I believe in the transformative power of talking to strangers.
When I was a young girl I was very shy around strangers and would hide behind my mothers leg. As I grew older my childhood dream was to be a photojournalist for National Geographic and travel the world. In high school I joined the school paper and the camera became a way for to explore the world around me in a way I never could before. Interviewing and photographing for the paper was the way I could satisfy my curiosity about the world and all that surrounded me. I learned how to talk to strangers from all walks of life and would drive around to places I had never been. I went on to study documentary photography and filmmaking in college and had the opportunity to do international projects through an incredible org called Students of the World (where I now work!)
Documentary work gave me a gift - the opportunity to interview hundreds of people over the years. Over and over, strangers would put their trust in me and share intimate stories about their lives, their hopes, heartbreaks, memories, fears and dreams. This is a gift because I feel as though I lived lives beyond my own and have a deeper understanding of the world.
I’m not shy anymore. I still have a calm, quiet energy about me and have my shy moments. But I don’t need a camera anymore to talk to strangers… And I am known to do so… On the bus, on the street, in line at the store. It’s incredible what can happen. Seeing the world through the eyes of an artist, strangers become a living breathing composition of form and colors and textures and movement and stories. When we look close enough, everyone is interesting and beautiful. When we listen close enough, everyone has something to teach. When we practice mindful looking and listening I believe we can see ourselves in a complete stranger. That is a spiritual experience.