Monthly Archives: March 2018

Stranger 61/100 – Grazia

100 Strangers - Grazia“I walk all the time. I work. I write. I do many things, and I’m 80.”

Meet Grazia.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “The mind… take care of your mind. The mind is the most important.”

I detect an accent… “”I’m originally from Italy, but I left 55 years ago. I’ve lived all around the world in US American bases…”

Grazia suddenly started screaming as she saw a friend of hers walk by. Her friend explained that he also met Grazia around a camera. He said that she was trying unsuccessfully to take a picture, so he took the picture on his camera, emailed it to her and they’ve been friends ever since.

What made you leave Italy? “I got a Fulbright Fellowship (Biology).”

How would your friends describe you? “Crazy.”

What are your goals? “To have a happy life because happiness is so important. And I do have a purpose, and my purpose is uplifting people, and so on my web site I have a lot of uplifting stories because there’s quite a bit of negativity.”

Technical Notes: We were in dark shade, so we moved to a brighter area which turned out to be pretty harsh. However, I think the warm, colorful look matched Grazia’s personality nicely.

Stranger 60/100 – Alvin

100 Strangers - Alvin“I spent the last five years traveling to Ferguson, Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicago, Standing Rock, Milwaukee, Madison, Charlotte of course, Charlottesville…”

Meet Alvin.

Alvin is a featured photographer in a local exhibit called Know Justice, Know Peace — a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “To do everything I can do that day. I wasted a good fifteen to twenty years of my life thinking that there was tomorrow. I would do everything I needed to do that day… everything that day. Educationally, financially, spiritually, physically… do it that day. Stop putting off assuming that you have another opportunity to be great. Sometimes you only have that time, you only have that second.”

What do you think is your biggest challenge right now? “My pockets haven’t quite caught up with my ambition. A lot of people think that activism work just happens. Well, fuel… there’s a price tag attached to that. Food… you know, you have to pay to eat. You have to pay for lodging and things like that. If you’re an individual that has a good job, well, financially you can handle it, but how do you take off from work at a good job to go cover or document a protest in another city or state? So, there’s that balance that a lot of people don’t take into account with the work. It’s morphed into working with the Panthers. It’s morphed into being on Jay Z’s 4:44 Tour. It’s morphed into this exhibit. I have an exhibit at Davidson College entitled Three Steps Back. It’s happening. Everything that I’m wanting, that I’m speaking to, is happening, but I have to show up.”

Do you have a life philosophy that you follow? “I’m really here to get everything that they said that I couldn’t have. Everything that I wasn’t qualified for. Everything that I wasn’t educated enough for, I wasn’t in a proper position for, didn’t have the right pedigree… economically, religiously, I want. I want to speak everything that I need and want into existence, and I want to manifest it. My life’s philosophy is: go get it. Go get it. There’s no such thing as enough time. We talk about, oh I wish I had more money, I wish I had more time, but you’ve had more money, you had more time, you had more food, you had more clothes… just do it.”

Technical Notes: This is my first stranger portrait using a strobe. I used a 21” softbox attached to an XPLOR 600 strobe held in my left hand.