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.
"My father passed away when I was twelve. I found out when I was inside eating spaghettis and meatballs. My sister called and was like ‘We have to go to the hospital.' I come to find out my dad was in an accident… he was working at the time on a garbage truck and a car hit him - an old man with Alzheimer’s who was like 87 - shouldn’t have been driving. He was a great dad - always there for me when I needed anything. I try to follow in his footsteps - try to show [my kids] the right way."
“What’s the hardest thing about being 12?”
“Probably the fact of all the people that mess with you - people try to bully you at this age. […] They really don’t know that they’re bullying you when they do - they just think that they’re playing around. We were in the living room one day and I was having trouble in school from bullying and stuff and [my brother] started explaining to me how it works. He taught me like, ‘be yourself.’”
“I teach him not to let anybody force you to do anything you don’t want to do. Be who you are. Don’t try to impress nobody.”
“My mom taught me how to be a mom. She is an amazing woman. She raised me and my sister alone and… I can do the same.”
“What has your daughter taught you?”
“Mainly she’s just taught me that good things can come from bad situations."
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.