LIFESTYLE : Meeting the People of RVA


I felt a little bit crazed as I grabbed my camera, cleared my memory card, printed out a few info cards to hand out, and checked with Siri for the time of sunset. I wouldn't say that it's particularly unusual for me to do something spontaneous, especially when it involves something with a memorable story attached to it. But I will also tell you that while I may be bold and seemingly outgoing, I can become very shy suddenly. We probably all do this, however, I this night I was keenly aware of being 50% thrilled and 50% terrified.

But you know, once the idea was planted within me it just kept nagging at me. So I relented and went out to meet people, hear a snippet of their life, and take their picture. Random people. I had no idea who I was going to talk to, what people would say or think, but I knew that if I could just get a couple shots or a couple of stories, it would be well worth it. Not to mention the re-booting of adventure in myself as a creative! And people inspire me, especially those I ended up meeting last weekend!


"...I'm having a hard time. He's twelve, what do you even buy a twelve year old?! I guess I'll just keep looking...okay, here's my best pose!" - Lindsey

He beamed at her as she said, "We're just so happy to be able to SEE each other and spend time together." - Marko & Nga

"Good luck getting them to look at you, it never happens..."  - Stephen & Jessica + Caroline & Catherine

"HOT COCOA IS THE VERY BEST!!! - Meesha + Moses & Jerusha

"I'm a scuba diver and she's a dance teacher. Uhm, we have Vanilla Macchiato & Vanilla Carmel. By the way, the ONLY way to spell Steven is with a 'V'...everyone who doesn't is deceived and their name is a disgrace to all other SteVens." Me: "My boyfriend spells it with a 'ph,' should I be worried?" - SteVen & Crystal

"We ate, we drank....Oh my god, Jan. I just wrote your name down on her sheet of paper with your maiden name! You've been married forever!" *all four explode with laughter.    Me: "It's okay, I won't be using last names." "So I just looked like a fool for nothing?!..."        - Laurie, Cindy, Leah, Jan

"I'm not very photogenic, but I can do this!..." She was taken aback but happily surprised. -Jimmy & Ashley

"We're just grateful to have a Christmas all together. Our youngest of the older girls, Lauryn, has survived cancer and the intensity of chemo. We weren't sure if she'd still be here." - The Lewis Family, Lauryn bottom right.

"Going to church on Christmas Eve, seeing people's reactions to the presents they get - it's the best!..I probably buy way too much, I just love getting gifts for people!" - Amanda

"I'm a sports photographer...for the Redskins." - Janae

"I only had $1.00 the year I was in 4th grade. My baby brother wanted a tree - one of those ragtag, silver tinsle trees. We got the tree and I'll never forget how happy it made him. I went to the dime store with my $1.00 and then wrapped all the gifts in newspaper. I am 1 of 14 children." - Angela, on the right. (Janae & Angela were friends shopping together)

"We are on a BREAK. No homework, just relaxation. And shopping." - Roommates, Samantha & Kela

"At Christmas, everyone is happy. And if you're not, it's like you're held accountable because you can't be that drag!...Can my family be in your picture, too?" I turned around and they were all standing behind me listening to our conversation. - Josh (middle) & his family

"We're just shopping and hanging out. It's all so pretty here." - Paige & Blair

I'm looking forward to's been a rough year." One of his little girls squealed at the window display in the nearby store, "'s my first year being a single dad." - Joe, Magnola, & Maya

I was amazed at all the stories I heard and reminded that we all have things to share. Sometimes we just need someone to ask and listen. Throughout the next year, I hope to be able to post more stories like these from my summer road trip and new excursions I may randomly document. Until next time, thanks for reading!


--Tara M.