This past month I started something I’ve nicknamed “The Presence Project.” After graduating one year ago this week, I’ve gained so many amazing experiences and met a ton of awesome people! But sometimes, I’ve found myself focusing so much on what’s ahead, that I don’t always remember to enjoy the journey along way, so I decided to try some yoga classes to help me focus on living more in the moment…and it really helped! It got me thinking about what other people in my generation are doing to be more present, and it inspired me to start a photography project around the idea. I recruited several good friends, former classmates, and colleagues as models, and I have been photographing each of them doing something they love that helps them to live in the moment. For some people it is as simple as chatting with friends over coffee, and for others it is something more unique like taking improv classes. Every model has a story to tell and one of the best things about this project is getting to know another side of each person! So far it has been such an inspiring experience!
The first model I photographed was one of my best friends, Emily. We have been friends since 8th grade when we were paired together in science class for the “egg drop” project, where we had to design a structure that would keep an egg from breaking after being dropped out of a window (and yes our egg structure worked great!). Emily has been one of my biggest supporters while working on my photography and design through college, and we always have a blast together! When I asked her to be a part of the project, she decided that she wanted me to photograph her while we chatted over coffee at Starbucks…one of our favorite places to just relax and catch up. Although this seemed so simple, the point of the project was to catch each model doing something that brought them into the present, which meant they couldn’t be focusing on me photographing them or it would contradict the whole idea…and when you are sitting in front of someone in a coffee shop trying to photograph them, it kind of makes it difficult for them to focus on anything else. Photographing Em being present in the moment at Starbucks was not an easy task, but once we started gabbing, I was able to sneak in a few candid shots. The photo above is just one candid from the shoot, Emily’s final shot for the series won’t be revealed until the end of the project.
I’m still thinking of a better name for the project…but for now it will stay The Presence Project.