stranger 44/100 – Lindsey

Stranger-44–Lindsey.jpgI caught our next stranger while she was slightly lost and looking for the post office.

Meet Lindsey.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “I know it sounds corny, but just being myself. I spent so much time being all these different versions of myself, but it wasn’t until college that I actually tried being true to myself.”

What changed? “I fell in love. And he helped me fall in love with the parts of me that I tried to hide for so long.”

What is your greatest struggle right now? “Feeling like I’m experiencing a mid-life crisis at the age of 24. I really don’t know what I’m doing with my life, or what I want to be, or where I’m heading. But maybe that’s normal. I hope so.”

Technical Notes: This photo was taken in an open plaza with natural light. There was a bright reflection of the sun in in the building she was facing providing a nice catch light in her eyes.

Stranger 43/100 – Lillian

100 Strangers - LillianI saw our next stranger walking by as I was interviewing stranger #41 Tim. I regretted not being able to approach her for a portrait. Luckily, I ran into her a little later…

Meet Lillian.

What brings you uptown? “I’m a librarian uptown actually. {laughs} But, I also love to walk around because I love the scenery. That’s the best thing about Charlotte. I get inspiration here because I’m a singer…”

Tell me more… “So, I have an album coming out next year in February called 1687, but I actually recorded my first video uptown because I love being up here so much. I just look around at the places where we recorded before and I just look at how Charlotte is changing. My Nana actually worked at this building right here. She worked for Wells Fargo back when it was First Union and Wachovia. She passed away in ‘06. I kind of feel close to her up here… I love trench coats, and she always had one.”

I feel like locations have a memory of some sort… “Right! Literally I was passing by… it was a certain scene in my video. It was 5th and Tryon, that corner, and I was looking there and just thinking about my friend who played my love interest, he’s in LA, and just to go to that spot like I feel him even though he’s not there.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Always go for it. Go extremely hard. Go hard for your goals and your dreams and like never give up. And, love yourself at the moment because you always miss that timeframe. You might think that you’re nothing or you’re not beautiful, but as the years pass you look back at those moments and you’re like, wait no, I was beautiful or I could have gone harder or I could have accomplished a goal. So, literally, like live in the now, be grateful and enjoy every moment.”

How would you describe your music? “You kind of feel it in your soul. It’s just me. I’m a vibrant person. So even with slow songs or fast songs, I like the music to be vivid. If you don’t feel the lyrics, you usually feel the beat or the rhythm. Yeah, life is like music… it has memories, it has feelings.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “My biggest challenge right now is to know that I can… or reaching success. And when I say success, whatever I feel like success is… happiness or just accomplishing goals. Because you just have so many stumbling blocks. You sometimes are afraid. You’re afraid of success, and you don’t know if you can get there. So the struggle is just knowing that I should just keep going and just to see whatever happens… and to be ok with whatever happens.”

It’s easy to give up or doubt yourself… “Right, right, right. It’s taken a long time and I’m 30… It’s been the doubt that has followed me for a very long time. Just getting rid of the doubt. Yep, the doubt… getting rid of the doubt is the biggest challenge right now.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “Love yourself and love others no matter what.”

It was inspiring to meet you Lillian. Thank you for being part of my 100 Strangers Project.

Technical Notes: This photo was taken with natural light in an open plaza. I was initially concerned that there wasn’t enough separation between her trench coat and the background, but I soon came to like the overall high key look.

I’m very happy to call Lillian a friend. Since our initial stranger encounter, we’ve done two photo shoots together to create some promotional shots. Her debut album will be released in February. In the meantime, you can see her video for Queen (Wipe Me Down) which was shot here in Charlotte. Fun fact: At the 12 second mark you can see Stranger #9, Anthony, playing guitar.

Stranger 42/100 – Desi

Stranger-42–DesiOur next stranger stood out from the crowd of bustling people returning to work from lunch. I caught him while he was hanging out before going to work.

Meet Desi.

Desi has been skateboarding for eleven years. “I hang out with a bunch of locals in the neighborhood. There’s a bunch of skaters in Charlotte.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Listen to my parents. I kind of flew my own way.”

What would they have told you? “Stay in school. Go to college.”

What are your goals? “Right now, I’ve got this big old skateboarding thing going on. Hopefully I’ll be taking off with that.”

Are you trying to get sponsored? “I’ve been courting them for about four years. I’ve got to send more videos out.”

Thank you Desi for being part of the 100 Strangers Project. Best of luck in getting sponsored.