Welcome to the Walk the Life Project. As far back as I can remember I've always had an affinity for other people. Working to make sure they're happy, being the reliable friend, listening to those who needed to be heard and letting them know they're not alone. It is both a blessing and a curse as I've felt the extreme pros and cons associated with this personality many times in my life. 
Something I've always marveled at is the inspiring strength, courage, charisma, wisdom, etc. that everyday people exhibit on a day to day basis yet hardly ever get a platform to share these traits with the world. This project aims to change that.
The Walk the Life project will feature a 365 day format exhibiting different aspects of photojournalism coupled with my own personal reflections on what I learned from each individual.
Participants will be interviewed with three random questions and after having their portraits taken I ask them to take mine as a sign of good faith.
The main theme I aim to share through this project Is that every person you see whether it be a stranger on the streets or someone you've known all your life has their own experiences lived, thoughts to share, and lessons to teach. 
I anticipate it to be incredibly challenging and draining to consistently find new participants and stay creative throughout this process but I have always been someone to challenge myself and say that if something was easy then everyone would do it. But this time let's do it together.
So, lets learn something.
(this is an evolving project so as it continues more will be added to this section)
Gold Text: Levi
 White Text: Participant
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Thank you!
"What is your goal for your career?"
My career goal is, to do something in the field of permaculture. Addressing hunger, environmental restoration and community resilience. not sure how thats gonna manifest yet but im working toward it.
"What is something people wouldn't guess about you?"
That I spend most of my time in the woods picking mushrooms and foraging food to eat!
"What does it mean for you to be kind, in it's simplest form?"
Understanding that everyone is carrying around their own experiences and keeping it in mind with every interaction.
Reflection.
gina is someone who sees the world through a caring and softer lens than most but is always strong when she needs to be. standing at five feet tall it's probably best that way.
"What is advice for yourself 2 years ago?"
Keep pushin, don't get caught in your own head. don't worry about the small things and what seems like a big Stresser now isn't going to matter later. You've got this.
"What is something people wouldn't guess about you?"
Im actually a model, specializing in fashion (more runway stuff) not like magazines. very busy!
"Where do you want to be in 5 years?"
Pursuing modeling full time, new york, france, california. Away for a while to see the world and hopefully enjoy myself young.
Reflection
Thaydra is 18 years old and really reminded me of myself at her age. It was refreshing to feel the ambition and generally positive outlook she holds. what I took away from this conversation added some more fuel to my fire to complete this project and reminded me that dreaming small is not in my repertoire.
"is there Anyone in your life you are close with now you didn't think you would be?"
My best friend and I actually only met 6 months ago. We had known each other all our lives but since were both shy people never actually tried to talk to each other.
"What is something people wouldn't guess about you?"
I am a vocalist for a local band (despite being a shy person) called no thanks and it consists of all originals!
"What does kindness look like to you?"
Giving to others without expecting anything in return. And showing respect regardless if they reciprocate.
Reflection
Alex radiates a shy but super unique vibe to her. Chatting before i started to record our conversation came effortlessly for someone who supposedly isn't the most extroverted. by the time i left I felt like i wanted to be her friend and very few people come across that way in my experience.
"What advice would you give to yourself 5 years ago?"
I'd give myself a pep talk on what to do and what not to do...To be better prepared.
"What is something about yourself people wouldn't guess at first?"
I'm a mom of two! Most people never guess that!"
"What does kindness look like/mean to you?"
Kindness is staying positive and looking at other people in a positive light and keeping their feelings in mind.
Reflection
I interviewed tammy while getting my eyebrows waxed. (I needed it) and what I learned from our 15 minute conversation is that she is one of the most light hearted and kind people I've come across.
"What's the best advice you've ever been given?"
A big lesson I've learned over the culmination of my business and going through college is to never settle on a job that you hate and wish you were somewhere else everyday. You will bring it home with you and these days your job takes up most of your life so spend your life happy and doing what you love.
"Where do you want to be in 5 years?"
I wanna be primarily shooting destination weddings and micro-weddings while being able to have more control and decision on what it is i spend my time doing while seeing new places and doing new things!
"What does kindness look like to you?"
