My 1000 Photos Project

I have mentioned that I wanted to start a new project on my recent post Scottsdale Trip, Blogging, and My New Project. At that time I called it “Look! You are Beautiful”. My goal was to take photos of many people and give photos back to each of them, so they can see how beautiful they are regardless of their skin color, their religion, and their living condition. I particularly wanted to target those who were somewhat struggling with life right now and hoped that seeing their own photos would cheer their up.

Well, I started the project on Mar. 9, and since then I have made several changes. (1) I think… by targeting those who are struggling with life right now, I may already make them feel uncomfortable. I’ve decided to take photo of anyone who is willing to participate instead. (2) Even though I believe that everyone is beautiful, I am not sure everyone wants to hear that he is beautiful. I decided that the word “beautiful” had to go. However, when I give the photo to the person, depends on the person, I may just say, “Look! You are beautiful.” (3) I need to know when to end this project, and I think 1000 photos will do.

So, now, I call it My 1000 Photos Project. 😉

At our town there is a church where anyone can walk in to have a free lunch meal on Saturday. L, who started Saturday-noon-meal more than 20 years ago, is still in charge of the program. I had a wonderful phone conversation with L, and later stopped to help prepare lunch 3 weeks ago. I found out that people who volunteer there are very friendly, so since then, I’ve been there every Saturday.

I met Ed the first week I was there. I told him about my project and he said, “You can take a picture of me!” When I went back on the second week (with my camera), I couldn’t stay too long and Ed didn’t show up before I had to leave. So, I took several photos of volunteers, considering as a practice run. I was sure that the photos I took wouldn’t mean much for volunteers, since they probably had plenty of photos of themselves.

This week, I gave volunteers’ photos back to them in each individual envelope and inside, I wrote “Look! You are beautiful.” To my surprise, everyone was so excited to see his/her photo that I could feel joyful bubbles floating in the air.

Marge

Marge

Robie

Robie

Mike

Mike

All of them have volunteered for many years (8+).

Ed showed up this week. So I finally took his photo. I asked him if I could use his photo on my blog. He said, “Sure. Make sure you write that I am single.”

Ed

Ed

Ed also convinced Don to participate. Don would like a photo with his son.

Don

Don

Looking at these photos, I am sure that you would agree with me that everyone is beautiful.

Now I only have 990 to go. 😉

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About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to My 1000 Photos Project

  1. Cee Neuner says:

    Oh Helen these photos and your words brought tears to my eyes. Tears of happiness. People do need to be told they are beautiful….I like how you are handling this. You are a hero.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Helen C says:

      Good morning, Cee. Thank you so much for your kind words. I am not a hero; I am a practical person who wants to fulfill my life purpose (to matter) while doing something I have passion of doing (photographing) 😉 I was nervous… what if the photo doesn’t turn out well. You don’t know how relief I was when I see the picture on my PC. Ha.
      Have a great day.

      Like

      • Cee Neuner says:

        I bet you were relieved. Anyhow who helps other people feel better is a miracle worker.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          Thanks, Cee. (At first, I wrote “relieved”, but on second thought, I changed it to “relief”. Ha.)
          When people feel better, I feel better, too. We are all connected somehow. 😉
          In my mind, I see flowers in those flower farms around you. Can’t wait to see your photos. 😉 Wait… you are a miracle worker because your photo always makes me feel better!
          Have a great day.

          Like

  2. loisajay says:

    I agree with Cee. Helen, this is a wonderful project that has me smiling through tears. When you have someone referring others to you, you know you are doing something special. Ed is a riot! This a great project. I hope you post the other 990! You are my hero, too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Good morning, Lois. I have told you that I was going to write about this. It took me a long time because I had to wait to make sure people allowed me to use their photos. I am glad they did. It’s a fun project. I enjoy doing it. And you know what? Ever since I started the project, my husband and I have a lot more to talk about. Ha. Anyway, I benefit so much from doing this so definitely I am not qualified as a hero. 😉 Love you the same though. 😉
      Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. de Wets Wild says:

    Brilliant project Helen! I’m sure you will one day look back on it with so much pride and a huge sense of accomplishment!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sue says:

