Wednesday, July 6, 2011

100,000 words - Week One

Wow, I'm already learning so much from this project, I had to jot some thoughts down.

Firstly: I got my first rejection a few days ago. I was extremely tired and feeling lazy and really didn't want to take my picture. I made the decision to walk outside and the first semi-interesting person I saw, I would ask to take their picture. As if God had heard my resolve, walking along right outside my apartment was a ginger. I took a deep breath as usual, embracing the terror of going up to some random stranger, telling myself no one had denied me before. The moment I approached and the words, "can I take your picture?" came spilling out of my mouth, I could sense her discomfort with the situation. She laughed a little and started messing with her hair as she asked "why?"
Now, I've had this reaction before, so I simply explained my project and anticipated her permission. No such luck. For the first time in 6 days of this, a person responded, "is it alright if I decline?"

Panic. Embarrassment. Guilt.

I of course said yes, and walked down the street a ways. I had two options now.

1 -- give up. What if someone else rejected me? What if people think I'm crazy? What if no one else lets me take their picture?

2 -- ACCEPT, LEARN, GROW. Someone said no. The first out of MANY. Of course some people are going to be uncomfortable with a random stranger stopping them on the street asking to take their picture. It's natural. So I just need to accept this rejection and move on to the next person. They might say no, but in this world with billions of people, there are bound to be 100 people that are alright with me snapping a shot of them. ESPECIALLY if they know they have something interesting about them. Hey, some people might even be flattered by it. One person saying no holds no weight.

It all turned out awesome anyway. But really, I think this taught me a lot about rejection in RL. I'm going to get rejected for SOMETHING at some point. It's inevitable. So I can either stop trying and give up OR I can learn from it and move on. I was excited by this discovery.

Secondly: I get extremely tense when I'm going up to someone to ask for their picture. Seriously, I basically ask "can I take your picture?", take the shot, thank them and SPLIT. I'm always too nervous to ask their name, anything about them, even if it would be natural conversation.
Well, on day 7 I took a walk down to Kohls and BJ's in search of someone interesting in a sea of boringness. I found just what I was looking for in a worker in BJ's. He was black and had some pretty sweet dreads. I took the picture and his co-worker pointed out that my shirt said Athens Drive (I was wearing my photo club shirt). I was so nervous I didn't even acknowledge him and ended up doing my usual "thanks!" and run.
Really? What is this project even for? It's for self-growth! How am I supposed to grow if I can't even say, "well hey, did you happen to go to Athens?" So you know what I did? I walked by again. I struck up conversation as naturally as I could. In doing this, I learned the guy who I photographed was named Jerome, and that his co-worker (Jon) graduated from Athens just this year. I was waaay too nervous still, so I ended up leaving before the conversation really naturally died down, but hey. I did it. I started something.

I've been going back and forth on whether or not I need names for my pictures, but I think I do. I think I'll start asking people their names and if I can get to know them a little (if they're not in a hurry) before sending them on their way, good gracious, I'll do it!

Thirdly: I usually take multiple pictures every day. So if, by some crazy random happenstance (Dr. Horrible anyone?) I really like more than one picture from a day, I'm not going to hold back from the world. I'll do my favorite on the main post and do an "Honorable Mentions" post afterward. It's only right.

Now onto the pitchurrs. :)

Day 2:

The day after my excursion with Phoebe and Phian, and the success I had finding Paul the Fruit Stand Guy, I hit the mall with my sister Sara. She was going swimsuit shopping and enlisted my help. We had been walking around the mall for a good deal of time when I spotted a stand that sold jewelry and various other neat accessories. Running the little shop were two very cool looking people, including this guy. I really liked his glasses and gauges. I normally don't like gauges, but this guy works them. He just immediately seemed extremely awesome to me.

Now, let me just say, it took me FOREVER to get up the courage to ask him if I could take his picture. You have NO IDEA. I probably paced in front of their stand 12 times. They must've thought I was the creepiest girl ever. Finally I took a deep breath, walked right up to him and asked, "can I take your picture?" He immediately acquiesced and I shot this. I found out he's a photographer too, actually. He doesn't like to put his work online (I'm not cool enough to have anything against the internet), but he apparently has a really nice camera and a couple new lenses he's been trying out. It's a Canon D-something, but this was a week ago, so I really have no recollection of the exact model. So basically, REALLY NICE GUY. Awesome second day. :)

Day 3:

Day 3 started out extremely frustrating for me. I started looking for interesting people by walking down to the local Harris Teeter and walking around the shopping center people-watching for about an hour. Let me throw this out there right now: it is so hard to find interesting people in Cary. Wow.
So after I decided to give up in that location, I tried a new direction -- literally. I walked in the exact opposite direction to a different shopping center nearby. After searching for interesting people at Kohls, BJ's, PetSmart, and various other stores without any avail, I stepped into Joann's. I figured, "hey. neat crafty people come in here, right?" I peered down every aisle until I came across this girl sitting on the floor reading some sewing books. I think what grabbed my attention was more the vibe she was giving off that I noticed as I passed a million times trying to get the courage to ask for her picture. She looked tired, but content. Like she was somewhat troubled, yet here she was in Joann's Fabric reading about sewing.
When I approached her, she was extremely weirded out by my request to take her photo. When I told her about my project she still seemed pretty hesitant, but agreed to let me take it. I almost told her not to smile, but it just kinda fit her image. :)