Kindness to me is open-mindedness. Approaching things with the least amount of judgement and taking them at face value and being fair/ treating people how you would want to be treated were the positions flipped.
Reflection
Haley and I both are photographers and she is one of my favorite people to talk to. (mainly because none of my other friends have the slightest clue about photography) and I always take so much away from our conversations but this one in general really allowed me to view kindness through a different lens and an open mind. Being open minded and not drawing conclusions too early is so important to making the right decision.
"Something people wouldn’t guess about you?"
 I make music under the name Joeboi. I’ve been recording for a little over a year. 
"What’s important to you in a friend?"
 Loyalty, because I rely a lot on my friends and I feel like it’s super important to have a good foundation. Also, having people to drink beer with is good too. 
"Where do you want to be in 5 years"
 to Be self reliant on my music and at least playing live gigs while being a better version of myself.
Reflection
Joe and I have been friends going on 15 years now. As someone I've spent 75% of my life with you would think I know just about everything about him but I really did take some things away from our conversation. I realized that the friend group I've had for all this time all share the same morals as me when it comes to what it means to be a friend. Loyalty is so crucial in building and maintaining solid friendships.
"What has rock climbing taught you over the past 20 years?"
Climbing has taught me how to stay young and be able to keep up with all the new climbers.
"What is your best advice you could give someone."
I think you have to push your boundaries a little bit to get the most out of life.
"What does kindness mean to you?"
Kindness is helping out those that you can and being a teacher. Volunteering and sharing your own knowledge as well as being a student yourself is incredibly important.
Reflection
Bob was incredibly interesting to speak with as I interviewed him after my intro to rock climbing class at the ymca where he is the head instructor. Being able to listen and learn from someone so experienced in a field is a truly inspiring thing. I really left that night hoping that by the time i've been photographing for twenty years I too can have that wealth of knowledge to share with the world and give back.​​​​​​​
"Best piece of advice you've ever gotten?"
 Life is what you make it.
 "What does kindness look like to you?"
 Kindness is caring about others. Even simple gestures such as a soft smile when you walk past someone or holding the door for a stranger go a long way.
 "What's a goal you have for the next 5 years?"
To live each day to the fullest!
Reflection
Lauren is a close friend of my partner gina. We recently spent the weekend up in new york with them and It is always a pleasure. Something that really stuck out to me about her answers is how efficiently simple they are and it made me realize that sometimes the best points are made in a few sentences.
"What advice would you give to someone starting a business?"
Just meet as many people as you can and expand your network and the more ideas you can get out there the easier it'll be on yourself. Get creative!
"What does it mean to be a friend to someone?"
When you can tell someone genuinely hears what you're saying and wants to help you the way you want to help them.
"What does kindness mean to you?"
To me kindness is similar to what it means to be a friend. Listen to people and let them feel heard, support their general interests and just try to be a friend and show interest. Reciprocity.
Reflection
Ethan is someone who I always enjoy to speak with and also one of the owners of vibe coffee co. in downtown state college which is my preferred americano in the area. After our conversation I realized how much his answer about being creative in business applies to most things in life. You always have to find new ways to enjoy yourself, better yourself, or even improve your business and that's something that some people neglect from time to time with complacency.
"What is something about yourself people wouldn't guess at first?"
I am currently learning arabic for a minor in college!
"What is the most important trait to you in a friend?"
Being trustworthy for sure.
"What does being kind mean to you?"
Being kind means being outgoing to everyone surrounding you and not judging someone for things that they cannot control.
Reflection
Mya's answers were unique to me personally as It got me to ask myself what being trustworthy as a friend means and I am reminded that being someone who people can trust/rely on is one of the best attributes you can have not only as a friend but as a person in general.
"Best advice you've ever received?"
You can't change peoples minds about you and that's okay. Not everyone is going to like you and its really important to accept that.
"Where do you want to be in 5 years?"
I want to be a civil engineer so either working at a firm or Hopefully in graduate school for business sustainability!
"What does kindness look like to you?"
I think kindness shows up in the way you do things and why you do them. Complimenting people and helping them out without really expecting anything in return really shows who you are and is kind.
