How do you introduce someone you don't know that well but you feel connected to?
Would you tell he is a great person? Would you tell he has good manners and his eyes are kind? Or maybe would you say you like the tone of his voice? How about saying that his eyes sparkled when he said his wife is the best person he's ever met?
When I started A Portrait a Day, I knew it was going to be a very busy year - nobody who does nothing has a busy year, right? I knew this was going to be a year of real photography and real connections with real people. Interesting people. Little did I know that everyday people get more and more interesting the more I listen to them!
It melts my heart to leave a Portrait a Day session and receive a hug and hear "you are now my friend".
More than ever I realize that everyday I have a magic moment, a blessed opportunity of starting a new wave of good friends, good memories, and good stories to remember. I realize I am changing my life forever. Better, everyday, because these people I photograph have been touching my heart.
Every session fills my heart to the top. When I think of what I am doing I smile. I am creating meaningful portraits that make my subjects smile. Yes, this is a project about making friends. Yes, this is a project of expanding my network. And yes, this IS a CREATIVE project to make me a better photographer with the challenges it brings. Above all, however, this is a project about the PEOPLE. Interesting people who cross my path. Interesting people that I feel in my gut are good people. It is about CONNECTION.
I left yesterday's session wondering...do you realize that this is about people who connect? You, who read this...do you?
I can talk all day about lighting and techniques, and flash power and camera settings...but do people get it? That a photographer is a person who connects with another human being?
Bill Harris, my portrait yesterday, is one of the most interesting people I ever met. He lived in Spain, Brussels, Paraguay, Colombia, Mexico, Afghanistan, to name a few. He has served this country as a U.S. Diplomat in many places and used this time to make his family life more interesting.
He loved the seafood in Spain: he said he and his wife divided the countries they have visited into countries good to eat and countries not so good to eat. Simple. And yet, so "earthy". It showed me again that we are all humans and regardless of the countries we come from, the food still is a huge part of our DNA, the magnet that keeps us together, just like photographs keep our memories together.
Bill opened his house and heart to my project. He talked about the musical instruments, the art, and the people he served. He used to write speeches for Ronald Reagan. He has been married with the love of his life for 40 years. He said he collected "junk" from all over the world, and by that he meant he was trying to collect an instrument from every different place where he has been. Walking into his home was like witnessing HISTORY itself.
He is a humble man, he likes to workout and now he has me as his friend.