The character Ryan Stephenson in the television show Bones once said, “On the outside, we are gay and straight, black and white, fat and thin, man and woman, saint and sinner. But inside, we are all the same.” It is true. Behind the myriad of differences between each and every person lies the same beating heart. I believe that if all seven billion people in the world were in the same room and one by one confessed a secret of theirs, there would be at least one person who gasps a “Me too!” It seems so easy to forget that we’re all humans who feel the same emotions.
We are surrounded by other worlds. We go around about our day, surrounded by people, slightly affecting them, adding changes, moments, memories, ideas, hopes, and inspiration into people’s lives. All the people we encounter in our lives all have stories. They have all loved, or been loved. They have all cried and been in despair or have felt hopeless. They have all been happy, blissful, and at peace. They have all felt discouraged, but they remain still existing, changing, growing, adapting, learning, and living.
For my photography final project, I decided to take portraits of complete strangers. Then, I had them anonymously write down a secret/confession of theirs. Here are a few of the ones I received. (I’m not posting the portraits to respect the privacy of the beautifully willing strangers). The meaning behind my idea is along the lines of “we all have a story to tell” and how you shouldn’t judge a person just from the surface because we’re all humans who hide things beneath ourselves. And even though I’ll probably never see these strangers again and I don’t even know their names, I feel a sense of intimacy with them; I hold a piece of their vulnerable heart in my very own hands. And I feel so…wow.
It was a project that completely put me out of my comfort zone, but I cannot even begin to explain how glad I am that I did it.