Beginnings! I love new beginnings: the beginning of a new project, a new class, a new book, or a new blog. And as much as I love a new beginning, I am stumped when it comes to actually starting the new beginning. I hate a start as much as I love a beginning. It’s kind of like swimming. It will be fun once I’m in, but I hate the jump. To tell the truth I never jump. It’s more a dabbling of my big toe in the water and then a gradual submersion of the rest of my self. Once in the stream I can choose to go with the flow, against the flow or just tread water. However, like I said, it’s the start that’s a problem for me.
In December of 2011 I had a brilliant idea: I would start a new photography project, and to have a place to document this project, I would start a blog. Now you’ve got to understand that I am technologically challenged. I hadn’t a clue where to begin to figure out a blog and so I began at Chapters with a grande caramel macchiato and WordPress for Dummies. I got excited. This looked doable. I bought the book and headed home to try to figure this all out. To make a long story short, I probably made things more complicated than they really were, and so it took me a whole month to figure something out. I still haven’t got it all figured out, but I have to start somewhere so here I go! I had toyed with the idea of this whole blogging thing for a year before making up my mind (dipping my toe in the water) so it was about time.
Now on to my new project. Over the past two years I did the Project 365 which is basically just taking a photo every single day for a whole year. The first year went well–I didn’t miss a day. Towards the fall of the second year (2011), I missed a day and things went downhill after that, so in all honesty it can only be called Project Mostly 365. Now I need a new challenge. I came across the 100 Strangers project about a year ago and the idea of it alternately fascinated and terrified me. I have seen many interesting people I have wanted to photograph over the years and can count on one hand the times I got up the courage to go and ask them.
In the spring of last year my husband and I took a trip down to Great Falls, Montana. We had never been to this city before, and we booked several nights at the Collins Mansion bed & breakfast which we thoroughly enjoyed. The mansion was beautifully redone though in need of a little TLC, the hosts were friendly and breakfast was delicious. One of the scheduled events for that weekend was a free concert put on by the Great Falls Symphony. I know my husband loves me, because though he does not like this genre, he agreed to go anyway. That evening we walked to the Civic Center Convention Center at which the concert was being held, and as I was a taking a picture of the building, a man in a white beard and safety glasses waved to us from where he sat on the stairs. I badly wanted a picture of him and his amazing beard (the last stranger I had asked for a photo was also a white bearded man). Emboldened by his wave, I went up and stuck out my hand to shake his at which point he informed me that he doesn’t shake hands with strangers. He proceeded to tell us that he teaches wisdom. Not too many people are interested in wisdom these days he said. We agreed though we didn’t ask him to elaborate. I figured we would be there all evening if we did and I was on a mission–take his picture and get to the concert. I thanked him and we went on into the building.
As we sat in the huge hall I wondered what his story was. I began to wish I had taken the time to sit down and ask him about the wisdom he taught. I wish I had set aside my assumptions and gotten out of my comfort zone to see life from someone else’s point of view. This man who I call “The Guru” is my inspiration for this 100 Strangers project. I want to get outside my comfort zone (just asking someone if I can take their photo is way out there for me!) and then go even deeper. What is it like to walk in their shoes for a day? Where have they been? What is their story? I would love to have you join me on this journey!