SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 185: The Words Of The Twenty

Deep breath… We’ve made it to the half way point of 365. It’s been an exquisite adventure, one that has allowed us, for over six months to meet a marvelously diverse group of strangers. Strangers who are now friends in one way or the other.

We have heard from close to two hundred individuals, in whom many life philosophies have been revealed.

Some have had dark times or words to share, others light-hearted moments and in many we have developed a variety of common themes and through-line stories.

Selfishly, I must thank you for traveling with me in aiding the growth of my writing skills (over 160,000 words to date), and if you have been following from the beginning, you may have even noticed an improvement of my spelling. Yep, I get it now… surely… not surly.

I’ve platformed face to face with nearly eight hundred people, some loving 365 in allowing me to photograph them, and others chasing me off like the Bubonic Plague. Yet still, we roll forward in our hopes of forming a better understanding of humankind.

The meaning of unity has grown within my heart, and my respect for the worth of the individual has expanded to encompass all that I do.

I have now observed countless examples of the effects of the actions, or thoughts, of one single person. And have first hand felt of both the negative and uplifting results of mingling with society.

The power any individual yields is immense. If harnessed for the positive, it can change lives and be a powerful contributor towards to betterment of humanity. However, if faltered by judgment, greed, deceit or any number of the admonitions our friends of the last 184 days have departed upon us, one can also stop the clock of positive progression of man and planet.

My life and career will never be the same, and I have 365 to credit for the new perspective I now wear on my shirtsleeve, “We really are in this thing together.”

And within us all lies the potential for greatness, for self, for community and for (I know this is a huge claim) for mankind.

“Thanks Richard, another life gospel by Richard moment, but what in the world does it have to do with the group photo, and the words.”

In a way maybe I have cheated a little today, yet deep down I think I am legit.

From time to time I am called upon by educational and other institutions to present or lecture on artistic craft and professional development; in doing I have always soapboxed for self-honesty, and through sharing methods of creative development and balanced life perspective, I hope I have shed some light as to the life of an artistic mind.

So to be visited today by the photo department of Brigham Young University, gives me first call to adapt my 365 findings to a usual and rehearsed presentation. And you know what? Nothing is the same anymore!

For two hours I find myself center stage in interacting with twenty unknown faces, all of whom I am positive have twenty unique stories.

Some are engaged… some are distant (makes sense, they have been traveling and visiting other photographers for two days, and I am the last of the schedule).

We talk of history and business, but when we hit the 365 stride, magic happens (well at least in my mind… if any of you BYU friends are reading this, let me know if I am off base?)

I tell of Slava, my first friend, and the experience that drove me to start 365 along with the outcome in how it has affected both my personal life and professional position.

The biggest take away for all of us, as I sing like a broken record, “We are all unique, have our own point-of-view and if we have the courage to listen to it, and to follow it, then we can find our full potential.”

That blended with a healthy respect for the world, and the people around us, is key to self-development and the conquering of what I call, “The illness of bitterness.”

An illness that once contracted, has the terrible power to blur not only vision, but mind, spirit and body.

We conclude our time together, and as I prepare my camera bag for a 365 venture, it hits me that these fine young men and women are absolute strangers. But how in heaven can I fairly interview such a large group in what I feel can take no longer than twenty minutes (they are hungry, tired, and I am sure ready to hear another voice other than mine).

Ah, I get a brainstorm! Just like the new years challenge, allow them to write one word that answers either of my questions. I give no direction, and take only one frame of each new friend. Want to keep it really honest.

Sure, they are snap shots, yet the more I look at them, the more I can truly see the depth and character of each individual, and amazing they all are.

For your reference, here is a reminder of the questions.

Question One:
“If you could give the people of the world any advice, council or wisdom, what would you say?”

Question Two:
“Looking towards the future, where would you like to see the people of the world, or the planet, and/or what do you predict the world will be like?”

Hope you enjoyed…Talk tomorrow my friends.