Monthly Archives: March 2018

Stranger 64/100 – Brittany

100 Strangers - BrittanyOur next stranger certainly sticks out from the crowd.

Meet Brittany.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Be patient. Things aren’t always going to happen when you want them to happen. Things just gotta happen the way they want to.”

So you believe in fate I guess? “Something like that, yeah.”

What are your goals right now? “Right now I have three startup businesses going on. Doing as many things as I possibly can to get my name and myself out there and to market my brand. And, hopefully one day, get married. {laughs}”

What if you didn’t get married… would that be a big deal? “No. It’s as much for my mom as me. {laughs}”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “I’m very shy, believe it or not. Large groups make me very uncomfortable.”

Would you say you’re an introvert then? “Very much so.”

Me too… “Approaching people is not typically my… if it’s larger, I get scared. If it’s a couple people, I can probably get into that. Being a lot more open and being able to communicate with a large mass of people is probably my biggest challenge.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “Buy me a new car… a sensible car like a mini cooper is what I want. Buy me a few tiny homes… no set number there. And travel the world. I’d still keep my regular job.”

Do you have a life philosophy? “It changes. Every quarter I have a newfound epiphany. My biggest thing right now is not to worry. I’m a very worrisome person. Sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “Make someone else smile today.”

“So, get out of your phone. Talk to a person today. Make somebody else smile. Do something for the betterment of someone else.”

Technical Notes: We were on a shady city block. I used a reflector to increase the light on Brittany’s face.

Stranger 63/100 – Victoria

100 Strangers - VictoriaI met our next stranger as she was out with her fiancé, stranger #62 Tyler.

Meet Victoria.

“I am a student, and we just moved up here a few months ago. We were walking around trying to get lunch.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Probably be more confident in myself. A lot of times I feel like I bring myself down for no reason.”

Has that always been the case? “Yeah, for a while… and then I moved to Charlotte and got out of a small town. I still struggle with confidence sometimes just being in engineering, the only female… you know?”

I’ve seen statistics where females just drop out at great rates… “Yeah, I feel like they’re not taken as seriously.”

Why do you think females drop out of STEM? “I just feel like there’s a little bit of fear just because it’s not a very woman-populated kind of job like science, math or anything like that. They’re just kind of like, oh, that’s not what I’m supposed to do. It’s just kind of like a mental thing. It’s like, that’s a men’s job.”

How were you able to fight that? “I’m very stubborn and, again, I’ve been working on my confidence. I want to do something that’s impactful. I don’t want to sit in an office and feel like what I’m doing is unimportant. I want to do something big.”

What are your goals? “I definitely want to be a civil engineer. I’m concentrating on energy design right now so… sustainability projects. I actually just had an interview… that’s why I’m dressed like this. So, anything with sustainability really… I’m pretty open to that.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Probably focusing on what’s important. I get really distracted easily… I want to go out to lunch, I want to hang out with my friends, but I really need to focus on schoolwork and do nothing else.”

What do you do in your free time? “We go hiking. We take our dogs out and walk around uptown a little bit.”

How would your friends describe you? “Probably as social. A little feisty. But genuinely a good person I would think… I hope so.”

Technical Notes: We found a nicely lit spot with a bright spot of sun reflecting off a faraway building. I used a reflector to further light up her face.

Stranger 62/100 – Tyler

100 Strangers - TylerI ran into our next stranger while he was out getting ready to have lunch with his fiancé.

Meet Tyler.

Tyler is originally from the Northeast and has lived in Charlotte for about two years.

What kind of work do you do? “I work in technology.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Don’t rush. Take your time. Think things through. And don’t make decisions for anyone but yourself.”

Is that something you were always able to do? “Yeah, for the most part. It’s sort of a mantra.”

What is your biggest challenge? “Balancing the pursuit of success with happiness. That’s a really complicated one for a lot of people.”

Are they mutually exclusive? “Not necessarily. I think they’re very much related, and that’s where the balancing act comes into play.”

How would your friends describe you? “That depends which friend you ask… {laughs} but, mostly pretty outgoing, pretty easy going, definitely an oddball. Considerate and there when needed.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “Respect yourself.”

And you don’t think people do that enough? “Not necessarily. Not in my experience.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “You’re assuming I don’t have a million dollars. {laughs}”

I am making an assumption, yes. It’s usually a pretty accurate one… {laughs} “If I had a million dollars, I would probably play with it, invest, maybe go on a vacation. Standard stuff, nothing drastic.”

Technical Notes: It was a sunny day, so we found a shaded area out of the direct sun. Tyler was lit from his left side by a bright reflection bouncing off a distant building. I used a reflector on his right side to even out the light.

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.