Day 4:
Okay, I'm not gonna lie, I took some WICKED SWEET pictures of people this day, so it was extraordinarily hard to choose which picture to post. Also, I have this suuuper pretty version of this that was edited a different way, so I debated over which of this picture to put up for like, an hour. In the end Sara decided this "ethereal" version was best. Alright, Sara. Whatever you say. :)
ANYWAY. This was taken on the 3rd of July when my sisters and I drove out to the Outer Banks for the holiday weekend. As my sisters went to swim in the ocean, I set out to find some interesting people to photograph. I walked down the beach a looooong way and found some really neat people. I was almost certain I was done taking pictures when my sister and I started walking back to our spot on the beach. Jenny and I were in the midst of a very deep and thought-provoking conversation (lol, right) when I looked up and saw this girl walking by us. Cutting Jenny off mid-sentence, I walked right up to her and asked to take her photo. You see, she is just so, so pretty. She has these adorable peace earrings and red hair, with this wonderful sweater (I would totally wear that, for the record)...but what really got me was her eyes. So honest. So gorgeous. So, I had to take her picture. I usually beat around the bush for a while and kind of stalk my subject a little before finally raking up enough courage to ask for their picture (I'M NOT CREEPY, OKAY? :P), but with her I just stepped up and asked. I was really proud of myself. It was the fastest I'd ever done it up to that point.
She was really sweet about it, but a little confused. She asked why, and I just explained the project. And then she gave me the EXACT picture I was looking for. She's super pretty, right?

Day 5:
This guy.
I was so excited when I saw him walking down the beach on the 4th. His back was pretty much covered in tattoos as well. I was almost giddy as I approached him for his picture.
He and his friends were extremely cool. I technically took all of their picture even though none of them could match this guy's boldness. They were joking around and really showed character in their pictures. When I asked for his picture, he said "I don't know, I may need some kind of payment." I had so many responses to that...aaanyway, they all seemed really nice and really fun, and obviously have really high pain thresholds. :P
I'm really not meaning to put this many b&w pictures up, but they just so happen to be the best ones I have for each day.

Day 6:
Alright, so this was the day I got my first rejection. When the other girl I met outside my apartment building said no, she also said, "hey, there are a bunch of people at the pool." So I dejectedly followed her advice and checked it out. And alas! I saw this girl with those wicked sweet beads in her hair and a cool tattoo on her back (that you obviously can't see), so I went and asked for her picture!
I really didn't imagine her being quite as ditsy as she seemed when I talked to her...when I asked her she was like, "Me?? Ohmygosh, okay!!" and started primping a little. Her friends responded with some giant "awwww's" as I took the picture and explained my project. Don't get me wrong, she was precious and SO sweet, and obviously gorgeous, she just seemed, by talking to her, the slightest bit ditsy. She was really fun to photograph though. :)

Day 7:

Meet Jerome everybody! This is the day I decided to start getting people's names. I approached him and asked to take his picture and when he didn't say yes immediately, I started rambling until he was like, "alright, take whatever pictures you want." He may have laughed at me a little. After that I started talking to his co-worker who went to Athens and it was really a good time. I'm liking this whole "getting to know people" thing already. :)

Day 8:

This, my friends, is Myron.
This, my friends, is also probably my creepiest moment of this project thus far.
I walked down to Harris Teeter again in search of the anomalous interesting person in such a boring area. I was losing hope when I walked by Ruckus. Sitting there eating was this guy and a bunch of his biker friends. I was almost 100% sure this was going to be my best shot at interestingness for the day, so basically I just sat on bench and waited for like, 30 minutes for this guy to get done eating. 30 MINUTES. Luckily he didn't turn me down when he finally walked out and I asked for his picture. We had a nice little conversation about my project, he asked me some questions about it, I complimented his tattoo, it was all-in-all an excellent experience. He was wicked cool and I saw him drive off on his motorcycle a few minutes later. :)

So! There's the first 8 days. I'm gonna do another post with the "Honorable Mentions" of this week. I'm really starting to like this project. It's getting really fun to meet these new people and have a little conversation with them. I've met some REALLY nice people already.


  1. You are the raddest person I have ever met. For reals. I am LOVING this project.

  2. I second what Katie said (the last bit--I haven't met you). THIS IS AN AWESOME PROJECT!!! You're courageous! I'm really enjoying these photos, but what I love best is hearing about your experiences! I'm your sister Katie's friend, by the way. :)

  3. Thanks Kim! :D I'm so, so glad you like it! I'm gonna keep trying to get a little braver every time I talk to someone -- asking more about them, just enjoying the experience the best I can. Keep following, I'm bound to have a bunch more really interesting experiences by the end. :) Thank you!

  4. Also Katie, you're pretty rad, yourself. ;) <3 you, sistah.