    I. LOVE. THIS. PROJECT. Can I post a link to your blog on my Facebook page? I would love to share this my friends and family. Indeed, everyone IS beautiful. Also brought tears to my eyes. We live in such an intolerant world – we need more people like you, Helen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Of course, you can post a link. It’s my honor. Thank you! One person told me she appreciated that I was doing the project. She said people tend to judge others by how they look outside. It is quite a rewarding experience…

      Like

  5. Amy says:

    I am falling in love with your 1000 photos project, Helen! You are showing us that a remarkable photographer can deliver and spread kindness through great photos. I really believe that your project takes photography to new heights! Thank you so much for shearing, Helen! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Amy. To be honest, for a while, I was looking for a project to make my life more meaningful and I am happy of doing. This idea came after I saw how happy that Chinese grocery lady was. When Don said he would like to have a photo of him and his son, his voice touched me. I knew I was working on a great project. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Helen you are on to something great here.. can’t wait to follow along!
    990 and counting down 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Lynne. You don’t know how much I have missed you! Remember how little I know when I started? 😉 I still have a lot to learn, but thanks to you and many others, I have learned a lot in a year. I’m happy and grateful! 😉 I am so glad that you are back. Looking forward to seeing more of your photos.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. seeker says:

    You are right about item 2) that everyone is beautiful. It’s our perception that is eskewed. And what is more beautiful is their services as volunteers and your service to them. And you may tell them that their beauty is reflected on their eyes!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marie says:

    Lovely project, Helen. I love that they are not posed in a studio, they are being themselves. You have captured them perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful project! I am so excited to see it progress.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Helen, I am in awe! Each of these photos is wonderful and to be spreading happiness through your photography in such a meaningful way just takes my breath away! I applaud your talent and your purpose and can’t wait to see more! Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a fantabulous project!! The volunteers are beautiful but Ed is one handsome, single dude! 😉 Don and son are striking. Great GREAT stuff, Helen. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sue Slaght says:

    This is fantastic Helen! What a wonderful gift. I like the idea of you asking those who wish to participate. It must be wonderful to see the delight when you give the photos back with your message.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. M-R says:

    You are a BRILLIANT portraitist, Helen ! I can scarcely imagine what you could do with a studio and lighting …
    But these are totally wonderful; and it’s hardly surprising that the subjects were so thrilled.
    As for Ed – next time tell him a 71-y-o from Australia sends him a hug.
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, M-R. Studio and lighting… that’s my husband’s expertise. I am more of shooting a candid moment person. To be honest, I am trying to figure out how he and I can work together, so if someone wants a portrait, we can satisfy him too. We do have portable light… etc. We may as well use it.;-)
      Ed will be thrilled. 😉 I can see his big smile…
      Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. joannesisco says:

    I love this project Helen! It is such a thoughtful and clever idea. Your portraits are gorgeous – I can see why people are thrilled to get a copy of their picture!
    I hope you will continue to share these portraits as this project continues 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jackie says:

    What a wonderful and inspiring project! I look forward to your future posts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Briliant! I am here at M-R’s behest and very happy to be. I love the intention behind your project, everyone IS beautiful 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Elaine. Your comment made me very happy. You have solved my problem!
      When I give the photo back to the person, I want to write something to covey the message that he/she IS beautiful, but I don’t want to leave any room for any misunderstanding. Now I can simply write “Everyone IS beautiful!” — problem solved. Thank you! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Brilliant idea and they are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a wonderful project taking and sharing all those beautiful people.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Tassem says:

    What an awesome project for a noble cause. I wish you the best of luck with the rest of the 990. Can’t wait to see!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. restlessjo says:

    They are! And Ed won’t stay single for long 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. yprior1 says:

    LOVE this – and I hope yo see the upcoming 990-
    Don is my fav of this series 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you! If I can add story to each photo like the way you have done, I would be thrilled 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • yprior1 says:

        well just for fun… I will add a few notes to each picture here. just for fun – and just what I see when I peek at the photo.

        okay, ready?