Reflection
This interview proved to be my hardest not because of victoria (who offered some awesome answers) but due to the fact i REALLY did not feel like interviewing anyone this day. Trying to walk up to strangers and just chat with them is hard enough let alone try and interrupt them to answer a few questions for you. However, victoria was incredibly kind and open making the whole process easier which reminded me why I do this project and that there are people out there who are happy to help.
"What is most important to you in a friend?"
Loyalty, my father passed away recently and it really showed me who my true friends are and who is able to actually tap into those more meaningful conversations. 
"What is something about yourself that most people wouldn't guess?"
I think most people don't realize i do have things going on in my life, I am really good at putting on a smile and being able to still help people and joke around and stuff because I dont want to make anyone else feel awkward, I feel its super important to still be available to people!
"What does it mean to be kind?"
Putting others before yourself, treating everyone with decency and respect is so important because they deserve it. 
Reflection
Leah was super pleasant to talk with and offered some of my favorite answers yet. You can really tell sometimes when a person is genuinely kind and she embodied that perfectly. One of my favorite takeaways from this project so far is meeting those types of people.
"What do you do?"
I support people with disabilities with more complex behavior concerns and help them to learn to live independently, grocery shopping, helping out their communities etc.!
"What have you learned from your job?"
I think I have found more joy in everyday things and being able to see things through a different viewpoint!
"What is the most important trait a person can have?"
Being genuine, I think its super important to feel like someone isn't putting on a show in front of you and it makes for more intimate friendships when you know you can be more of yourself around people.
"What does kindness look like to you?"
My role model for kindness is jesus, and while that may seem like a cop-out answer he spent his time with people who were marginalized and hated by society and treated them with amazing kindness and love. 
Reflection
Shannon is a really great person and just from the few times i've spoken with her exudes such a calm and kind personality that I knew I had to get her answers to some of these questions. Being able to meet someone in her line of work that is so passionate about other people really helps to inspire people like myself to try and connect with those who normally we would walk past on a daily basis.
"What is your biggest goal right now?"
I'm christian so definitely something that's gonna make a difference in the world. 
"What is something about yourself people wouldn't guess about you?"
I think that because Im more of a STEM minded person people don't guess that I'm actually a creative and artistic person. I love drawing and writing specifically!
"WHat does being kind mean to you?"
I think putting others first and actually listening to people and instead of offering your opinion right away just sit back and listen to what they have to say.
Reflection
Andrew was extremely pleasant to talk to and really helped me out by allowing me to interview him. The process for this one was a bit different as normally I'll try to talk with people for a little bit before asking them their qestions but I wasn't able to due to time constraints. What I took away  from his answers really helped to remind me that the younger generations do Have the best intentions and that there is good in the future.
"What is most important to you in a friend?"
To me it is consistency and being trustworthy. Having someone you can can count on.
"How would you prefer people to see you?"
To be seen as a successful woman in such a male dominated field.
"What does kindness look like to you?"
The simple things, opening doors for others or going out of your way to help someone regardless of who they are and what they look like.
Reflection
Kristin is a close friend of mine and agreed to answer my questions after I severely sprained my ankle and couldn't walk so even beyond her inspiring answers I feel that I took away that she's a true friend to me through this.​​​​​​​
"What did you learn most transitioning from a solo operation to having a team?"
I learned that I am able to TEACH other people to do my job just as well as I can. And that the only way to grow was to bring people on to do the more administrative things and now I've learned that i am also an entrepreneur just as much as i am a photographer.
"What is something people wouldn't guess about you at first?"
I dance argentine tango!
"What does kindness look like to you?"
Kindness is truly listening to people. Being able to be a medium for people to talk to and feel heard.
Reflection
Melody was fantastic to talk to not only because I was able to learn so much from her but her personality as well was so kind and easy-going. My biggest take away was that being a good listener can really be a priceless trait to possess when it comes to being a good friend and something that I aim to work on myself.
"DO you feel the responsibility of how well a shoot performs is on the photographer or the model?"
I think its important for both people to really be excited for the shoot in order for it to work and have fun. Just let it flow and be sure to get comfortable and be professional. 
