Archive for the ‘100 Strangers’ Category

Hindu Man

January 20, 2010

This man approached me while I was sitting out front of the theater, waiting to meet a friend to go and watch “The Book of Eli.” He asked about my camera. We talked a little about it and then I asked him if I could interview him for my blog. He agreed, so I asked him the question and this is what he said.

“I’m a born Hindu, right? So we have a very specific philosophy about Hinduism. And it’s about checks and balances. You know the Hinduism believes in reincarnation and the reason you reincarnate is because you haven’t paid for your sins yet. You know we don’t have the luxury of Catholics to go every Sunday and say a confession and you’re clean and you can come back and do whatever you want to, right? So, human form is the last form of your reincarnation and you keep reincarnating as a human, because humans have consciousness, they realize the pain of when they are paying for their sins. And once that is done then you go to either, you know, heaven or hell depending on how you do it. But we believe that this form is the most suffering existence for a human being as a spirit, because the consciousness allows us to feel the pain and the people around us. So where do I stand from a spirit perspective? I think as I stand, is I am here to pay for my sins from my past life.”

Two things about what this man said sadden me. One is the almost “look down on you” attitude that this man had toward Christianity (Catholicism) in the sense that they have no consequences for sin other than to say a confession. To me it reflects an attitude in the Church that says they believe that is the case to. The second thing is his belief that human life is a punishment for sin and if you don’t do well in your punishment you could still wind up in hell, or at least another go round as a suffering human. I would be curious to learn the standard they use to measure success and failure. I guess I don’t see a lot of hope or purpose in a life lived solely to pay for past wrongs with suffering.


Waffle King Lady

November 19, 2009

I went to Waffle King for lunch today. A couple of things before I get to the picture. You can’t go to a Waffle King and expect to sit quietly and eat your lunch. Which is great because that is not what I was looking to do.¬† It really is the only chain I know of where you can walk into almost any one of them and be treated like you are a regular guest and a friend. The staff actually interact with you on a level beyond simply taking your order and then your money. I like that, makes it feel a little bit like Canada instead of the USA.

Concerning the picture itself, from a technical view point, I’m not really happy with it. One of the things that I need to work on the most is getting my focus right. That point¬† is once again evidenced here. You can see it even on this little version of the picture, but especially viewing it full size and full resolution you can see that the focus on the face is a little bit soft. Not unbearably so, but close to it. Certainly not a printable quality photo. Subject wise I love the picture. She has a upbeat and very present personality and I think the picture captures that. I had to crop it quite a bit to get the framing I wanted, but part of that is because I was a ways away and wanted to use as fast a shutter speed as I could, so I zoomed out to open up the aperture. I like the little bit of plant in the top right corner, but I wish the mirror was not in the background.

This is what she said when I asked her where she was on her spiritual journey, “At the top (of my spiritual journey). I believe! I’m like a big old oak tree with roots that go deep. I believe I was created for a special reason.” Her answer left me with a lot of questions. What does she believe? Her comment made as almost a self contained statement, like the belief in and of itself, and the strength of it, was the point of focus. Since she is at the top, what is there underneath? What is the state, I guess, of the people who are not at the top, the ones who don’t believe? Finally, the question I am finding myself asking internally with almost every picture is, what do they believe about the afterlife and how their spiritual jouney here will affect what happens there?


September 5, 2009

This guy was sitting with the girl in the contentment post. I love his dreadlocks. This picture turned out a lot better. It’s framed better and the shadows aren’t as bad because he was turned away from the sun. I also like the pose he did for me.


His response was –

I’d say, with myself, I’ve found my direction and that it’s towards Christ as my Lord and Saviour. And I’m doing my best to be more like Him in my relationships with others in my daily life and in things that I do. I mean, I’m a human you know … in the year 2009. So I’ve faults and there’s things that I do, but you know, I do my best to just get back up and continue on down that path, down that road. Really just try and be a good Christian and a good fellow human being.


September 4, 2009

I saw this young lady and her friend sitting on a bench at Bridge Street. I’m not real happy with the lighting. It was one in the afternoon so the shadows are really harsh. I also over exposed it. Luckily I shot it in raw and was able to salvage it.

In response to the question she said –

I’m kind of in … ahhh … some sort of middle ground, I guess. But I’m trying to get over that, kinda, hump I guess. Towards, I don’t know what you would call it, ummm … I don’t know … contentment I guess.

Disk Golfer

September 3, 2009

I saw this guy (I’m going to call him Phil) at a disk golf course here in Huntsville. He was with some friends. It’s a little more intimidating to approach a group because I was unsure who would react how. The guy I really wanted to photograph didn’t even really talk to me, he just let Phil control the conversation. Any way, Phil agreed pretty readily to the photo and was kind of joking around about the question until I asked it. When I did, one of his friends walked off and the other stayed quiet. It was like I had poured a bucket of cold water on Phil. His tone when he answered very much said “I don’t want to talk about this.” He kind of blew it off. He said “I’m headed for a hole in one. That’s where I am.” Then he walked away. He did a little circle and came back, it was like he needed a moment to compose himself. When he came back I could tell he was trying to return to the same state of mind he was in before I came. He let me take the picture and I went on my way. I wish I could have pushed him a little more for a better answer to the question but we were both uncomfortable and I wasn’t sure how much more either of us could take. I wonder though how much his statement reveals about where he really is in his spiritual journey. Not really thinking much about anything beyond life on earth here and now, with only the occasional tiny uncomfortable thought about where he is spiritually.

Blue Shoe

September 2, 2009

I took my first picture today. I approached a man outside the Wal-Mart on Highway 20 in Madison. The thing that caught my attention was his shoes. At first he was unwilling to let me take his picture because he didn’t like how he looked in most pictures, so I offered to take a picture of his shoes. I thought it rather fitting for my first post considering the journey that I am on and the focus of this topic on the spiritual journey that each person is on.

Person 1/100

Person 1/100

This is what he said in response to my question.

“I do believe that each of us are on a spiritual journey, but I would not know the height or depth of the spiritual journey. You see what I’m saying? So . . . I would just say I’m where I’m supposed to be at this time . . . you know, in my life. That’s how I would look at it. I don’t know where [the spiritual journey] begins and I do not know where it ends. So that’s why I say, ‘I can’t say what position, or what place, or what echelon I am in.’ You see what I’m saying? . . . So your journey if you want to look at it, yeah is born once you begin to, you know, breath. But at the same time not knowing about your spiritual journey, see that’s another thing, until you know or realize that you are on a spiritual journey, to me that’s where it sort of begins. But whose to say where it begins and where it ends. I think the spirit man, I think it continues on, like it’s eternal. Like physically yeah we die and that’s the end. So it’s eternal, but you never know. Even though it’s eternal, like is it just out there? We’re just drifting about? You see what I’m saying? You know I don’t wanna be getting all religouse and everything.”