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.
"The first time I drew was in church with my sister. I was probably 3 or 4 and she showed me how to draw a person’s face - a man’s face and a woman’s face. I’ve been drawing ever since. I want to become a master of illustration. I want to dedicate the time and I want to be amazing at my craft."
“I grew up in rural Mississippi and I loved it, every bit of it. Now I paint. That’s what I love to do. I tell everybody ‘Go to work'. That’s it. Take care of yourself and go to work."
“We just lost my grandchildren’s daddy, my son in law, he died in a car accident. He was coming to bring [my grandson] to school on the first day and that was August the third. Sunday night before school we sat here, we waited. [My grandson] like ‘Come on, sit outside! My daddy coming!’ Every car come by he was like ‘That’s my daddy! That’s my daddy!’ I said ‘That’s not your daddy, I don’t know where your daddy is.’ We found out late that evening where his daddy was. He’s a strong little boy, that’s why I love him so much. He say ‘Grandma, don’t cry or I’m going to cry. If you look at my daddy picture, I’m going to cry.’ He’s very strong. He was very close to his dad. They were like brothers."
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.