52 Week Project Blog

Week 30/52 - Heart of Gold

I can say I have hit the 30th mark of the project! I still have more to go for my other weeks. I assure you I'll get that out within a week.

I am thrilled to reveal a wonderful new friend name Alexander as that 30th portrait of the week for July 23rd to July 29th. He actually goes by the name Xander for short.  We met on Instagram in April and finally met in person in July. Last month, I asked him to be in my project and he said yes! I was so excited to meet him because we connected with our Cambodian ethnicity and our lifestyle. He has been following my project since April and now featured in my personal project. Here is how the blog will go: a short biography about Xander and what we did during our time together. Come along and enjoy the ride!

Xander is a man who has a heart of gold for a society thriving for a new legacy. He is a student at the University of Washington Bothell studying Diversity and Social Justice. An aspiring social justice activist, earlier in July, he was a part of Asian Counseling and Referral Service Walk For Rice charity fundraising event benefited their food bank to end hunger within the community. Certainly bless with Cambodian genes, he has the biggest smile I have come across. To learn what he has accomplished and what he is working toward on being an advocate to the less fortunate, he is a blissful man. 

Being different allows the world to mobilize as well as advocate for what matters to our society in a place where we all can be treated like everyone else nothing more or less. Be a leader. Be a voice. Be YOU!
— Alexander Khem

On the night of our session, we choose to meet in the International District in Seattle. ID was a new location for the project and what better time to explore Seattle at night. Our meeting spot was at Hing Hay Park. Although, I chose to venture away from ID and head toward King Station for a brand new area to explore. Once we got to the station, I fell in love with the environment, color tone, and sunset lighting along with a construction zone. That was when we started our photo shoot. The lighting on each steps illuminated the scene and showed Xander's "good vibe" displayed in the photos. Throughout our session, I gave him direction on posing, how to stand or sit properly, whether to smile or be neutral, and imagine a moment while I photographed him. The area we found that I haven't seen anyone photograph was around the Centurylink North gate area specifically near the train tracks. This area was out of the norm from the stadium because of an odd frosted glass structure. We noticed the reflection and shadow appearing within every direction as the stadium light hits the structure. After the stadium, we made it back to the King Station for a few more shots and then finally on our way back to Hing Hay park. It was my first time being at the park after its construction. We were fascinated with the park's neon red decorated with Chinese New Year animals. 

Before we wrapped up our session, I wanted to get a final photo together. We did numerous takes on different poses, zooming the camera closer, and even positioning our body lower or higher. I finally went with this photo below. It was the most natural interaction because we were laughing whether we succeeded in catching us. I used my phone as a remote to hold still for ten second countdown. I'm happy with the result. The journey was the best part. 

To make a bold request in reaching out to Xander to not only hang out with me, but to include him in my project was enjoyable. We see each other's social media posts. We hit like and comment back to show our existence. The most important take away in all of this is to spend the moment physically together and create an everlasting experience which we can return and cherish all over. 

At last, thank you Xander for hanging out with me and being in my project. I'll say this again. He has a heart of gold that will continue to blossom in the world which is what is needed. Continue to fight for what is right as you are working toward a future that will transform people's live. Let's not make this day the only day we see each other and create more opportunity to grow together. 

Thank you for tuning in. Also, sending thanks to the ones who are following my project. I'm grateful for your supports and participation. For my other weeks, week 31, 32, 33, and 34 will be out before Sunday August 27th. That is my declaration to get out to finally be caught up with my project!

- Sally