        Marge – she is classy and traditional. Note the turtle neck with the festive print and the hint of color in her eye glass frames suggest a subtle love for color. not over done, but a touch of color to match the love she has for people – and from the soft lines on her face – I would say that volunteering and other life choices have given her some enjoyable days in her life. 🙂

        Robie also has enjoyable days as she serves and gives – she also seems like a diligent person and her casual style is complemented by her natural leather bracelet – and the framed glasses which match her small black earrings suggest (to me…) that she is not into foo-foo – but keeps it subtle. I really like how you captured her looking up and to the side like that! 🙂

        Mike seems like he has some interesting stories to tell – and that he laughs a lot – I also sense that he is laid back and even though he could share some stories, he also engages in balanced conversations and has social smoothness.

        well you gave us a glimpse of Ed’s humor when you said he noted he was single – bah! but the twinkle in his eye suggests that their is some inner joy – and his natural, gray hair works well wight he soft black of the hat and the “classy north face” feel of his clothes –

        I am a little confused – but I think that in the last photo – don is to the right (seated) and his son is standing to the left – right?

        well int he photo – I love how you captured these two in what seems like the most comfortable position for them. It seems like you were “in tune” with just the way they wanted to pose – and captured a relaxed feel of both guys – and the hats on both men suggest juts how they roll – but the favorite part of this shot for me is Don’s smile – and the soft feel of the crow’s feet – such a warmth.

        Okay, that was fun – and hope you have a nice day Helen 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • Helen C says:

          I love it! I don’t know these people for long, but based on what I know about them, you may be right or very close 😉 I was thinking about you and Amy today. I was thinking I could use some storytelling skill on my next post (or the one after… depends on which one I will write first). See. I do learn things from people 😉
          Thanks. It is fun! Hope you have a great day too. (It’s 54 degrees today, and that is wonderful!)

          Liked by 1 person

          • yprior1 says:

            yes – we have nice weather here too – and so exciting whew 🙂
            and remember – that you will get better and better as you go – so it really takes the “doing” to get the momentum and to see your style and your niche for adding the details. we are all so different and so even though I know you know this – remember to never compare because you will have your own style and your own way of doing things…..
            also, it helps me to remember that blogging is about our personal best – and personal growth and all that – and well, your project of 1000 is so exciting and I bet you will be so different at project end!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Helen C says:

            Lots of wisdom words here. Thanks. My major problem, I believe, is “not-take-time”. I need to work on that 😉

            Like

  22. rommel says:

    Project needs a lot of courage. You seem to be up for the task. Kudos. I have a collateral duties of the picture-taker at work when people need to get photographed, during events, work-related, etc. Whenever I take pictures of people, I always encourage them to smile and then compliment them after taking pictures. 🙂 Good luck wit this, Helen. They are beautiful, and are seriously beautifully captured.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Rommel. At this moment, being a picture-taker would make me nervous, but I think I am getting better at it and I believe one of these days I will be able to do it with ease. 😉 I have given a lot of thoughts on this project. I want to make other people feel good (beautiful), and at the same time, I try not to create stress for myself. So far, it works well! 😉 Thanks.

      Like

  23. Superb work Helen. This is so touching and humane work you are doing. No job is better than putting a smile on the faces of these selfless volunteers who work so hard. You are giving back to the society in your own unique way. Words themselves cannot appreciate the beautiful commitment you have taken upon yourself. All the best…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Suyash. I’ve always believed in giving back to the society. And I had tried some volunteer work from time to time. What I didn’t realize was that if I was doing what I liked to do, I could do more and give more 😉
      Like your D.C. photos a lot. 😉 Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thats so true. Your heart beats for photography and thats how you aligned your interests in the best manner way. Must say very creative and innovatively done.

        I am glad you liked my DC photos 🙂 Have a great week…

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Dalo 2013 says:

    What a brilliant project, and a brilliant post. From your earlier photos to what you have been showing over the past couple months, I’m really impressed…it is is part because I appreciating your style, but I also think you’ve taken a new direction with your photography. These portraits are incredibly real and beautiful ~ possible only from a talented photographer. Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Randall. I was hoping you would read this 😉 You probably don’t remember… After reading one of your post, I commented how much I was inspired by you and I really wanted to start doing some volunteer work in 2015. Well, I was serious, and this is the result! Thank you for inspiring me!

      Like

  25. treerabold says:

    What a wonderful and worthwhile project. You are truly able to catch the soul of a person with your camera Helen….such a gift you have.

    Liked by 1 person

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