So. I thought I’d give you another peek at the progress on my MHA The Village (a program of Mental Health America) portrait shoot. I’m really stoked to be working on these images; I’ve culled them, picked out the best ones for final prints and have made basic adjustments in Lightroom. Next I’ll work on these in Photoshop until I get everyone looking their Sunday best (or whatever our best is these days) and then I’ll order the frames. (By the way, sorry for the big watermark, but I’m sure you’ll understand the importance of these images staying where I put them and not being used for other purposes.)
It’s seriously difficult for me to not just send everything I have over to Hilary right now. I know that everyone who participated (hey, did I tell you that we had well over 60 people have their portrait taken??) is super anxious to get their photos, and personally, I cannot wait until the day I take all the bubble-wrapped goodies down to hand out. That will be an experience that will be hard to beat.
I loved getting to know these people (the blacked out photos are those of the people who did not want their photos shared); I loved hearing their stories and I have to tell you, all of them were pretty generous with the details of their lives. Hilary helped get people at ease by asking them general questions about what makes them happy, what they like to do, stuff like that. We got some funny answers that really did make us LOL, and we got some tears of gratitude as well as tears of accomplishment. You know how you can be talking about something that was enormously impactful in your life, and you just start to cry? It was like that for lots of folks. It was amazing for them to share this; not just their stories, but their selves.
Mr. Susan observed, on the second day, that everyone had such amazing stories; we had poets, writers, artists, mothers, victimized women…everyone’s story was like a movie of the week, without the cheese. You know, as you walk down the streets of your city, you probably pass people like these everyday. Society doesn’t see them; maybe sometimes you don’t either. Don’t feel guilty; let’s face it, it’s sometimes easy to overlook them. But I’ll bet if you stopped one or two and just started a conversation, you’d be floored at who you find yourself talking to. I know some street photographers who know how this is. It’s why they shoot what they shoot. I get that. Totally.
So. Back to work.