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.
“You know growing up they tell you having a kid is hard. And to me it has not been as hard as they make it seem. I guess it depends on your support group, meaning people that’s backing you that help and everything. It’s not just me raising her, it’s everybody. It’s her dad, the rest of our family, his family, and my friends and their family, it’s just one big family even though we’re not biologically related. She’s spoiled!"
"I will forever practice Islam because those are mentors and you gotta give credit to where credit is due. The most masterful Elijah Muhammad, may the peace of our lord forever be upon him, the late Malcom Shabazz, may the peace of our lord be forever upon his soul, and the Honorable Louis Farrakhan Muhammad, may the peace of our lord forever be upon his soul. Give credit to where credit is due yeahhh! Just because you come into the knowledge of Islam does not say you’re not a Christian. My opinion is you’re just a better quality of Christian! We all sit and we all come shout in glory. So I don’t play no hate about no Christians. We’re all the same ones. It’s like the Bill Cosby Show!"
"I go to 30 or 40 parades a year - of course, before this year because of all the things I'm doing here. I love meeting people, seeing the crowd, I like the signs, the themes, the doubloons, the clubs and what they represent and the history of it. I love it all. It’s a passion. We’re tradition. We're very traditional old school."
"When we started 'Tit Rex, the original idea that we had was that the floats would be pulled by remote control cars. And so we bought all these cheap remote control cars and we did a test run in a parking lot and a couple things we learned… first of all, cheap remote control cars can’t really pull much weight at all. And the second thing we learned was that they all operate on the same frequency so when one car turns, all the cars turn! So that was a failure on two fronts!”
“She actually got me the membership to Chewbacchus as a Christmas gift! Something we could do together and enjoy.”
“I’m a New Orleanian so I try to do something different every year. I used to ride Nyx, then I used to be a Bearded Oyster, so now... Chewbacchus!”
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.