Editor's note: 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 photos.
"What is your birthday wish?"
"My - my birthday wish is [long pause]... March 8th."
“The story's really not all that interesting... I just wanted goats and I'd seen other people in the neighborhood that had goats."
"What have you learned from them?"
"It’s interesting comparing how they are to dogs. I’d say they’re both as smart, but they’re smart in different ways. Dogs are more sociable to people -- they try to understand people more -- but goats are smarter about their environment. And they’ve got better vision than we do.”
"The night we first set up the food kitchen in the park after Katrina I was sleeping in the park -- I had my tent and all my gear -- I was all by myself -- and then all the National Guard come through on their knees with rifles -- crawling. All the oak trees are dropping limbs so the whole park is covered with debris. It was real thick. It was amazing -- you wouldn’t recognize it.”
"I love second lines because you can see that sometimes people haven’t had the best day or haven’t had the best chance in life, but they still come and get out and say ‘I’m going to make music, I’m going to dance in the streets. I’m going to celebrate being alive.’ And I think that’s something really beautiful that we can all learn from."
“Being a professional athlete and playing hockey in the NHL for 17 years I overcame something every game.”
“How did your career start and end?”
“In Canada. It was fabulous. I played when there were only six teams -- started in ’62, played 17 years and had a fantastic time. Loved it.”
“What was it like leaving that?”
“It’s very easy when you get old!"
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.