Tag Archives: happiness

Stranger 96/100 – Jay

100 Strangers - JayStranger 96/100 – Jay

“You’re the only person that can be responsible for your own happiness.”

Meet Jay.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “I would say that, at the end of the day, you’re the only person that can be responsible for your own happiness. Everybody goes through their respective struggles, but what makes the difference is how you choose to handle that… how you choose to get back up again. And the moment that you decide that you can’t get up again is where you’ve lost.”

Nice… did you practice for this? “No. {laughs}”

What is your biggest challenge right now”? “My biggest challenge is… finding a dream that’s worth working for. I moved out here for work… in this treadmill of work here… providing value for somebody else. And the things I want to do for myself, my dreams, have gotten lost by the wayside. The passion I used to have when I was younger is gone because of this work. So, now I’m trying to save. I’m trying to get some studio time… I do music. I’m trying to pursue that dream and put it at the forefront of my life rather than having it on the back burner.”

Where do you want to be in ten years? “I would want to be a semi-successful musician and model.”

What kind of music do you make? “I began my music career as a jazz musician. I play drums, guitar, bass and piano. In college I took to producing, mixing, mastering, rapping… I’ve always sang, but years of smoking have caught up to me, so I’m not as great a singer as I used to be or as I could have been. But I do still rap, so what I create is kind of an alternative hip-hop. I don’t really fit into any given genre because I don’t want to tell the same stories. I mean talking about money is cool, you know, if you have it, but I’d rather talk abut things that are real and that I’ve experienced.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “I’d probably put in really big letters ‘Think’. It’s not a lot to go off of, so any meaning that you draw from it is purely internal.”

Technical Notes: I had taken some photos using a reflector before we stepped into the doorway for the interview. During the interview, I noticed how amazing the light and shadow s looked on Jay’s face. I asked him if I could take another shot, and this is the result with no lights or modifiers.

Stranger 92/100 – Amala

Stranger-92-Amala.jpgStranger 92/100 – Amala

“Relationships are the reason why we exist.”

Meet Amala.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Just live and enjoy the moment. Everything will be fine. Just live! {Laughs} You don’t have to get married before you’re thirty. You don’t have to have kids. You don’t have to ride the styles. You don’t have to have this job. You can be happy without any of that.”

How did that become clear to you? “I read a lot, so reading and getting to hear other people’s perspective. I follow a lot of world news. I’m in finance, so for me it’s always interesting how people equate money to happiness, and that’s never going to stop because that’s what you’re bombarded with in your day-to-day lives. I’m like you… I love talking to strangers and getting their perspective. Expose your mindset to different ways of thinking. That’s the most important thing.”

So you’re a believer in the idea that we’re not set in stone from birth but that we can learn and change? “Absolutely. The things you find hardest in life are the things you don’t want to change. So, if you really want something, you can develop your mindset and you can cultivate to the person you want to be. It’s not impossible.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Making sure that my family is happy… taken care of. Relationships are the reason why we exist. Loneliness can cause sickness, so when you break that connection you have with other people, it will come back to haunt you. So, my goal is just to make sure that my family maintains our closeness.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “Laugh… smile. I want it to be a big naked person who is just laughing so hard that it looks like they’re on top of the world. Even though society doesn’t agree with that image, you see this person is truly happy in their form.”

Technical Notes: We were under a covered walkway, so I used my small LED panel to add more light to Amala’s face.

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.