"What is something about yourself people wouldn't guess?"
I write poems, I am a big poem guy. I've always loved journaling and being able to feel that creativity and make something beautiful.
"What does kindness look like to you?"
i think there's a difference between being kind and being nice. I think being kind is being genuine, no alternative motive and just having good conversations with people and when that's a part of your foundation you will go so far. Don't make people feel like you're selling something.
Reflection
Elijah was the model for Brian's live shoot at imaging usa and struck me as someone that I needed to interview. He was not only incredibly talented as a model but welcoming and comfortable as a person. I had some awesome conversation with him and really left our chat feeling better about life in general, some people are just fuel and inspire you and eli was one of them. 
"As someone who works with celebrities and gets to have more of a peek into that lifestyle what do you think the  main (or is there any at all) difference is between them and everyday people?"
I think the biggest thing is the pre-conceived notion we have about celebrities is the greatest divider. We need to realize that privacy is none-existent to them for the most part. 
It's very easy to say "oh this person has everything" and believe they owe you something but they don't. Everyone is owed their privacy and respect. 
I don't get photographed taking my trash out or anything and most people don't so maybe try putting that into perspective. As far as connecting with them it's virtually the same I always say "treat normal people like stars and treat stars like normal people."
"What is something about yourself people wouldn't guess?"
I would say i am far luckier than I deserve to be and i am grateful for that.
"What does kindness in photography look like to you?"
I think showing respect to a client and really WANTing to show how much you value their time and them. If we could all show each other respect both photographically and outside the realm of photography we would be far better off.
Reflection
Brian is a pulitzer prize winner and magazine/celebrity photographer (now that he's taken my photo what's that make me?) and has an incredible sense for providing thoughtful and insightful conversation. We talked for roughly 25 minutes and every second of it flew by as we chatted about art, being famous and how great samuel jackson is. I was not familiar with Brians work before listening to his talk but I immediately knew I had to pick his brain. I took away so much from our conversation together but I think the biggest point I took to heart is to treat every day people like stars. Everyone has something to be appreciated for.
"You have been a photographer for 15 years, now that you are in a position to teach others what has that taught you?"
Well, the best way to learn is to teach (and before photography I was a teacher) and the main thing I've learned is that most challenges we face the solutions aren't that complex. I really like to base the classes I teach on things that I don't know as well because then i have to experiment and really up my game in that specific area.
"What is something people wouldn't guess about you?"
Well, to most people on the outside my family and I like to display lots of confidence, artisanship, etc.  while maintaining our brand etc. etc. And honestly I am just fine relaxing and enjoying time with my family. I am very content just hanging out with my three little munchkins.
"What do you want people to think of you?"
I think what I would want people to think of me is that I am real and genuine.  At one point in my life I wanted everyone to think I was the man, I wanted to be that achiever level dude but after years of self exploration and doing some reflecting I realize now that I just want people to view me as a teacher and someone who helped them be a better person.
Reflection
Phillip Runs a successful photography business as well as tons of other ventures through social media and his newly launched company photoflix. I really enjoyed my time speaking with him and found myself leaving the conversation a bit more zen, his ability to convey his thoughts and help you understand what he's saying really proved to me he is indeed a teacher at heart and I walked away feeling a bit more motivated and focused on what I want out of photography in general.
"What makes someone a good person?"
to me, a good person ultimately lives for themselves, but stays mindful and respectful of others. a good person also has the power to elicit the good in others.
"What has college taught you about yourself?"
i’ve learned to be resilient. failure is never easy, especially when it’s something you work hard for. i’ll never accept failure, but i’ll always learn from it so i can succeed
"What does kindness look like to you?"
kindness to me is more an attitude and a mindset than it is a deed. acting from the good in your heart rather than acting with the idea that you want repaid for what you do.
Reflection
Sara Is a close friend of mine and i've always knew she was a special and smart person, her answers only solidify that and I think both you and I can take away from her first answer especially is that being good is a choice we have to make actively and it really is that easy. Being a good person is contagious and if you want to see more of it in the world then you need to be an ambassador for it. 
Please consider donating to the American foundation for suicide prevention here.
We're all in this together.

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