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.
“And my wife, she’s a Catholic, but we ran away and got married 53 years ago. My wife was 16 and a half. I was 27. That’s enough to send me to penitentiary! […] They'd said you can get married in Foley, Alabama, so we went there. Some friends of mine, they were supposed to be "parents" so they could give her permission. No way. Had to drive the whole way back. When we left to get married (in Texas), we snuck all around in the dark. How we made it the 600 miles -- never had no interstates, 4 o’clock in the morning -- to Kingsville, Texas, I don’t know. Her mother went ballistic. She cut all her pictures out."
“I had a brother that passed away three years ago and he enticed me to be a Mardi Gras Indian and keep the tradition in the family going. So it means a lot. It’s sentimental. And one of my uncles just recently passed away -- Bo Dollis Sr. It’s in the blood line. Now we try to involve more kids in it so they can grow into the culture, so they won’t be afraid of the Mardi Gras Indians and so they can see that it’s real culture."
"I had a boy and his name was King. He got killed in October. I rescued her from a lady in November and I named her Queen. I dress her up every day. She makes me feel happy."
"She’s my niece and I’m just getting in her life. She shocks me -- I’m just amazed that she’s so good to me."
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.