Multimedia artist Claire Bangser created NOLAbeings as a portrait-based story project that marries image and text. Inspired by the Humans of NY project, it stems from the belief that we can all learn from one anothers' stories. Primarily featured on Instagram (and tumblr), Claire meets people in coffee shops, grocery stores, living rooms, sidewalks, and learns something about each individual through a snapshot conversation and image. After discovering and falling in love with the project, editors at NolaVie asked to post a weekly roundup of her most visually and narratively stimulating photos.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"What’s the best part of being a doctor?"
“Sometimes you can eat dinner at the doctor’s lounge!"
“One of the happiest moments in my life was before we won the NFC Championship, there was an article that came out and it said Louisiana was the happiest state in the nation. And then we won the NFC championship. Just to see the happiness of the city - and we didn’t even win the Superbowl yet - it was amazing. It allowed me as a local to appreciate not only the culture, but just the symbolic nature of people embracing the art of sport and ethnic diversity - to embrace that all at once and take that in as a local, it was a lot. It went beyond the cliche mindset tourists have when they come here. It was bigger than that. It was very genuine."
"I was the first one back in this neighborhood after Katrina. You know, I received three letters today saying they're buying houses. Three letters. Today! I won't sell them my property."
“I’m a very yes m’am people pleaser type person and this is a big bad eight-year marine. So he’s made me stand up for myself and say 'uh uh you’re not going to walk on me!' And he used to be really grrr and badass all the time - and everybody tells me how much he’s calmed down since we’ve been together. He’s learned how to - what he calls ‘mooshaw’ - calm down.”
“I’d rather die than not be distinguished. That’s what my whole being is about. Some people stereotype, 'cause I got dreadlocks, I got gold teeth and tattoos and things like that - automatically I’m ‘suspect’. But once you really sit down and talk to me, you'll see that I'm way away from that. I’m scared of guns, I don’t do half of the stuff you would take me for! I just liked the gold teeth since I was small. Tattoos, they all tell a story. My hair, this is my strength."
Claire Bangser is a New Orleans-based photographer and filmmaker with a passion for storytelling. She is the creator of NOLAbeings and has produced work for local, national, an international organizations and media since 2009. Highlights include a three-month bike tour storytelling project on the west coast, documentation for a four-month National Geographic Young Explorer’s grant in Turkey, and New Orleans-based digital storytelling projects like Cry You One and BOUDIN: The New Orleans Music Project. Find more of her work at www.clairebangser.com.