Gag me! It’s the first thing anyone asks you at a party or an initial meeting, “What do you do?” The funny thing is that the interrogator always wants a specific answer, but in my mind I can’t help but think: produce, read, write, blog, dance, (try to) sing, (try to) cook, travel, listen, run and many more. In fact, the other evening when I cited more than one interest someone said, “No. Wait. Just give me one thing.” I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. Who in the world ‘does’ only one thing? How boring would that be? The honest truth is, most people only think that you’re doing something if you get paid. So they’re ingenious in asking, “What do you do?” They really would like to ask, “How do you make a living?”
Sadly, I think this informs our perspective on what adds value to our lives. Too often than not, I’ve met people who only define themselves by their work. So, today will be the first in a series of posts where I ask people, what they do outside of their “office.” More than one answer is certainly allowed and encouraged. Because whether others want to believe it or not, no one is solely defined by the function that pays their bills!
NAME: Stephanie AGE: Nunja (business) CITY: Boston PROFESSION: Educational Research Specialist
HIGHLIGHTED INTEREST: Photography
How long have you been interested in photography?
I have played with photography off and on for most of my life. I started taking pictures as a child with my mom’s camera - chopping heads off with her point and shoot, and setting up “scenes” around the house and using a Polaroid camera to capture them.
How do you select your subjects?
During a summer class in Florence, my professor challenged us to move outside the norm and learn what we could see / say about Italy, that others previously had not. This was a huge challenge, but it still informs my style! I like to shoot urban landscapes with exciting intersections of lines and angles. I mostly shoot outdoors and in cities, but sometimes just wherever I happen to be (and have my camera).
Have you thought about ways to link your current profession with photography?
There is a non-profit in London called Photo Voice. Photo Voice is a participatory action research method, where the researcher gives selected participants a camera, and has them take pictures of what interests them pertaining to a certain prompt or topic. Participants are also given lessons before they begin. This technique has been used all over the world to give a voice to underserved populations, inform policy makers, or advocate for those who cannot speak out for themselves for any reason.
If you could drop everything that you are doing today and pursue this as a career, would you?
I would LOVE to work with Photo Voice – it would combine my love of photography and helping diverse populations / communities with my research skills!
Sports: Rec soccer, watching football and basketball… GO CAVS (even without LeBron!)
Travel: I love to view/photograph new spaces, seek out local restaurants and breweries, and enjoy whatever a city has to offer. I want to go to all 50 states – I’m a little over half done.
Volunteering: I worked with City Year in DC for 2 years. Now I regularly assist the Friday Night Supper Program, which provides hot meals and camaraderie to anyone in Boston every Friday night.
Inspiration and Positivism!
Our world is inundated with heart wrenching news stories and social problems of all kinds – poverty, unequal educational opportunities, discrimination, violence, etc. On difficult days, touching stories of triumph, powerful quotes, and creative new ideas help me keep my head up and push myself towards achieving lofty goals. I am thankful for the intelligent, talented and beautiful people in my life that continue to make me laugh when things get too serious, while supporting and encouraging my (sometimes crazy) ideas!