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 are you afraid of?"
"Cause... it's sooo dark!"
"What do you do if it's dark?"
"I sometimes check if there's a popsicle. But if there's not, I will just have cucumbers and I will take a walk and look for skunks."
"He likes to walk the dog at night and look for skunks."
“We're the spooky krewe."
"What is spooky to you?"
"It’s kind of hard to pick the scariest thing, but... an evil clown.”
“What would you do if you saw an evil clown?”
“My closest guess is... kill it maybe?”
"I came from a family of 18 children. I was number 8. I remember when we had our 8th grade prom, I had my first pretty pretty gown dress. Mama had to send me by a little store she used to do credit with and get me that dress. It was lavender. And then when I was telling Dot about it, her husband used to work at a florist, so he got me - what are those purple flowers again? He got me a corsage to match my dress. And I went. I didn’t have no boyfriend so I had to walk all the way from our house to the school, but I went."
“My twin sister and I always got along - we were like best friends. We had this comfort level where whenever we’d meet new people we’d go in as a team together. We’d be like ‘okay, you ready?’ ‘yeah’. It was almost like an act. And we were always seen as twins - we were never seen one without the other. When I moved here, it was really hard. I almost left. I missed my sister but I also gained my independence for the first time in my life. I realized I’m this whole person on my own.”
“My first memory of music was coming out here in the sixth ward, coming of Charbonnet for a funeral. The hat was on my head like this (sideways) because it was too big for my head. I was about 8 or 9 years old and I was with the Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band which is my family. That’s how I got started. I was playing trumpet with the band. I remember mostly not knowing if it was a male or female in the coffin. Most funerals I didn’t know. And I had the jitters - a strong sense of nervous waiting to play the songs."
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.