Tag Archives: 100 str

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 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 40/100 – Katelyn

Stranger-40–KatelynI met our next stranger after she and her companion got kicked out of a black tie event at Belk Theater.

Meet Katelyn.

“Well, I really thought there was an opera tonight, and there is an opera. My school told me I could come to the opera and it would be complimentary. We came on the wrong night and we just got kicked out of Belk Theater because we were so underdressed. And we didn’t realize it was such a big thing and I came on the wrong night, so we just got kicked out.”

Well, you seem well dressed to me… “That’s what we thought! I even asked them ‘do I look ok?’”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Stand up for the things you believe in as soon as you can. Stand up for yourself because I didn’t do it fast enough.”

And what made you realize that? “Basically, I was always quiet, and I let people tell me what to do and just kind of push me around. I just hit this point where I got tired of saying yes to everyone and just wanted to tell them that I’m not ok with it.”

Do you have any goals? “Yeah, I’m actually in college to be a photojournalist. My goal is to travel a lot. I’ve been travelling a lot recently and I’m trying just to keep travelling as much as I can and meeting as many people as I can. And I’m sad I didn’t come out with my camera tonight, but I didn’t know…”

What makes you interested in photojournalism? “I started really young doing mission work, and a lot of people saw the people that we were helping as exotic and poor people and like Neanderthals. I just feel like I got on a different level with them and I understand these people. I want to use photojournalism as an outlet for people to see people for who they truly are rather than what they assume they are.”

Where would you want to go on your first assignment? “I started doing mission work in Honduras and that’s where my home is and all my people and my heart and all my friends. I would love to go back and just really show who they are.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “If I had a million dollars… I’ve actually been thinking about that lately. A large chunk of it would go to my mom… single mom, hard times, you know… love my mom. Probably to Puerto Rico… probably to Honduras and probably to Charlotte’s education system. And then I would want to buy or build a small cabin because I’ve always wanted a tiny house. 400 square foot… that’s what I’ve wanted my whole life.”

Thank you Katelyn and best of luck in your photojournalism career.

Technical Notes: This is the second night portrait I’ve attempted with a handheld LED light. I set the light to a warm setting (3200K) and correspondingly set the color temperature to 3200K in Lightroom. The ISO registered at 500, adding a little noise, and the bokeh lights got burned in a little bit. To fix this next time, I’ll turn the light up to a brighter level.

Stranger 35/100 – Max

Stranger-35–Max.jpgApproaching complete strangers on the street can be difficult work. That’s why it was so refreshing when our next stranger approached me.

Meet Max.

Max was riding his mountain bike through the busy streets of Charlotte. When he saw me with my camera, he gave me the universal ‘take a picture’ sign and pointed to himself. Of course I said yes.

Max seemed rather stoic at first, so I started talking him up by saying, “You don’t have to smile. You can smile if you want to… it’s not required.” Max let out a small chuckle and then burst into a big smile. That’s the moment I captured in this shot.

What brings you uptown? “Bike riding as you can see. Just getting my adrenalin rush going through the traffic in and out of cars… closest to a car as I can get. Got to live on the edge.”

Are you a student or do you work? “I’m at CP (local community college) right now getting my associates in fine art in music. Throughout high school, I was in the marching band. Right now… I’m trying to major in music education and music technology. So, I’m trying to be a band director, but make music also.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Stay positive… definitely stay positive. And don’t fall into what society wants you to be. Be your own image.”

Amen. And is that something you’ve had trouble doing? “Yeah, because growing up, I have a physical disability, growing up was like ‘Oh, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. You’ll never be this, you’ll never be that.’ So, trying to stand out, growing up, was a big thing for me. Because I already stood out, but trying to stand out from what people thought of me.”

Did that make you want to fit in even more? “At first it did, but then I realized trying to fit in isn’t going to get it… stand out. You got to really focus on what you want to do in life and where you want to go, not where your friends are going or where you think you want to be. Where do you want to go? And then maybe from there, you can figure out how you want your life to be.”

Is there anything you want to say to the people who read this? “Stay positive, keep an open mind and do what you love doing.”

Words to live by… Thank you so much Max for telling us what life is all about.

Technical Notes: This natural light photo was taken on a sunny day in an open plaza.