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’s going on in your life right now?
“No dog park.
“We’ve lived in the Quarter since 2005 and actually one of the reasons that we bought the house was because of the dog park.
“We got him (far right) because of the house and the dog park…
“... because he was bigger. And unfortunately, even though the park is big enough to have both people and dogs, for some reason - I have no idea if it’s political interests or provided money - the powers that be have seemed fit to make it a child park even though there are very few children in the neighborhood. But this is our little herd and we have two cats. The ‘kids' are called Klaus Von Wolvenstein, Lucy Furr, Bette Davis… and then the cats are Chairman Meow Se Fun and Ghengis Cat... because he is a little dictator.”
“I’m working on this project where I want to start a magazine entirely devoted to myself. It’s a very egotistical self-centered magazine but I want it to explore society’s obsession with personality and individuality and the notion that we are always just talking about ourselves anyway and the concept that no one is qualified to write anything except from their own experience. And I think [my pedi-cabbing job] is one of the most interesting jobs I could have if I’m going to keep daily records of what I did today - it is the most free flowing, open-ended job imaginable because you’re just going through the city at the whim of the universe. Whoever flags you down is going to take you to a new destination and you end up there. And then you start a new adventure. I want [my magazine] to be called The Paolo Review and ideally I’m going to assign writers to cover stories about me and force them to have to interview me in order to get the story!”
That’s hilarious! Maybe I shouldn’t quote that though because if people can’t hear your tone they’ll probably think you’re a jerk.
“I’m totally down if people think I’m a jerk because I think it’s a good idea!"
“The hardest part is transforming yourself and detachment from the world. Basically, you do that through prayers and discipline. For example, I don’t use a cell phone really. We do use technology, but we don’t get caught up in that world. We just use it as an instrument to serve the people."
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.