I sat beside Lucas on a plane from Newark, New Jersey to São Paulo, Brazil. I said hello as I sat down, and noticed he was watching a movie. About ten minutes in, he asked me if I was Brazilian(must have been my flawless accent) and we started a conversation. We discovered we had many things in common. I am a Canadian living in Brazil; he is a Brazilian living in Canada. We are both married with two small children. Both portrait photographers. We had so much in common it was almost weird. But it made me think – we probably have a lot in common with most, if not every stranger we come across. We are all human beings, with joys and struggles and experiences worth sharing. We just need to be brave enough to ask, and to tell. I had made a friend by the end of my flight, and it filled me with such happiness to have connected with another stranger. I can feel this project evolving. At the beginning, it was about seeing a stranger I want to photograph and asking them for a picture. Now, it is about having sincere interactions with strangers and then taking a picture to document the exchange. It makes me even more excited to continue with this project.
I met Michelle at a bus stop about a month or two ago. I had walked behind her for about 20 minutes, and when we arrived at the same destination, I thought of some way to engage in conversation. I noticed her shirt and complimented her on it, in Portuguese. She thanked me and then asked where I was from. When I told her I was from Canada, she switched to English, and told me she was from Peru. We shared our stories of how we’d ended up in Florianópolis. We talked non stop until we arrived at the bus station and had to go our separate ways, which was a good half hour. I was sad to say goodbye to her at the bus stop, but happy to know she lived on the next street over from mine. I was delighted to meet someone so lovely that lived so close to me.
Since then we have gotten together several times, and I am so enjoying getting to know her. I took this portrait of her yesterday, and although the idea for this project is to take a photo of a stranger at the time of meeting, I didn’t have my camera on me when we met. Thank you Michelle for being a part of my project; for being open to a conversation with a stranger.