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.
"When I look at [my son], it’s all worth it. He has a funny personality. He likes to make you laugh. He’ll do things and see that you laugh and he’ll keep doing it to keep you laughing. Right now he’s growing his vampire teeth: he don’t have none in the middle! He knows that makes me laugh so he keeps smiling."
"My son Daniel tragically died in 2003. We had a memorial for Daniel and we contacted NOCCA and they said that they would get Treme Brass Band to have kind of a second line, which I knew Daniel would love. But we walked into the memorial and on stage was Kermit Ruffins playing. It was Treme Brass Band with Uncle Lionel and then Kermit playing the song. After that I called the lady, I said ‘How did you get Kermit?’ I said ‘Really, we didn’t contact Kermit, did you contact him?’ She said ‘No... Daniel did.’ That just, you know, made my soul… It just got me. I just knew that Kermit knew Daniel from Vaughn’s day and [they] had a close bond. He knew that Daniel had died, he loved Daniel and he just showed up, without anybody ever asking him. And that was special."
"I'm a med student and I’m working in a psych unit right now. It was really scary to go at first because you need a key to go in and out of every single door on the unit. But there’s a lot of really nice vets that are there for PTSD and substance abuse and suicidal ideations and they’re really sweet and just kind of tortured. And I guess I’ve learned to just let other people talk. Because that is really therapeutic."
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.