Tag Archives: 85mm

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.