Monthly Archives: February 2018

Stranger 53/100 – Bre

100 Strangers - BreWhat brings you to uptown? “Homework.”

Meet Bre.

“I have to write some reports on like International stuff, so I’m going to the Mint Museum. There’s a photography exhibit from Mexican artists. Just something local that I didn’t have to spend money for.”

What are you studying in school? “Accounting… nothing fun. I’m good with budgets.”

What do you do for fun? “I write… fiction and fan fiction.”

What genres do you like? “For fan fiction, I’m doing a lot of Sherlock right now.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Don’t be so afraid. It’s something I’m learning right now.”

What is your biggest challenge? “My anxiety… just being out, talking to people, doing stuff.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “Travel.”

Do you have a place in mind? “No, I just want to backpack. But, I want to be brave enough to backpack.”

How would your friends describe you? “A laugher I guess.   I laugh a lot. I like to make people laugh if I can.”

If you could put up a billboard, what would it say? “To thine own self be true. Just be yourself, and if that’s hard then learn to make it easy I guess. Love yourself.”

Do you follow that rule? “I try. I’m learning to right now. That’s what my playlist is… female singers who are all about loving themselves.”

Technical Notes: This photo was taken in an open alleyway in front of a dark window. Bre kindly helped me hold a reflector to brighten up her face.

Stranger 52/100 – Sparkplug

Stranger-52–Sparkplug.jpgOur next stranger is a fire-breathing clown who was uptown getting a permit from the fire marshal for an upcoming show.

Meet Sparkplug.

“I’ve been performing with fire for five years. I’ve been a third generation sideshow performer most of my life. I’m 37… it’s safe to say I’ve been entertaining for at least 27 years.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “I would remind my younger self to be patient. My impatience caused a lot of my own frustration. If I would have just sat back and enjoyed the time as it passed, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more. In my older age I have learned to kind of shut my mouth but open my ears a little more. Someone told me ‘To show patience is to move gracefully through time’.”

What is your biggest challenge? “I am my own worst enemy, you know. I’ve just kind of got to remind my self to just kind of chill out and relax. I’m a clown, but sometimes I take myself too seriously. Sometimes I take everything too seriously.”

What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have about clowns? “Oh, wow! The biggest misconception about clowns is that we want to steal your kids. Personally, I don’t even like children. I’m not that kind of clown. I do adult parties. With the popularity of Stephen King’s IT and American Horror Story… and there’s a legitimate fear called coulrophobia, which is the fear of clowns. With those things resurging in popular view, it’s kind of put a negative stigma on clowning.”

Where do you want to be in ten years? “In ten years what I would love to do is to have a traveling circus with a cast and crew of people that I trust and love dearly. We can travel around and remind the world how great and entertaining this place can be. Once we have a full run and kind of tire out the tour buses, I’d like to setup a circus school and kind of teach the next generation how to keep this culture alive and how to entertain the masses. That’s the grand scheme. We’ll see how it goes.”

Technical Notes: We were in a bright area with the sun reflecting strongly off a nearby building. I used a reflector to try to even out the light. This is my first portrait with my new 85mm lens.

Stranger 51/100 – Gyasi

100 Strangers - Gyasi“I’m what they call a borderline narcissist. That’s why boxing is perfect for me”

Meet Gyasi.

“I’m originally from Brooklyn, but I moved a lot in my life. Charlotte is home for the time being, but it’s not home.”

What do you do in Charlotte? “Right now, I’m an amateur boxer. I’m currently in between employers. I’m going to leave this Saturday to move to California to pursue a career of professional boxing. Because I know, in order to take it to that next step, I need to be around a high level of competition.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “I would tell my younger self to not bother with community college, as bad as it sounds, and to take all the money that you hoarded and go pursue your dreams… fight.”

So, get knowledge from the real world? “Yeah, that’s your real college. Like that gym, blood, sweat and tears — those are your real four years. Everyone has their own perspective you know what I mean? So, everyone is going to have their own experience. Everyone reacts to stimulus different. So therefore, everything is not for everyone.”

What does boxing mean to you? “I feel like it’s the challenge. I feel like I’ve played other sports… I’ve lost, I’ve had my ass kicked, you know what I mean? But, there’s nothing as personal and there’s no triumph that’s sweeter. To me, it’s just the sweetest victory you can taste.”

Seems like there’s a certain amount of truth to boxing… “Even in boxing, the better man doesn’t always win. Being able to push through that adversity, that physically adversity of getting beaten, that just makes it so sweet. Because you’re putting yourself through the worst.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Getting over my number one opponent and that’s myself. Injuries, bad eating habits, I’m still smoking… stuff like that. So I would say I’m my biggest challenge to be honest.”

Technical Notes: This photo was taken in natural light with a reflector.

Stranger 50/100 – Danielle

Stranger-50–Danielle.jpgI met our next stranger at the main train stop in Uptown Charlotte. She was a good sport to do our photo shoot in the middle of a crowded train platform.

Meet Danielle.

What brings you uptown today? “Yeah, it’s called College Launch. They’re just like preparing us for college and the future.”

What do you do in your free time? “Baking, watching shows.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Just be cautious of the decisions you’re going to be making.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “{laughs} I’d actually just put it in the bank, save up for my college and just help my mom out.”

How would your friends describe you? “A fun, energetic person.”

Where do you want to be in ten years? “I want to open up my own bakery. I just started baking cakes and then I just kind of went to cheesecakes, brownies, cookies and different things.”

Do you have a family that likes to eat? “{laughs} Yes!”

Technical Notes: This picture was taken with natural light under a slightly tinted glass shelter.

Stranger 49/100 – Brian

100 Strangers - BrianIt was hard not to notice our next stranger sitting on a tandem bike with his companion, Lyselle.

Meet Brian.

So you’re bike riding and having adventures today? “Yeah, that’s a way to put it.”

What do you do when you’re not out and about? “I own an industrial motor repair company. We basically repair big, bad-ass magnets for power plants and coal mines. We have a small foundry and some different metal cutting machines. I do some music, and I’m a self-development coach.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Engage people. You know, your network is your net worth. You’re as valuable was the ideas that surround you. The ideas that people possess. So, engage it. You gotta engage them. Know where you’re headed and get those ideas surrounding you. If you’re seeking money, well then you probably need to get around more affluent people. If you’re seeking art, you need to get around artists.”

I heard a saying that you’re the product of the five people you hang around with the most. “Absolutely. Your wealth, the amount of money you’ll see, your health, your attitude, all kinds of things, your manners… And I don’t believe that it’s six degrees of separation anymore. I think we’re probably looking at three or four now with the Internet. You’re only just a few steps away from the prince of any country or the king or the president of any nation. There are barriers to entry, but you can still navigate through them. The opportunities will follow, the success will follow, the dreams will follow quicker when you have the proper people on your team.”

Technical Notes: It was the end of the day and the sun was shining on Brian’s right side. I used a reflector to bounce some light onto his face to create a more even look.