Tag Archives: natural light

Stranger 42/100 – Desi

Stranger-42–DesiOur next stranger stood out from the crowd of bustling people returning to work from lunch. I caught him while he was hanging out before going to work.

Meet Desi.

Desi has been skateboarding for eleven years. “I hang out with a bunch of locals in the neighborhood. There’s a bunch of skaters in Charlotte.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Listen to my parents. I kind of flew my own way.”

What would they have told you? “Stay in school. Go to college.”

What are your goals? “Right now, I’ve got this big old skateboarding thing going on. Hopefully I’ll be taking off with that.”

Are you trying to get sponsored? “I’ve been courting them for about four years. I’ve got to send more videos out.”

Thank you Desi for being part of the 100 Strangers Project. Best of luck in getting sponsored.

Stranger 39/100 – Mel

Stranger-39–Mel.jpgI spotted our next stranger near the library and regretted not approaching him for a portrait. Luckily, I ran into him again near 4th Street.

Meet Mel.

What brings you uptown today? “Travelling, actually. A few people, we’re on a camping tour, and we’re just kind of hanging out right now until things liven up, until the event starts.”

Where do you come from? “New Haven, Connecticut.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Probably be a little bit more patient and less temper, ready to strike on people so much.”

What changed all of that? “Life… struggles changed a lot of things for me.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “I don’t know, so it’s a mystery {laughs}. The biggest challenge hasn’t happened yet. It’s just small challenges.”

What is your passion? “My passion is making things. I like to make jewelry. I like meeting people. I like communicating and talking.”

How would your friends describe you? “They would describe me as odd. Most of them look at me in a way where I have good energy, so they like to be around me, but they also see that I’m a little bit crazy too. So they just kind of deal with me.”

Technical Notes: We were on a shady street corner, and Mel was facing some bright buildings.

Stranger 37/100 – Kara

Stranger-37–KaraI spotted our next stranger with a friend in one of our city parks called The Green.

Meet Kara.

“I’m a labor and delivery nurse.”

How long have you been doing that? “About a year and four months.”

And what do you think of it so far? “I love it… very challenging, very rewarding.”

Is that something you want to do for a long time? “Yeah, I want to catch babies eventually. I want to be a midwife and catch them.”

What do you like to do for fun? “I like to do yoga. I like to shop, sleep, eat… just hang around the city.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “That nothing was as serious as it seemed back then. Yeah, just live and be who you want to be and really figure out your voice. Because nobody else can live your life except you. Love yourself. Do your own thing. Have your own voice.”

Was that something that was hard to discover? “Yeah, I think, especially in high school, you’re still living with your parents, so you’re still kind of following what they want you to be. And then you go to college or you venture out into the world and you figure out what you really do like, what makes you tick, what makes you happy. And, after a while, your parents aren’t responsible for you. They do the best they can with your upbringing, but then it’s up to you to make yourself a great person.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Adulting… {laughs} Adulting is hard! Work-life balance. And as we’re growing up, my friends, we’re doing different things. People are getting married and having kids. So definitely trying to maintain friendships. Adulting… you know, is hard… but it’s fun.”

How would your friends describe you? “Very spontaneous, but serious. Quiet, but loud. It’s like my life is just like total contradictions. I can be very quiet. I can be very loud. I can be very shy, but then I’m also outgoing. But I’m very loving and loyal, so those things are constant.”

Technical Notes: This photo was taken at the end of the day as the sun was setting. Kara’s face was lit by sunlight bouncing off a nearby building.

Stranger 36/100 – Nicole

100 Strangers - NicoleI heard intense laughter in the distance. Following the sound, I came across a group of four friends taking pictures of each other.

Meet Nicole.

What advice would you give your younger self? “To travel more and just become more experienced in life.”

How would your friends describe you? “Crazy, funny… I don’t care what other people think. I just do me.”

“I teach kindergarten in a dual language program. I teach the English portion and then my partner does Spanish.”

What is your biggest challenge? “The school system is crazy right now, so it’s a lot that they’re putting on teachers. I’m just trying to juggle the love of teaching as well as the demands of what the state and the nation are putting on teachers.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “Travel the world. I would move abroad… South America, that’s where I’m actually planning next year, South America and Central America.”

Is there a particular country…? “Right now, I’m looking at Nicaragua and Bolivia.”

Technical Notes: This photo was taken with natural light on a clear, sunny day in a shaded area. I chose this photo because I liked the mix of warm and cool light on Nicole’s hair.

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.

Stranger 34/100 – Peyton

100 Strangers - PeytonI found our next stranger sitting in The Green during the golden hour just before sunset.

Meet Peyton.

Peyton was uptown with her male companion, Sheldon, to visit Discovery Place (a local hands-on science and technology museum), but it turned out to be closed.

What do you do for fun? “I watch movies, and I hang out with my friends a lot.”

What music do you listen to? “It’s either classic rock or country.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Try more things maybe like branch out. I was kind of shy, so I didn’t really try a lot of stuff.”

What are your goals? “I want to go to Clemson University.”

I told her that’s where I went to college. “Really? You went to Clemson! Gosh, I love that school. Some of my family are around there, and so we’ve just always been fans of the school. My grandma has been a super-fan since the eighties. They were there when the new library was opened. I just love the campus so much.”

“I want to major in English or Communications and be an editor. I’d love to be a book editor, but that’s not very realistic so probably just a business editor.”

Where would you want to live? “If I was by myself or with a roommate or something, then, yes, big city. As soon as I got a family, I would want to move to the suburbs.”

Do you have any causes that you work for? “Well, I volunteer at Holy Angels a lot. It’s little place in Gaston County. It’s sort of like a nursing home, except it’s for kids and adults with mental disabilities.”

Thank you so much Peyton for being part of my 100 Strangers Project.

Technical Notes: Peyton was already sitting with her back to the sun, so I decided to try to capture a backlit photo. Luckily, the light bouncing off a building was bright enough so that her face was still lit up. I lowered the color temperature in Lightroom to reduce the orange cast and to introduce the cooler green tones.


Stranger 33/100 – Samiah

Stranger-33–SamiahWhat brings you to uptown? “Food!”

Meet Samiah.

“I just graduated high school. I don’t actually have a job. I’m trying to save money for school.”

What do you hope to study? “Political science and psychology.”

What do you do in your free time? “At home with my brothers. Reading, writing, I really like art and things like that, so I do that in my spare time.”

What kind of art do you do? “More like a mixed media thing. I’m not the best painter. I can draw pretty well. I really like putting things together, overlapping textures and things like that.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “That it makes a difference to be prepared for anything. So, kind of take into account anything that can go wrong and prepare yourself for it, so that you’re not allowing yourself to get overwhelmed.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “I would hire the best lawyer to get my name changed so that I can go ahead and start school. Because that’s the only reason I’m not able to start now. I would buy my parents a house so they could stop paying rent. And then the rest of that money would help me get through my bachelors and masters degree and my own house somewhere in the mountains. I like the cold.”

Tell me more about the name change. “My family is Jewish, so we often don’t give our children their names until a week or so after they’re born. My name was never fixed and I’m now eighteen and when I went to apply for school and scholarships, I realized that my name doesn’t match all my records for North Carolina, so I couldn’t accept any of my scholarship money.”

“My name… doesn’t exist outside of North Carolina and my social security card, birth certificate all have the wrong name on it.”

Is that going to be a big deal? “It has been which is why I’m trying to fix it. {laughs}”

Technical Notes: This photo was taken in an open area off the sidewalk in front of some dark windows. I’ve wanted to shoot a portrait here for a while because of the nice dark background but was never able to find a good stranger nearby until today.